Who’s who: WCC, CTBI, CTE, EIN etc for beginners

A Beginner’s Guide to

Denominational and Ecumenical Organisations at all levels
from the Local Level through to the World Council of Churches

with special reference to care of the environment

This page was first written in 1999 and last updated in November 2013, and is being up-up-dated in 2021. – If you know of important points to add, please email the webeditor .- It is marvellous that so much has happened in the last 22 years.


Green Christian’s Web Editor writes:

Individual Churches
I attend a small Methodist Church in a remotish part of the Yorkshire Dales. You may attend a Roman Catholic Church in London, or a Free Church in Scotland, or an Orthodox Church in Romania, or a …………….. in ………..  (fill in gaps as appropriate)    How are our churches connected? We probably, as individuals, are both concerned about looking after the environment. What are our churches doing to care for the environment? This Webpage attempts to answer these questions.  Comments and suggestions are welcome

Different Denominations
There are many different denominations in Britain. The larger denominations usually have paid officers who specialise in different jobs. Responsibility for environment issues is often just one of several other jobs that that have to be done by an officer who has responsibility for “Church and Society” or for “International Issues”.  Most Denominations also have a property department which has a big influence.

By 2003, Each Diocese In the Church of England had a Diocesan Environment Officer. (Sometimes referred to as DEO). This is sometimes an an unpaid post and the person doing it may be a clergy-person and or a lay-person with a strong interest in the environment. Their job, in part, is when asked, to advise their Bishop on environmental matters. In 2013 contact David Shreeve. There is a map of Dioceses and below it (remember to scroll down) a list of Environmental Officers with their email addresses so you can find your DEO. They may welcome support.
By 2021 there is a huge variation between the different Anglican Dioceses about how much support each DEO gets. Some now have the post as a paid job. On others the posts are filled by are unpaid volunteers. I am REALLY impressed about how much work the Leeds Diocese is now doing even compared to 7 years ago when the diocese formed (amalgamating Bradford, Ripon and Leeds, and Wakefield.)

In some mainland European Countries there are Church Environment Officers whose sole responsibility it is to deal with environmental issues. In 2000 this was not not the case in the UK, but by 2007 most UK churches now had such a national officer, doing this job at least part-time..

You could try and find out who has responsibility for environmental issues in your denomination in the UK by asking someone high up in your denomination. 

Pope Francis produced the Encyclical “Laudato Si’” in 2015 which is a great step forward and a good resource for Catholics, other denominations, and addressed to every living person on this planet.  

The National Justice and Peace Network is a grassroots Catholic organisation working through all the Catholic Diocese – do get in touch – Their conference this year (July ) has the theme 2021: Life on Earth – moment of truth Other Catholic organisations with Green action/activities include The Passionists and The Columbans and Catholic Concern for Animals

Free Churches / Other Protestants –
the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church have the
JPIT –  the Joint Public Issues Team  contact them for more information.

Bodies have been set up to facilitate links and joint ventures between denominations at all levels, from the world level, down to the level of small towns.

The World Council of Churches
The World Council of Churches (WCC) has its Offices in Geneva, and caters for Protestant and Orthodox Churches. It has a Poverty, Wealth and Ecology Project

The Justice, Peace and Creation Unit used to  produce a twice yearly magazine called Echoes which sometimes focuses on environment issues and can be read online but stopped in 2004

Europe: CEC and CCEE
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of Orthodox, Protestant, and Old Catholic European Churches along with some associated organisations. Its office is at Geneva. It has good relations with the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) which is for Roman Catholics. CEC and CCEE had an Assembly in Graz in Austria in 1997 (at which CEL had a stall): it was the Second European Ecumenical Assembly. The Assembly made several environmental recommendations – see points 5.1 to 5.4 in their document CCEE had a Meeting about the environment held in Celje, Slovenia in May 1999.

In September 2007 the Third European Ecumenical Assembly took place, in Sibiu, Romania. 2500 delegates attended.

Partly as a result of the Meeting at Graz, The European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN) was set up for church environment officers, and others, throughout Europe. ECEN meets about every 18 months. Individual ECEN members tend to belong to one or several coalitions, and communicate mostly with members of that coalition ..e.g Tourism Coalition, The Climate Change Coalition etc. Judith Allinson on behalf of CEL (now Green Christian) attended the   ECEN Assembly in 2012 in Elspleet, There were 8 people from UK and Ireland. See her account 

Coming down to the British level:

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI)
What is CTBI? The following is extracted from their website:
CTBI is Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. It is one of the instruments the Churches have created to enable them to work together, and to co-ordinate the work they do separately. Its particular remit covers things it makes sense to do in common across more than one of the nations which make up Britain and Ireland. By “Britain and Ireland” it means England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Why is it Britain and Ireland, not just the United Kingdom? Because the Irish Churches all cover the whole of Ireland, not just north or south. So they can only be partners in a body which does the same.

What does CTBI do? 

Twice a year it brings together senior representatives of the Churches, and every two years a much larger Assembly is held. Between those times, it nurtures a host of different networks helping the Churches co-ordinate and share their work in ten key areas: one of which is: Church and Society: (Responding together to social, political and economic concerns where the Churches want to have a voice.) One of the responsibilities of Church and Society is the environment, and this is dealt with in the Environmental Issues Network:

The Environmental Issues Network (EIN)
EIN is a forum for representatives of churches in membership of CTBI and other Christian organisations to consider environmental and ecological issues, both national and global It has three day meetings a year, usually in London. The meetings are attended by officers/representatives of the different church denominations. These officers have responsibility for the environmental issues as part of their work (as mentioned in the denomination part of this section).   Andy Atkins of A Rocha UK became chair or moderator of EIN (History: In September 2007 Rev David Bookless took over as Moderator (Prof ‘Sam’ Berry had been moderator before) In 2012 Steve Hughes (of A Rocha)  took over as moderator. Adrian Shaw (Climate change officer for the Church of Scotland) is the secretary.) The officers share whatever news and issues their churches are involved with. (As far as I know) the Network has a total lack of finance, other than that the officers are usually paid by their churches as part of their job to attend, and one organisation pays for the secretarial expenditure.
Green Christian sends a representative.

For a page on this website about EIN click here

Country Level
At National Level there are Churches Together in England (CTE)Churches Together in Wales (CYTUN)Action of Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS) and the Irish Council of Churches (ICC)… (In 2000 their web sites seemed to have much about the environment, but it is changing now).

Regional Level
At Intermediate Level there are Regional Churches Together Organisations, e.g.Churches together in Lincolnshire. Some of these may produce an annual newspaper, or have a website, but the regions differ. The Churches Together in Cumbria have a website on climate Change called Live Lightly

Local Level
At local level there are Churches Together in “Your local town”. Sometimes these can be quite active, organising joint services for special occasions, such as Remembrance Sunday or One World Week. In Settle we had a special Easter Pilgrimage for the Millennium, which has since developed into a passion play/Easter Street Drama . Green Christian would encourage its members to offer Green Christian leaflets to other Churches in their local Churches Together area.


Independent, mostly ecumenical, Christian Environment Organisations and Projects

e.g. Green Christian, A Rocha, JRI, SRT, CRUC, Justice and Peace Groups, Eco-Congregation, Tearfund, CAFOD, and others. Much of the information about these can be found in the Our Partners and Friends page and (Oct 2009) – EIN October 2009 report 

There are also – thankfully – individual Christians working to look after the environment, both within their churches and separate from their churches. May be like you!

Keep it up!



Author: | Date: 5 November, 2013 | Category: News | Comments: 0

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