Ecumenical News International

Protestant churches call for pilgrimage to protect the climate

March 27, 2015

[epd-Logo] Hamburg (epd). German regional Protestant churches are calling for pilgrims to walk for climate protection. To mark the UN climate conference in Paris (30 November - 11 December) the ecumenical alliance "Geht doch" (a pun meaning both "it does work" and "do go") from churches and aid organisations wants to draw attention to the global consequences of climate change,  the project manager, Stefanie Maur-Weiss, told the Protestant press agency (epd) in Hamburg on Friday.

The plan is for a climate pilgrimage to start in June in North Cape in Norway and end after almost six months on 6 December in Paris. There the UN Conference of the Parties is to adopt a new international climate protection agreement.

The pilgrimage intends to link spiritual meditation with political commitment to climate justice. Individuals and groups can join in for as long as they like. The route is over 3000 kilometres long and, according to the organizers, follows mostly traditional pilgrim paths. The participants would visit places illustrating climate and environmental protection but also point to the need for further intensive efforts to protect the climate, according to the climate platform. The organizers are the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Northern Germany, the Protestant Church of the Palatinate, the Evangelical Church of Westphalia and other church institutions.

The German part of the pilgrimage starts on 13 September with a big service in Flensburg followed by the opening event. The service is to be organized with ecumenical partners of the Northern German church from the global South. From Hamburg, via Osnabrück and the Ruhr area the 1400-km route will wind its way past Koblenz and Metz towards Paris.

Maur-Weiss is optimistic that the pilgrimage will be a success: "So far we have met with a lot of interest in the project even though we have not really gone public with it yet. A lot of voluntary workers have been found to provide backup and coordination along the planned stages and to support the pilgrims."



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