The eleventh Assembly of the World Council of Churches is concluding in Karlsruhe. (Find some photos at the end of this page.) Over four thousand delegates from all over the world spent ten days deliberating on the theme- Christ’s Love moves the world to reconciliation and unity. Much more than the debates, deliberations, and decisions the highlight of the Assembly was the colourful interaction of peoples and cultures and the strengthening the web of relations that makes living together as neighbours much more joyful. One of the overarching themes in all the events was that our acts now will define how the next generations would live,
My role in the Assembly this time was more in the pastoral role, working with a wonderful team to make the Assembly a safe, welcoming and listening space. I also served as a panellist in a thematic workshop on Youth Promoting Climate Resilience, Food and Water Justice. Sharing from the experience of the Eco Schools we looked at the following learnings from these encounters of young people.
- Change is inevitable and Youth are the best catalysts of change
- A better future is possible if everyone thinks of alternate ways of sustainable life-styles and commits to combat injustice
- Each local initiative towards justice should become part of a global web of collective action
- A fresh Framework for Analysis, Action and Advocacy towards climate justice is inevitable
- A Prophetic, pastoral and practical response need to be carefully drawn up that could impact the local and the global quest for justice
- If the youth of today do not proactively understand their role in ensuring justice, be humble enough to be part of the journey of reconciliation and recompense and take strong and bold positions of resistance and resilience we might not be able to hand over this baton of life to another generation of people
- The climate and ecological crises and the crisis around food, water and heath are spiritual and moral crises and the inter- faith resources of faith communities and indigenous communities cab be powerful tools to address them
In a very intense discussion that ensued the following reminders were placed at the table
- The traditions of the ancestors and indigenous people that ensured care of creation along with food and water justice need to be understood in detail and it would be wise to document them for the future.
- The impact of various forms of colonialism and global economies focussing on amassing profit that push the vulnerable further to the margins must be profoundly understood and repented for.
- The dynamics of power that is manifest in realities like Patriarchy, Gender, Caste Discrimination, Marginalisation, migration, human trafficking, domestic and state violence, disability . war and the like need be deconstructed.
- The religious traditions that are diverse and varied could be seen as a potential tool to redefine neighbourliness rather than an element of division.
- Barriers that exclude people and side-line them including misleading theologies and cultural affirmation must be addressed and every form of stigmatisation acknowledged to ensure that the world is for all and of all.
- Entrysm as a positive political tool could be a strategy of eco warriors and just communities to influence the behavior of communities and people groups that loose focus.
- It is more important to be a blessed ancestor than a proud descendant
To affirm the urgency of responding to the climate crisis we were reminded of the following stark realities
- We are the ancestors of the future generations. Each act of ours can have far reaching repercussions on the life and behaviour of the generations to come. A sense of responsibility for every act of ours is inevitable knowing that it could influence the life of others and the future.
- Our sins can irretrievably impact generations yet to be. The groaning of creation today and the injustice around food and water has much to do with the sins of commission and omission of the bygone generations. We have inhabited such a bruised world that is torn by war and violence because of the insensitivity of a generation that lived before us.
- Our good acts can be inexplicable blessings for generations still to inherit the earth. Despite all the challenge, the world have inherited has its own inherent potential to sustain life and all that we need to do is to collectively refrain from any act that would impede the well-being of the other and positively engage in life affirming initiatives.
- In the abysmal task of saving the earth from destruction and ensuring the generations yet to be are committed to uncompromising justice and truth we cannot be NEUTRAL, We are either pro-life or anti-life.
- Eternal memory has been passed on from several generations and each of us are cogs that could affect the passing on of the same in an entirely diverse and vibrant way.
- The connect with memory and history should not only be journeys back in time but always forward in time instilling new hope and courage
- Human Life is the sum of ancestor choices coupled by the descendent responses
We must read the following verses afresh to be meaningful participants in the life transforming engagements as a church.
The Lord visits the iniquities of the ancestors on the children and children’s children, to the third and fourth generation. Exodus 34:6-7 and Deut 5:8-10
As Assembly concludes and people say goodbye to Germany our prayer should be:
“Make us more responsible for the future, O Lord, for we are co-creators of the morrow with you.”
Yours in Ministry
Rev’d Vinod Victor
Chaplain, Anglican Church of Freiburg
on September 1, 2022