Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n°159

Posts Tagged ‘CEC’

CEC at the celebration of World NGO Day at Council of Europe

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 9 marzo 2019

At the World NGO Day, observed on 27 February, CEC Executive Secretary Rev. Sören Lenz participated in a debate on “Why do we need NGOs? – (I)NGO contribution to the work and to the mandate of the Council of Europe” in Strasbourg. The high level conference was organised by the Conference of International NGOs at the Council of Europe and gathered many official NGO representatives with participatory status at the Council of Europe.
“We as Conference of European Churches represent a large part of the European people and we have the advantage of having an enormous diversity among our Member Churches,” said Rev. Sören Lenz, based at the CEC office in Strasbourg. “We not only deal with issues related to trade unions or human rights as NGO do, but we as churches are confronted with all problems and questions modern society is dealing with,” he added.“We need to be present with and try to work together with other NGOs because we have a responsibility for civil society, not only in social matters but also in area of human right.”“When the prophet Jeremy says to the Exiles in Babylon: ‘But seek the welfare of the city!’ (Jeremiah 29,7), he doesn’t talk about conditions to be fulfilled or the distinction to be made between those to be helped and those not to be helped. Seeking the welfare of the city means that God calls us to participate in the shaping of an equal and just society. NGOs, even if they do not always hold the same positions, are reliable partners, especially in the work at the Council of Europe, where they have an important role to play,” added Rev. Lenz.Claudia Luciani, Director of Democratic Governance and Anti-Discrimination, Council of Europe was stressed the need for a political dialogue between NGOs and the governments, and the most important question to be discussed, she said, is how to initiate this dialogue?One important point was made at the event, when several speakers remembered that, unlike other international organisations such as UN, NGOs have a full participatory status in the Council of Europe, adding to the importance of European Institution of Human rights, Rule of Law and Democracy.“The crucial role of NGOs is to connect citizens to policy makers,” stressed Peter Verhaege, representative of CARITAS, during his speech.

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CEC congratulates Estonian Council of Churches at 30th Anniversary

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 4 marzo 2019

The CEC General Secretary Fr Heikki Huttunen brought greetings at the occasion of 30th Anniversary of the Estonian Council of Churches in a special service at the St Michael’s Church in Tallinn, held last week. The event was celebrated with participation from high-level Estonian government officials, church leaders and community members.
Among the participants were Former President Arnold Rüütel and his wife Ingrid Rüütel, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas and Eiki Nestor, Speaker of the Estonian Parliament. The church leaders present included Archbishop Urmas Viilma of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and His Eminence Metropolitan Stephanos of the Estonian Orthodox Church, among others. Both churches are members of CEC and the Estonian Council of Churches.“It is a great honour and pleasure for me to celebrate with you 30th Anniversary of the Estonian Council of Churches and congratulate you on behalf of CEC,” said Fr Huttunen. In his speech, he stressed the “need for Christian presence and witness in Europe” and introduced CEC’s theme for 2019-2023 “Together, in Hope and Witness.”“Churches need to work for the unity of Christians and all humanity, so they can be credible in their witness to the core of the gospel message, which is hope in the crucified and risen Saviour,” he added. During his visit to Tallinn, Fr Huttunen also had an audience with Metropolitan Evgeniy of the Orthodox Church of Estonia of the Moscow Patriarchate.

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CEC commemorates Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 12 dicembre 2018

The Conference of European Churches commemorates today the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted by the United Nations in Paris on 10 December 1948.The CEC Governing Board with the Executive Committee of the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe marked this occasion recently by issuing a statement All are born free and equal. “This historic milestone in international human rights law continues as a source of inspiration for states and people in the fight for the dignity of all,” reads the statement.“The 70th anniversary of the declaration reminds us that human rights are universal, belonging to every human being. This same yearning is found throughout the deep and rich traditions of Christianity. The opening passages of our Holy Scriptures affirm this equality in dignity and support the idea of rights that all enjoy by virtue of their common humanity as all are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27),” it reads. In this statement, the CEC Governing Board “joins with all people of goodwill in working to promote, engage, reflect on, and advance the achievements of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We recall in all our work, as simply stated in Article 1, ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and right’.” The CEC statement also puts emphasis on freedom of religion or belief in Europe and beyond, as well as migrants and refugees. “Our human rights horizon also extends beyond European borders, with repeated calls for migrants and refugees to have safe passage and warm welcome here. Human rights exist for all humanity and can only be effectively advanced when we see ourselves as part of this bigger picture,” reads the statement. CEC is deeply committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and dignity. In this area, CEC recently produced a short documentary Justice for Spanish Pastors, shedding light on the case of Protestant pastors seeking justice and equal treatment in Spain. Another documentary released by CEC is Standing UP for Minority Rights, where young adults of the Serbian minority in Croatia and of the Croatian minority in Serbia met and visited the European institutions and their representatives.CEC’s work in its various programmatic areas – economy, social equality, climate change, bioethics, digitalisation, theological and inter-religious dialogue – is closely related to an understanding of human dignity inspired by the Gospel, and the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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CEC grieves Greece fires, offers condolences to Member Churches

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 30 luglio 2018

The following is a letter of condolence the Conference of European Churches has sent to its Member Churches in Greece (Church of Greece, Evangelical Church of Greece) responding to the devastating fires that have claimed a reported 91 lives and left many others suffering, wounded, and without shelter.The Conference of European Churches joins with the voices of agony and grief of the Greek people as they face the apocalyptic tragey of deadly and destructive fires on the Attic pennisula. The pain of this catastrophe reaches far—communities have been lost, and people around the world mourn friends and family.We join in steadfast prayer with people of faith around the world for all victims—children, mothers and fathers, and the elderly—and for those still missing and injured from these fires. We commend to God all those touched by this immense loss.Through this tragedy, Greece again finds itself at the epicentre of imminent threats to humanity and the entire planet. The fires, escalated by global warming, are a byproduct of environmental sin and indifference to the longterm effects of human-caused catastrophic climate change. As such, they are call to all humanity for repentance and metanoia—a change in one’s way of life. ​
The burden of this tragedy is only aggrevated by the reality of austerity measures forced upon Greek society, including to firefighting and rescue services.As affected communities make their way forward from these darkest days, the churches in Europe will remain in solidarity with your Church and her people.

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CEC leadership visits Estonia

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 27 agosto 2017

Brussels. A delegation from the Conference of European Churches visited Estonia on 17-20 August 2017 as the country assumed the presidency of the EU. Together with the Commision of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) they met with the Estonian Prime Minister,?Mr. Jüri Ratas, the Interior Minister Mr. Andrus Anvelt and national church leaders.? As a result of the meeting CEC, COMECE, the Estonian Council of Churches in cooperation with Estonia’s Interior Ministry will organise a consultation on religious fundamentalism 16-17 November 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia. The CEC and COMECE delegation brought to the attention of the Prime Minister the current challenges of solidarity between East, West, North and South in Europe and the churches’ role and contribution in that debate.? Internal and external migration was also a theme that was discussed. In particular and often neglected, the church leaders highlighted that the implications of migration from one EU Member State to another requires more political attention.?? Changes in the cultural and religious landscape were brought up in the context of a broader and deeper understanding of religions, as provided by general and academic education, is required. Religion should not only be considered as part of the problem but a key element of the solution to the struggles society faces?Conference of European Churches
The CEC delegation continued its visit by learning more about the ecumenical landscape of Estonia. They met with?the heads of the two CEC Member Churches,?Archbishop Urmas Viilma of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and Metropolitan Stefanus of the Orthodox Church, as well as the leadership of the Estonian Council of Churches, President Archbishop emeritus Andres Põder, vice presidents Bishop Philippe Jourdan and Dr. Meego Remmel,?? The CEC delegation was invited by the Orthodox Church to the parish of Obinitsa in Estonian Setomaa for the feast of the Transfiguration of Christ in the Julian Calendar on 19 August. With hundreds of pilgrims of all ages from Estonia and beyond, they saw an impressively vivid dimension of Orthodox popular tradition and contemporary missionary potential?

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Tragedy in France: CEC grieves death of Fr Jacques Hamel

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 28 luglio 2016

With shock and great distress, the Conference of European Churches has received news of the attack in the church of St-Etienne-du-Rouvray (France). The violent attack resulted in the death of Fr Jacques Hamel and two other persons. Several members of the congregation were also wounded, one critically. Fr. Jacques gave his life while officiating the Holy Eucharist. He was known as a man of reconciliation and dialogue with people of all faiths and none. “He exemplifies the Christian understanding of martyrdom,” reflected CEC General Secretary Fr Heikki Huttunen. “Of the victory over the dark powers of violence and death and the eternal perspective created by love and experienced through the eucharistic gathering.”The Conference of European Churches joins with the “cry to God” by the Catholic archbishop of Rouen, Mgr Dominique Lebrun. With him we invite all people of goodwill, of all faiths and none to be strengthened in prayer and community. CEC shall continue its mission according to the Gospel, by welcoming all people in trust and with open arms. “This is the only way we can face the root causes of terror, fear, and enmity,” continued Fr Heikki. “We are called to build an atmosphere of encounter, dialogue and respect towards all identities that make up our European reality.”

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Faith in Service: Rev. Richard Fischer retires from the Conference of European Churches

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 20 luglio 2016

Richard FischerOn 31 August, Rev. Richard Fischer concludes more than 21 years of service to the Conference of European Churches and its predecessor organisations. For the duration of his tenure he was based at the CEC Strasbourg (France) office, and in later years responsible for the bioethics and education portfolios. At a reception in Rev. Fischer’s honour, CEC President Rt Rev. Christopher Hill KCVO, DD remarked, “All in CEC will not only miss his quiet expertise but also his ecumenical friendship.” Rev. Fischer’s earliest studies were in philosophy and then theology. He undertook theological studies at the state-run faculty for Protestant theology in Strasbourg and completed his master’s studies with research on “Faith and Ecology: The experience of a church group.” His early career was preoccupied with pastoral work in the Alsace region of France. In these ministries he first encountered issues that would later inform his work with churches at the European level. During this time he worked in a number of diaconal non-governmental organisations focussing on social rehabilitation, just and sustainable development, environmental and human rights issues, ending extreme poverty and more. These experiences were instrumental in Rev. Fischer’s contributions in the first movement in France on political ecology.He continued his pastoral ministry through 1995, working as a university chaplain in Strasbourg and dean of a church district in Alsace. He combined this work with ecumenical and interreligious tours throughout Europe and developed his interest in the work of the Council of Europe and other European Institutions.In 1995 Rev. Fischer was seconded to European Ecumenical Commission for Church and Society (EECCS, a predecessor organisation to CEC) by the Union of Protestant Churches in Alsace and Lorraine (UEPAL). Throughout his 21 years as Executive Secretary he combined this part-time appointment with work for UEPAL, the Conference of Churches along the Rhine, the Untied Protestant Church of France, and the French Protestant Federation.At a reception in his honour at the end of June, Rev. Fisher remarked, “I think I never lost faith in God; God who continues to believe in me, to carry and support me. At the beginning of my work at EECCS, a friend asked me if it was not a bit the same with a united Europe—my enthusiasm gave him the impression that I was confusing it with the kingdom of God. No, of course! Although this is a political project—both utopian and realistic—I like it and it is worth fighting for it relentlessly.”Born in Strasbourg, Rev. Fischer is married, the father of two sons and grandfather of five. In his retirement, he looks forward to spending more time with his wife, children and grandchildren, walking and cycling in nature, meeting friends and reading, but also supporting Christian networks and associations dealing with human rights and ecumenism in France, Europe and beyond. Simply enjoying life! (photo: Richard Fischer)

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CEC, CCEE Presidents meet in London, strengthen and plan future cooperation

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 25 maggio 2016

Conference of European ChurchesThe presidents and general secretaries of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) met in London today to discuss issues of common concern and plan for upcoming joint initiatives. Presidents Rt. Rev Christopher Hill KCVO, DD (CEC) and Cardinal Péter Erdő (CCEE) were joined by CEC General Secretary Fr Heikki Huttunen and CCEE Secretary General Mgr Duarte da Cunha at Church House, the headquarters of the Church of England.The meeting gave the presidents an opportunity to discuss ecumenical issues in Europe, and evaluate the longstanding cooperation between CEC and CCEE. They reaffirmed their commitment to this important relationship and looked forward to the next meeting of the CEC-CCEE Joint Committee. The meeting is foreseen for early 2017 and will focus on the safeguarding of creation and freedom of religion.Throughout the meeting, the presidents also discussed the importance of current conflicts and challenges affecting Europe. The situation of refugees and migrants, peace and conflict in the Middle East, and cooperation within and beyond the EU were all topics of concern.The meeting ended with a meal at the invitation of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. (foto: Conference of European Churches)

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The latest from CEC and across Europe

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 13 maggio 2016

conferenceThe Conference of European Churches has launched the new ceceurope.org. We have added new features that will help you stay informed about the work of CEC. This includes an updated and complete resource section with annual reports and other CEC publications, a new menu that makes it easy to find CEC materials in our core programme areas, an events section, including the possibility to register for our public events, and more. To make our site more user friendly, we have also added a search function, categories to all our news posts, social media sharing on every news item, and have built pages exclusively for French, German, and Russian content. We hope you enjoy the new site and its updated look. Please send questions and feedback to Erin Green, CEC Communication Coordinator. (conference)

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Receive children, receive me: CEC Celebrates annual World Day of Prayer

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 6 marzo 2016

idomeni1The first Friday in March marks the annual worldwide celebration of World Day of Prayer. This observance reaches back more than a century and brings together women from all walks of life. From across many Christian traditions, cultures, and nations, women unite in common prayer to affirm their faith in Jesus Christ and deepen fellowship. The theme for 2016—Receive Children, Receive Me—comes from the World Day of Prayer committee in Cuba. Local writers were inspired by the Gospel according to Mark where Jesus blesses little children, despite the disciple’s discouragement. The materials encourage those who join in prayer to see God’s love in the face of these small and vulnerable humans. “To honestly pray for women and children requires that we also confess our sin,” remarked CEC General Secretary Fr Heikki Huttunen, “because women and children bear the heaviest burden of injustice and violence in the world.” “At the borders of the European Union, and within EU countries, tens of thousands of woman and children are victims of fear, cold, hunger, trafficking and even slavery, due to the inability of governments to guarantee safe and legal passage to refugees. We need to repent and pray to God for all these victims and their succour,” Fr Huttunen continued, “and ask God to help us change our ways, to make us builders of justice together with women and children.”The challenge to embrace women and children, and confront their marginalisation, has been taken up by the third CEC Summer School on Human Rights. In June, human rights experts and representatives from the churches in Europe will gather for “Stand Up for Women’s and Children’s Rights,” in Thessaloniki, Greece. There they will study theological and legal approaches, and hear firsthand accounts from victims of oppression and imprisonment.The Conference of European Churches encourages all to participate in prayerful observance of this day. “It is wonderful to join with the World Day of Prayer because so many fervent and sincere prayers have been borne to God through this ecumenical tradition,” said Fr Huttunen. “It is a tradition started by women, and we know that in many of our congregations and families the sisters, the mothers and grandmothers are the ones who teach us to pray, show us the power of prayer, and who pray for us.”

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Mapping Migration: New publication from CCME and the World Council of Churches

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 18 gennaio 2016

mappingThe Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) have published a revised and updated edition of their joint study, Mapping Migration: Mapping Churches’ Responses in Europe. The 2016 text explores challenges and changes in the European church landscape in light of international migration.The comprehensive study—prepared by missiologist Rev. Dr Darrell Jackson and sociologist Dr Alessia Passarelli—combines theological interpretation, sociological accounts, and the voices of migrants themselves. Mapping Migration is organised according to the themes of integration, belonging, and community, and it articulates both the experiences of migrants and how they shape and build church communities in Europe.“This updated study contributes to a better understanding of migration and diversity in European societies and churches,” said CCME General Secretary Doris Peschke. “We hope this work will cultivate more adequate responses to migration.”Migration in Europe contributes to a more diverse religious presence and affects the mission of the churches, the book argues. “Migration provides opportunity to welcome the stranger and uphold the dignity of every human being,” remarked CEC General Secretary Fr Heikki Huttunen.The study is released in advance of a WCC/UN high level conference on the refugee crisis in Europe, to be held in Geneva on 18-19 January. WCC General Secretary Rev Olav Fykse Tveit said, “The timely new edition of Mapping Migration will support the vital work of European churches in the present crisis.”With accessible theological reflection, user-friendly infographics, and compelling first-hand accounts, Mapping Migration is essential reading for anyone interested in the intersection of the life of the churches with trends in migration.Mapping Migration is available for download from the CCME website.

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CEC grieves loss of life in Paris, condemns attacks

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 15 novembre 2015

Overnight a series of gun and bomb attacks left at least 120 dead in the French capital, and countless more injured. The Conference of European Churches grieves the loss of life and mourns with all those affected by this enormous tragedy. We pray for the victims, their families and friends, and for the men and women who risked their own lives last night in service to others.In a message of solidarity to the Council of Christian Churches of France, CEC General Secretary Guy Liagre condemned the attacks as a vile aggression against France and an affront to all humanity. “These tragic events impels CEC to strengthen our peacebuilding and reconciliation work,” remarked Liagre. “We must strive to follow the words of the Psalms—depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.”The Conference of European Churches urges a peaceful response to the tragedy, both in France and throughout Europe. “We must continue, on the basis of our Christian faith, to uphold our values,” Liagre continued, citing the 2001 Charta Oecumenica. “We work towards a humane, socially conscious Europe, in which human rights and the basic values of peace, justice, freedom, tolerance, participation and solidarity prevail.”

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CSC Celebrates Merger with CEC, Governing Board Meets

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 10 dicembre 2014

european churchesIn five days of meetings, public events, and celebrations the Conference of European Churches marked a turning point in its history.
The governing bodies of the Church and Society Commission (CSC) met on 2 and 3 December in Leuven, Belgium to legally finalise its merger with the Conference of European Churches under Belgian law. The group also tended to other business matters including a review of its programmatic work by executive staff, its finances, and plans for continuing the mission and mandate of CSC in this time of transition.With the merger complete and the Geneva offices set to close at the end of 2014, CEC turned to celebratory, forward-looking events in Brussels. Members of the governing board and invited guests gathered for a stimulating colloquium on the challenges and future under a new CEC structure. Archbishop Anders Wjryd, Church of Sweden, World Council of Churches president for Europe, H. E. Metropolitan Joseph, Romanian Orthodox Church, and the Most Rev. Dr. Joris Vercammen, Old Catholic Church in the Netherlands offered meaningful reflections on the place of the church in European society.An evening public debate featured an address by former president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and responses from H. E. Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, CEC Vice-President, the Rev. Zoltán Tarr, Reformed Church in Hungary, Katharina von Schnurbein, European Political Strategy Centre, European Commission, and the Rev. Dr. Donald Watts, Presbyterian Church in Ireland.CEC was delighted to host at these events many friends and supporters from ecumenical networks, organisations in partnership, and the European institutions.The CEC Governing Board meetings followed in Leuven on 5 and 6 December. This Governing Board meeting, the fourth since the 2013 Budapest Assembly, was marked by serious commitment to CEC governance, management, and finances. Members discussed, among other issues, denominational membership and contributions, financial statements, and discussed and approved standing orders.Programmatic work also received significant agenda time, with presentations from executive staff on upcoming initiatives on economic and environmental justice, employment and social issues, human rights and religious freedom, education and bioethics, and ecclesiology and theological dialogue among the churches. The board also heard a presentation on the work of the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) and discussed plans for future collaboration between CCME and CEC.The board approved a statement on the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East and a proposal to work with CCME on statelessness in Europe. These statements will be made available in separate news releases in the coming days.

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The Conference of European Churches

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 20 ottobre 2012

“Though there are many peace activists in the world, who deserve recognition through a prize like this, it does not come as a total surprise that the European Union is awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize. The Conference of European Churches and its Church and Society Commission welcome today’s decision of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee and congratulate all who have contributed to the success of the European integration project,” Rüdiger Noll, Director of the Church and Society Commission of the Conference of European Churches, commented. “The Nobel Peace Prize is a reminder that today’s European Union started as a peace and reconciliation project.”“In as much as the Nobel Peace Prize is a recognition of how successful the European peace and reconciliation process is and was after the devastating effects of two World Wars, the prize is also a challenge for the future. Especially at a time of an economic and financial crisis, the decision of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee should serve as a reminder of the original raison d’être of the European Union and the core values of the European integration process. Most of today’s conflicts are not primarily conflicts between states, but within societies. Poverty, social marginalisation, access to resources and failed integration policies are often root causes for today’s conflicts. In this regard as well as in promoting peace and reconciliation in a global context the European Union has an important role to play,” the CSC Director added.
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of some 120 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, plus 40 associated organisations. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Geneva, Brussels and Strasbourg.
The Church and Society Commission of CEC provides a platform for the CEC membership to reflect on socio-ethical issues ecumenically and to involve them in common action and advocacy in relation to the European Union, the Council of Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the United Nations (in European matters). CSC operates as a forum for action, dialogue and ecumenical training in European affairs.

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European churches commit to dialogue and reflection on human rights and dignity

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 14 dicembre 2011

Deutsch: Außenansicht Seminaris Hotel Bad Boll

Image via Wikipedia

Some 60 representatives of Christian churches from 14 European countries met in the Protestant Academy in Bad Boll, Germany, to discuss the different confessional perspectives on the Christian understanding of human rights. There were different approaches to the understanding of human dignity and human value but there was agreement that the Churches need to be strong advocates for the protection of international human rights standards. The question of how to understand and protect human rights became very concrete during the conference when some of the participants gave witness about their personal experiences involving violations of fundamental rights: e.g. the deprivation of freedom of opinion and expression in the context of violence during civil wars and the persecution of Christians. Speakers at the conference included Archbishop Feofan of Berlin and Germany of the Moscow Patriarchate, Rev. Dr. h.c. Thomas Wipf, the President of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe, and Rev. Rüdiger Noll, Director of the Church and Society Commission of the Conference of European Churches. The Conference was welcomed by Bishop Dr. h.c. Frank Otfried July from the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg. The participants in the conference expressed their intention to continue the dialogue in order to support the churches to strengthen their work in the human rights’ area. The conference in the Protestant Academy, Bad Boll, was co-organised by the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE), the Church and Society Commission of the Conference of European Churches (CSC of CEC), the Moscow Patriarchate and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of some 125 Anglican, Orthodox, Protestant, and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, and of 40 associated organisations. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Geneva, Brussels and Strasbourg.

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