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Workshop focuses on theology of hope for oikos

Workshop focuses on theology of hope for oikos

©Sean Hawkey

01 September 2017

“The Theology of Hope for Oikos.” This was the theme of the theological workshop of European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN) organized at the Council of Churches in Hungary in Budapest, on 28-29 August.

The aim of this workshop was to deepen Christian theological insights and to clarify the role of theology in caring for creation. Rev. Dr Peter Pavlovic, ECEN secretary, opened the seminar with critical questions such as: What is the basis of our hope? How can we make a realistic, immanent theology of hope in an ecological context? What kind of ark do we have to make for the end of the world?

The seminar was attended by eco-theologians and scientific experts of different faith denominations from Europe and the USA.

Dr Panu Pihkala, from the theological school of Helsinki, investigated the meaning of hope and tragedy in the antropocene. He emphasized the way Christians can testify to hope for the oikos by giving elements for the taxonomy of hope.

Participants discussed the reality and perspective of eco-theology in the context of churches’ work on care for creation in different European countries and beyond. Dr Aron Kocsis, from the Eco-Congregation Movemento of RCH, GEKE in Hungary gave concrete examples of shaping hope in Hungarian rural congregations. He raised the importance of environmental education for young people as well as the collaboration with local farmers.

Special reflection was also made regarding the work of churches in the United states after the new environmental policies of the Trump administration. Pastor Dan Smith from California Lutheran church expressed his concern about the need for stronger involvements of religion on tackling climate change by theological and advocacy means.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) was represented by Rev. Henrik Grape, coordinator of the WCC Climate Change working group and Dr Louk Andrianos, WCC consultant for care of creation, sustainability and climate justice.

After giving special thanks to the WCC for its support and contribution to the workshop, Rev Peter Pavlovic concluded  that  “the outcome of this mutual reflection  will be an important  addition to theological educational resources of ECEN”.

Learn more about the WCC's work on care for Creation and climate justice