Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 33 n° 348

Echoing the hope that God has for Europe

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 17 luglio 2009

300 delegates representing some 120 churches from throughout Europe countries are gathering today in Lyon, France, for the 13th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches (CEC).  Of the 300 delegates, 41 are young people.  170 delegates are male, and 130 are female.  109 are lay people and 191 are ordained.  There are 25 delegates who are black or from a minority ethnic group, or who are representing a migrant church.  There are more than 500 other people attending the Assembly, including local volunteers, members of staff, visitors, guests and journalists.  A stewarding team of 49 young people are helping with the smooth running of the Assembly.  The theme for this year’s Assembly is “Called to One Hope in Christ”.  The previous Assembly was held in Trondheim, Norway in 2003.  CEC was founded in 1959, making this the 50th anniversary year.  At the opening press conference today the President of CEC, Rev. Jean Arnold de Clermont, said that the Assembly needed to echo the hope that God has for Europe.  He asked: “What are the priorities for Europe?  Where is Christ leading us?  It is important that churches in Europe re-confirm a commitment to each other six years [at the CEC Assemblies].”  Mr de Clermont spoke about two areas which he hoped would be a focus of the Assembly – sustainable development and relationships with other Christian churches. He said: “Issues of poverty and the millennium commitments challenge us to live in a sustainable way.  Churches need to make sure that the poorest of the poor are not left on the roadside”.  He also expressed his hope that CEC would be able to work closer with the Catholic Church and evangelical churches. His Beatitude Archbishop Dr Anastasios of Tirana and all Albania spoke at the press conference on the Assembly theme, ‘Called to One Hope in Christ’.  He emphasised the need for Christians to unite, as hope cannot thrive if there is division.  He said: “Christians dare to hope, even when fear grips our hearts and minds.  With the power of the crucified and resurrected Christ, truth, justice and love will prevail and life will triumph over death.” Ms Doris Peschke, General Secretary of the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) also spoke at the Press Conference, where she stressed the importance of churches’ work with refugees and how the churches can celebrate the diversity of migrant churches.  She also noted that CEC and CCME have designated 2010 as a year of “European churches responding to migration”.

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