World Council of Churches. The Wuppertal Call: “ecological conversion” urgently needed
After 52 participants from 22 countries from different confessional and faith traditions gathered 16-19 June in Wuppertal, Germany, they have released “Kairos for Creation – Confessing Hope for the Earth”.
The “Wuppertal Call” describes how the participants of the conference “Eco-Theology and the Ethics of Sustainability” shared stories from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, and Oceania. “We heard the cries of the earth, the cries of people vulnerable to the effects of climate change, especially children and the elderly, the cries of youth demanding intergenerational justice and the concerns of experts over current trends,” the text reads.
“We recognize the urgency of the years that lie ahead, nevertheless express the courage to hope and are compelled to call the global ecumenical movement towards a comprehensive ecological transformation of society.”
The call acknowledges that the ecumenical movement has long committed itself to a pilgrimage towards justice, peace and the integrity of creation. “These goals will require urgent steps on the road ahead,” reads the call. “We have transgressed planetary boundaries.”
The conference in Wuppertal was planned and organized together by Protestant Association of Churches and Mission (EMW), Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), United Evangelical Mission (UEM), Bread for the World, World Council of Churches
The earth seems no longer able to heal itself, reads the text of the Wuppertal Call. “We have been unable to hold together ecumenical concerns over justice amid poverty, unemployment and inequality, over a participatory society amid various forms of violent conflict and over sustainability amid ecological destruction.”
The text confesses that the authenticity of ecumenical witness is being undermined by a range of distortions of the gospel, toxic narratives and theologies that legitimize a totalitarian logic of death and destruction. “God has not abandoned the earth,” reads the call. “Hope is not the same as blind optimism that trusts in the mere extension of current trends.”
Such hope is not cheap, the call reflects. “It is such hope that encourages us and compels us towards a comprehensive ecological transformation of society,” reads the call. “At the heart of the required transformation is a need for ecological conversion (metanoia), a change of heart, mind, attitudes, daily habits and forms of praxis.”
The call suggests specific actions churches can take, then notes that the task ahead is immense and will require decades of dedication. “The urgency of the situation implies that a comprehensive response cannot be delayed,” reads the call.