Appeal of Polish Churches for the Protection of Creation
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are sending you an ecumenical letter which is an appeal and also a request to preserve creation as a work of God. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1,1) – the Bible starts with these magnificent words. The world was not created by blind chance, but by the will of a loving and wise God, as was man, whom “God created in His own image” (cf. Gen. 1,27). Later, as the Scriptures state, “the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” (Gen. 2,15). The Creator invites man to work together in caring for His work, which serves all living things. Every Christian tradition gives examples of prominent people who treated the whole of God’s creation with love. Regrettably, we are not always faithful to this call.
We are producing heaps of waste, poisonous food, we are cutting down forests, we are surrounding ourselves with plastic. Being blinded by greed, we replace clear streams with poisonous sewage, luxuriant forests and cornfields with barren and empty soil, and nature’s wonders with heaps of concrete. We are living as if we were the last generation inhabiting the earth.
Protection of the environment is not only a technical question of ecological balance, but also a moral and spiritual problem of modern man, who forgets that he and the world have been created by God.
Many Christians all over the world become involved in specific programmes for the protection of God’s creation. The most popular ones are building management projects aimed at decreasing electricity and heat consumption, reducing the production of waste, recycling, composting, etc.
Brothers and Sisters, this awareness must be promoted! We trust that thanks to our appeal believers will influence the people around them to curb harmful activities, e.g. dumping waste in forests or thoughtless littering of streets, roads and fields.
This appeal is also directed to central and local governments. We are expressing our concern with regard to privatization and commercialization of water resources and public space.
We encourage you to shape social policies in a way which promotes safe processing and recycling of poisonous waste. In particular, we are calling for:
- a cut in communal waste; recovery and recycling of tips; cleaning the air, water and soil;
- the protection of forests and endangered plant species, as well as other treasures of nature; restoration of ecosystems;
- the application of nature-friendly technologies in food processing and preservation, as well as in the production of packagings;
- the preparation of international agreements on the fair use of marine resources, which will not upset the ecological balance.
Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the sending of the Holy Spirit, God showed that He overcomes all depravity and death. A Christian is called to manifest his faith in God, the Creator and Lord of the universe by his deeds. That is why we seek to ensure the protection of human life from its conception and respect for its dignity. We appeal for the support of a social policy which enables life to spread wherever natural growth is on the decline. The world needs such a testimony, not only from those few who are committed to the protection of the environment, but from all disciples of Christ. To understand these processes, the dynamic development of biblical and theological reflection on the subject of creation can be of help to Christians.
Our common activities should express the truth about the need for prudent and moderate actions in everything that is connected with our environment. Wise asceticism is expressed by avoiding excessive consumption, responsible use of natural resources as well as renouncing the excessive manufacture and accumulation of objects and packaging. One of its signs is fasting, which is increasingly forgotten. Fasting, meaning the restriction of one’s own desires, becomes an instrument of spiritual transformation and helping the needy. The God-given task to rule over things is designed to prevent them from ruling over us.
Brothers and Sisters, as we live today, let us think about tomorrow. Let us consider that we and the whole of creation are called to live in the reality described in the last book of the Bible as a “new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21,1). Let us therefore make responsible choices saving energy and natural resources every day, and let us care about every living thing. Even small actions, if they are persistently carried out, will have an enormous effect in protecting the whole of creation, about which we read in the first book of the Bible that “God saw that … it was very good” (cf. Gen.1,31).
Warsaw, 16 January 2013
Signed by Heads of Churches affiliated in the Polish Ecumenical Council and the Chairman of the Polish Episcopal Conference:
Presbyter Gustaw Cieślar
Chairman of the Concil of the Church of Christian Baptists in Poland
Bishop Jerzy Samiec
Bishop of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland
Bishop Edward Puślecki
Bishop of the Evangelical Methodist Church in Poland
Bishop Marek Izdebski
Bishop of the Evangelical Reformed Church in Poland
Bishop Wiktor Wysoczański
Bishop of the Polish Catholic Church in Poland
Bishop M. Ludwik Jabłoński
Head bishop of the Old Catholic Mariavite Church in Poland
Orthodox Metropolitan of Warsaw and All Poland
Archbishop Józef Michalik
The Chairman of the Polish Episcopal Conference of the Roman Catholic Church
trans. Harry Irrgang