The ecumenical Eglise verte (Green church) movement in France held its first assembly of local groups and churches on World Environment Day, 5 June.
“Eglise verte is a laboratory of innovation and creativity for our common home,” said the president of Eglise verte, Elena Lasida, in her address to the newly formed association. “It has renewed our experience and understanding of communion, between churches and with civil society. It has also given new energy to our sense of transcendence and how we worship.”
The movement offers a certification label to associated churches to attest to their green credentials.
More than a third of the more than 600 groups who have joined the network took part in the online meeting, launching the material for this year’s Season of Creation (1 September to 4 October), and exchanging in plenary and small group sessions on the challenges and joys of care for creation during the global pandemic and local lockdowns.
Those attending heard joint calls from Archbishop Eric de Moulin Beaufort, president of the French Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and Rev. François Clavairoly, president of the Protestant Federation of France, to advocate for the global transformation needed to implement the 2015 Paris climate accords in advance of the UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November 2021.
“Issues of ‘integral ecology’ will be amongst the decisive choices voters need to take into account in next year’s French presidential elections,” said de Moulin Beaufort.
“The convictions embodied by Eglise verte mean something for people today,” underlined Clavairoly, encouraging the organization “to communicate in civil society and the public square beyond the churches.”
Initially launched during the Season of Creation in 2017, with the support of the Council of Christian Churches in France, Eglise verte had the ambition to get 100 local churches to join the movement within three years. However, the network grew much faster, with more than 150 groups by the end of its first year.
In addition to its original certification label for church congregations, Eglise verte intends to launch a number of versions of the certification for monasteries, student chaplaincies, youth work and families.