Seven Weeks “As much as you need”
Fasting for the climate in Germany
Together with seven other Protestant regional churches and one Catholic diocese, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany (ELCNG) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldenburg, both member churches of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), are participating in “fasting for the climate” starting on Ash Wednesday (14 February). With the biblical theme “As much as you need” the initiative encourages people to take seven weeks to rethink their own activity in daily life, try out new things, and bring about change. Climate protection and climate justice are at the heart of this Lenten program.
Setting the example of a lifestyle in tune with creation
Bishop Gerhard Ulrich (ELCNG) welcomes the Lenten action: “Climate change does not just threaten human life on our planet but the whole of creation. I support the project ‘fasting for the climate’ and am glad that with our common action we can set the example of a lifestyle in tune with creation. Christians are involved in striving to protect the climate in many places and in many different ways. The ELCNG has passed church legislation on climate change and set itself the goal of CO2 neutrality by 2050. I hope that many people will set out together on this path during Lent in order to keep this wonderful Planet Earth livable for us, the generations to come, and our fellow creatures.”
I support the project ‘fasting for the climate’ and am glad that with our common action we can set the example of a lifestyle in tune with creation.
Focusing on the suffering caused by climate change
The brochure explaining the action contains a greeting by the initiators of the action. “The time between Ash Wednesday and Easter is dedicated to penitence and repentance, to fasting and prayer. We focus on our fellow human beings and on God’s whole creation. The biblical theme of the action ‘As much as you need’ (inspired by Exodus 16:18) is meant as encouragement to change our lifestyle and rethink our unlimited consumption.”
The initiators underline: “While fasting for the climate we can all experience how pleasant and refreshing a simple lifestyle may be.” At the same time, they add, Lent reminds us of the sufferings of Jesus during Lent. “Fasting for the climate” is intended to broaden our view to take in the suffering linked to the consequences of climate change. For this reason as well, the action invites us to take conscious, practical steps to reduce the consequences of climate change.
Each week has its own theme
Each of the seven weeks of Lent has a special theme, making suggestions for spiritual and environmental activity by individuals and groups. For example, the first week is about “taking a week for myself, for retreat and repentance”. Everyday routines are to be questioned and Lent consciously viewed as a time for pausing to reflect.
The practical proposals include “reading instead of watching TV or sitting at the computer” or “going to places of rest and retreat and staying a while, e.g. my baptismal church…”
The other weeks are devoted to the topics “different ways of being mobile”, “more attentive cooking and eating”, “buying and consuming less”, “using less energy”, “handling your own money differently” and “thinking about changes together”.
LWF and climate justice
At its Twelfth Assembly in 2017 in Windhoek, Namibia, the LWF passed a resolution calling on the global communion of churches “to strengthen its efforts even more for climate justice“. The resolution reaffirms the goal of the LWF becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Its many detailed calls for action include urging the member churches to integrate a climate change curriculum into their Christian education and to advocate for environmental care and protection.
More information on the Lenten program (in German)
- General: http://www.klimafasten.de/
- From the ELCNG: https://www.kirchefuerklima.de/klimafasten
- From the ELKO: https://www.kirche-oldenburg.de/themen/umwelt-klimaschutz.html