IBTS is playing host to the European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN) this week as they hold their 8th Assembly. ECEN is a network which IBTS has been involved in for several years. Now it is our delight to welcome people here. There are about 75 delegates from most parts of Europe.
Reflecting on the theme “Our Daily Bread: Living in a Time of Climate Change,” the Assembly has opted for a vegetarian diet – itself an unusual feature in central Europe, where meat is the main part of any diet and cooked vegetables, certainly, are an after thought. (In fact, when you go to a restaurant in Prague, you may still see the vegetarian section of the menu titled as ‘Meatless dishes’!)
Climate change issues continue to be in the focus, but differently from last assembly, participants are exploring the connections between climate change and food – our patterns, our attitudes, the complexities involved in food industry, etc.
Debates go on with great intensity about mobility – issues of transport, the place of renewable energy and the place of animals in the whole created order. We Baptists certainly have much to learn and only a limited amount to contribute to the debate.
On the other hand, Orthodox Christians help us understand better the sanctification of all of creation. On Thursday this Orthodox theology was helpfully explored for us by Metropolitan Krystof of the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church. He talked with us about Christians as ‘priests of creation” and how humanity has generally ignored the teaching of the church about our relationship with creation. Now we must share in some of the pain of creation through our acts of despoiling. In a moving pastoral approach the Metropolitan called upon us to use all our senses in worship and in daily life. This is an important insight from Orthodoxy we Baptists ought to ponder.
– Keith and Lina