Europe: Ecumenical pilgrims start journey to advocate for climate justice at UN climate talks

A group of ecumenical pilgrims started a journey towards the 2018 World Climate Conference hosting city Katowice, in Poland, where high level talks about the preservation of creation will take place. “Go then!” (Geht doch!, in German) is the motto of the Ecumenical Pilgrimage for Climate Justice that took off in Bonn, Germany, on 9 September.


The pilgrimage started with a worship in the Lukaskirche, where, as in millenary tradition, they were sent on their way with God’s blessing, led by Greek Orthodox Archpriest Konstantin Miron, president of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland; Manfred Rekowski and Brigitte Schmidt, representing the Roman Catholic Church Pastoral Office; and Rev. Sabine Udodesku, from the Evangelical Church in Germany.

The service was also celebrated as a solemn moment to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches.

Among the demands of the ecumenical climate pilgrimage is the urgency to start a national process of the abandoning the use of fossil fuels, a demand supported by the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland.

While encouraging the pilgrims as they started their journey, Rekowski said: “It’s time to leave the use of fossil fuels behind. Our world’s climate is massively threatened”, he stated.

Along the 1000km walk to Katowice, where the 24thConference of Parties (COP24) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will take place 3-14 December, the pilgrims will visit stations of pain and hope.

The first milestone will be Heimerzheim. The pilgrimage goes on and passes by the brown coal mining area around Hambach. At the end of the first week, the pilgrims will worship at Hambacher Forst.

On 18 September, the pilgrims are expected to be in Wuppertal, where the United Evangelical Mission will welcome the group on the Nordbahntrasse, a former railway line converted into a cycling and recreational path.

The route continues via Hannover, Braunschweig, Leipzig, Dresden, Cottbus, Potsdam and Berlin and then to Katowice, Poland. COP24 will discuss further implementation of the Paris Agreement signed at the end of COP21, in 2015.

Learn more about the climate pilgrims