Bishop Christopher Hill is the new CEC President

Bishop Christopher HillThe new Governing Board of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) has chosen the Anglican Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Rev. Christopher Hill as the President of CEC.

Bishop Christopher was chosen at the first meeting of the new Governing Board on Monday.

Very Rev. Karin Burstrand, the Dean of Gothenburg in the Church of Sweden is one of the two vice-presidents along with His Emminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France who stepped down as President.

Before CEC’s new Constitution came into effect on Monday, CEC had a 40-member Central Committee that met annually to oversee the implementation of the decisions of the Assembly.

A presidium of 10 members served as executive to the Central Committee.

The new CEC Constitution approved on 7 July establishes the Governing Board as the main governing body.

La KEK élit un Conseil de direction plus resserré

Gérald Machabert Co-opted Staff – Writer (United Protestant Church of France)

La 14ème Assemblée de la Conférence des Églises européennes (KEK) qui se tient à Budapest jusqu’au 8 juillet a élu 20 personnes représentatives de la diversité de ses membres au nouveau Conseil de direction.

Suivant le cadre de la nouvelle Constitution adoptée la veille, c’est un Conseil de direction réduit de moitié par rapport à l’équipe sortante du Comité central qui a été élu. Cette Constitution souhaite en effet doter la KEK d’un appareillage plus léger et changer le nom de ses structures de gouvernance.

Ce fut donc un travail d’orfèvre pour le Comité des nominations de l’Assemblée que de proposer une liste équilibrée pour ce futur Conseil, tentant de maintenir les grands équilibres dans la composition de cette équipe réduite.

La KEK est en effet fortement attentive à la représentativité en ses institutions des différentes composantes tant confessionnelles que de statuts. Ainsi, même si un court débat a eu lieu entre différentes Eglises de la région Nord-Baltique au sujet d’un candidat danois que certaines Églises souhaitaient remplacer par Karin Burstrand, évêque luthérienne de l’Église de Suède et membre sortant du Comité central, les grands équilibres sont maintenus.

45% des membres de ce nouveau Conseil de direction sont des femmes et 35% sont des laïcs. Les jeunes ne sont plus tout à fait aussi présents, ne représentant que 20% des membres du Comité central. Les orthodoxes sont eux un peu plus présents avec 30% de la composition de cet organe exécutif.

Les membres de la 14ème Assemblée ont choisi – dans la foulée de l’adoption de la nouvelle Constitution – d’élire une équipe représentant le renouveau. Quatre membres du Comité central sortant seulement ont été reconduit dans leur mandat de direction de la KEK.

Striving for an eco Assembly

David Bradwell
Co-opted Staff, Writer, Church of Scotland

There is a tension between the environmental commitment of Churches and hosting a major international conference.

The churches in Europe are increasingly aware of their responsibility to care for God’s creation, including reducing carbon footprints, using fewer natural resources and caring for diversity and ecosystems.

There are strong links to this green agenda and the message from Rt Rev. Julio Murray to the Assembly on 3 July: “the concept of ‘good living’ in contrast to ‘living well’ as we seek an “economy of efficiency”.

The challenge for CEC is that Assemblies are costly events.

Travel for around 400 participants, electricity, and reams and reams of paper; there are serious questions that need to be addressed about how a green churches can be when hosting such big events.

To be true to the Old Testament imperative to care for creation it is important that environmental management is considered during the Assembly planning process.

Loving our neighbour is also a critical commandment in this regard, as Churches in industrialised countries recognise that those who suffer from the worst effects of climate change (such as drought or rising sea levels) are our neighbours who have often done least to contribute to carbon emissions and are least able to adapt and survive.

To this end the Assembly strove to be green; here are four practical examples:

– Reducing paper.  When registering, each participant was given the option of being paperless during the Assembly, and everything is printed on recycled paper.

– Meals.  All the meals served at the Assembly have a vegetarian option as standard, as meat production is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.  The Friday evening meal was meat-free.

– Recycling.  The Assembly tote bags, the plastic water beakers, the notepads and pens provided to all participants are made from recycled materials.  The Assembly venues (the RaM Coliseum and Helia Hotel) both have their own environmental policies.

– Travel emissions compensation.  Each participant was warmly invited to donate €15 towards an ecumenical project in Hungary to plant fruit trees.

Seventy church parks, gardens and areas of land have been identified for planting, which will be done in co-operation with the Plant Diversity Centre, an institute supported by the Hungarian Government.

Delegates and participants can donate by cash at the Assembly or through bank transfer:

Name : Commission Eglise et Société de la CEC,
Address : Rue Joseph II 174 1000 Bruxelles – BELGIUM
IBAN : BE43 2100 9891 5501
Communication: Budapest – CO2 compensation

This project, which works with local churches, is an opportunity to compensate in a small way for the environmental impact of the Assembly.

Churches should support the marginalised

The 14th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches meeting in Budapest agrees  a statement on the financial and economic crisis calling for churches to remain on the side of the marginalised.

Delegates from the 115 Member Churches of CEC observed that the global financial crisis has left thousands of people in despair and that the gaps between rich and poor are widening in the majority of European societies.

The Churches in Europe have already sought to address issues of economic globalization by encouraging their members to consider their personal consumption of water, energy and scarce resources as well as seeking fair and just production conditions and prices for commodities.

In particular, concerns have been raised about forced labour and human trafficking.  The Assembly encouraged churches with specialised programmes of social assistance, such as education and health services.

Churches were recognised as advocates for the well-being of all humanity, especially when relating to national governments and decision-makers, and have developed policies of inclusion as well as credible alternatives on issues of wealth, poverty and ecology.

The CEC Assembly issued a call to its member churches to remain at the side of the marginalised in society and to jointly move towards credible and durable alternatives.

The 14th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches meeting in Budapest has agreed a statement on youth unemployment.

There has been a “radical increase” in the number of young people in despair, resulting in a rise in suicide among young people.

The CEC Assembly agreed that youth unemployment risked creating a lost generation.

The public issues statement draws particular attention to the reality that youth unemployment is disproportionately higher among black and minority ethnic communities.

The statement encouraged all churches to offer opportunities to young people seeking employment, including offering hope.  The statement concluded with the words: “investing in the young generation we ensure long term growth in the future.  Churches should identify their role in overcoming the increasing youth poverty and promote social justice and solidarity.”

The Conference of European Churches calls for action against prejudice, discrimination and neglect with regard to Roma, Sinti and Travellers’ communities.

The 14th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches meeting in Budapest agreed the call in a public issues statement on the Roma in Europe.

Noting that the 13th Assembly of CEC (meeting in Lyon in 2009) adopted a statement which expressed dismay and deep concern about the situation facing the Roma, Sinti and Travellers’ communities and the social exclusion of the largest ethnic minority in Europe, delegates at the 2013 Assembly acknowledged some of the good work which had been undertaken over the past four years by churches and the European Union.

They reiterated the call to churches to work for integration and against prejudice, discrimination and neglect.

The CEC Assembly also called on national governments to improve access to education, housing, employment and services for members of the Roma, Sinti, and Travellers’ communities.

CEC calls for dignity for undocumented migrants and a commemoration for lives lost by people struggling to reach Europe.

The 14th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches meeting in Budapest agreed a statement on asylum seekers and undocumented migrants in a public issues statement.  Delegates affirmed the conviction that the dignity of every person has to be ensured, regardless of their immigration status.

The CEC Assembly underlined concerns about the EU Common European Asylum System which has led to a disproportionate distribution of refugees and asylum seekers.  During the debate, a representative from the Church of Greece underlined the importance of offering hospitality to all people, but expressed a plea for a fairer sharing of these responsibilities due to the severe financial difficulties that Greek society is facing at this time.

The tragedy of a high number of persons losing their lives trying to reach safety in Europe was deplored by the Assembly.  Delegates agreed to call on churches in Europe to commemorate people who had died in their attempt to reach Europe.  They also issued a call to national governments to increase sea rescue services for migrant boats.

The Assembly in addition offered its support to the Protestant Church in the Netherlands for its ‘collective complaint’ to the European Committee of Social Rights of the Council of Europe regarding the treatment of undocumented migrants in the Netherlands.

European Churches offer solidarity for all working for peace and human rights in the Mediterranean and Middle East Regions.

The 14th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches meeting in Budapest has adopted a statement on the situation in the European neighbourhood, affecting church and societal life in the Middle East and North Africa.

Delegates agreed a public issues statement which expressed solidarity with brothers and sisters, Christians and Muslims, living in those countries involved in the so-called ‘Arab Spring’.

The CEC Assembly appreciated the efforts for democracy and stability, as well as for building a society in which human rights are respected.

The Assembly called on member churches to build and strengthen bilateral partnerships with religious communities in the wider Mediterranean region, and to continue to pray for peace, stability and prosperity for all people.

The CEC Assembly expressed sincere and anxious concern about the situation in Syria.

In particular, it appealed to those who had kidnapped His Eminence Metropolitan Yohanna Ibrahim of Aleppo of the Syrian Patriarchate of Antioch and His Eminence Metropolitan Boulos Yazigi of Aleppo and Alexandretta of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch to immediately release them.

The statement said that “keeping them far from their people is a sin against humanity.”  The Assembly agreed to send a letter to His Beatitude Patriarch John X and to His Holiness Ignatius Zakka I, whose respective Metropolitans from Aleppo have been kidnapped.

A message of solidarity to the Churches in Syria was also agreed.

During the meeting of the Assembly (3-8 July), the situation in Egypt has become violent and chaotic.  The public issues statement expressed sympathy and solidarity with the citizens of Egypt.  The Assembly appealed for all to refrain from violence.  CEC member churches were invited to support efforts for peaceful reconciliation, and particularly to pray for the Coptic Church and for their efforts for Christian-Muslim co-operation.

The situation for migrants and refugees attempting to reach Europe via the western Mediterranean was also highlighted in Assembly’s statement.  Many get stranded in Morocco, living in destitution.  Churches are among the few actors providing practical support.  The CEC Assembly calls on member churches to keep these people in their prayers, and to support all those involved in this important and difficult ministry.

European Churches Assembly expresses concern about electronic surveillance

The 14th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches meeting in Budapest has criticised surveillance which impinges human rights.  In a statement on public issues, the CEC Assembly acknowledged the new possibilities for spiritual freedom brought about by electronic media.  It noted that there was a tendency in several countries to limit freedom of expression through means of surveillance.

The long-standing concern of CEC for the protection of human rights was underlined, with strong concern expressed by delegates to safeguard freedom of expression, an obligatory prerequisite for religious freedom.

Churches express common desire to protect cultural heritage of Europe; calls to end violation of rights in Cyprus

The 14th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches adopted a public issues statement expressing that the religious and cultural heritage of Europe as being of paramount importance to European identity.  Delegates approved the statement which called for the protection of important religious sites.

Particular recognition was given to the positive steps taken by the Turkish authorities regarding religious freedom issues, especially for the Ecumenical Patriarchate (a member Church of CEC).

On-going concern was expressed about the violation of religious rights and the desecration of religious sites in the Turkish occupied areas of northern Cyprus, including issues around freedom to access sites, restoration of property and freedom of worship.

The Conference of European Churches calls for a fair trial for a leader of the Orthodox Church in FYROM, and his immediate release pending his trial, in accordance with the rule of law.

The 14th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches expressed its concern about the arrest and detention of Archbishop Jovan and noted that it is believed that his detention is a result of him exercising his fundamental right to religious freedom.

Delegates at the CEC Assembly affirmed the call by the World Council of Churches for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Religious Freedom and Belief, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe and the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights to urgently investigate this case, in particular whether the detention conditions are in line with standards set out by the Council of Europe.

The Government of FYROM and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski were urged to release Archbishop Jovan immediately, and to ensure that any trial is in accordance with the rule of law as FYROM is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights.

The member churches of CEC were requested to join in prayer and solidarity with Archbishop Jovan by sending letters of protest to the appropriate authorities.

Eine neue Verfassung

Anikó Schuetz – Co-opted staff writer, Church of Scotland 

Um 21:20 Uhr am Sonntagabend wurde die neue Verfassung der KEK mit einer überwältigenden Mehrheit (160 Ja-Stimmen, 7 Nein-Stimmen, 7 Enthaltungen) von der Vollversammlung angenommen. Auch die Dritte Lesung der Verfassung brachte zahlreiche Diskussionen, Fragen und Kommentare mit sich.

Die neue Verfassung löst die vorhergehende, die 1992 beschlossen worden war, ab. Sie trifft Vorkehrungen für den Umzug des KEK-Sekretariats von Genf nach Brüssel, obwohl dafür kein konkreter Zeitplan erstellt werden konnte, da die notwendigen legalen Prozesse sowohl in der Schweiz als auch in Belgien diesen Umzug verlangsamen könnten.

Sobald dies praktisch und rechtlich möglich ist, werden die KEK-Büros, die sich seit 1959 in Genf befunden haben, nach Brüssel verlegt werden. Das Büro in Straßburg wird erhalten bleiben, um Beziehungen zum Europarat und anderen Behörden besser aufrechterhalten zu können.

Die Vollversammlung setzt sich aus Delegierten der fast 120 KEK-Mitgliedskirchen und Kirchenvereinigungen zusammen. Die neue Verfassung wird am Dienstag, dem 9. Juli 2013, nach dem Abschluss der Vollversammlung in Kraft treten.

Der bisherige Zentralausschuss wird nun in einen Verwaltungsrat mit zwanzig Mitgliedern  umgewandelt. Dieser Rat wird mindestens zwei jährliche Sitzungen abhalten, um die KEK-Geschäfte zwischen den Vollversammlungen, die nur alle fünf Jahre stattfinden, fortzuführen. Der Verwaltungsrat wird von einem Präsidenten oder einer Präsidentin und zwei Vize-PräsidentInnen geleitet. Der Generalsekretär oder die Generalsekretärin wird die alltägliche Arbeit im Sekretariat leiten.

Bestehende Kommissionen der KEK werden in ein einheitlicheres System umgewandelt werden. Verhandlungen mit anderen Organisationen wie der Kirchenkommission für Migranten in Europa (CCME), die eng mit der KEK zusammen arbeitet, werden fortgesetzt, um über eine mögliche Fusion zu entscheiden.

Trotz des langwierigen Prozesses der letzten Tage, in denen die neue Verfassung aus dem vorgeschlagenen Dokument geformt wurde, wurde die Annahme des Schriftstücks mit rauschendem Applaus gefeiert. Allerdings wurde auch betont, dass der Weg zu der neuen Verfassung nicht immer einfach war, und dass einige der Versammlungsteilnehmer und -teilnehmerinnen Verletzungen erfahren haben. Eine der Delegierten erklärte, dass sie sich, wie viele andere weibliche und JugendteilnehmerInnen der Versammlung, marginalisiert fühlt. Obwohl die Gründe für die Abschaffung des obligatorischen Jugend- und Frauenanteils von Delegierten nachvollziehbar seien, hätten sie doch zu Kränkungen geführt, die mit Sensitivität behandelt werden sollten.

Nach dem Abschluss der Verfassungsdebatte bedankten sich die Moderatoren bei dem Dokumentationsteam und den anderen Mitarbeitern, Stewards und Volunteers der 14. Vollversammlung, ohne die der mitunter komplexe Ablauf der Versammlung sehr viel schwieriger hätte sein können.

Die Verfassung wird offiziell veröffentlicht, sobald sie auch in die anderen Versammlungssprachen, Französisch und Deutsch, übersetzt und legal geprüft wurde.

La KEK transfère son siège de Genève à Bruxelles

Gérald Machabert
Co-opted Staff – Writer, United Protestant Church of France

Plenary sessionLa Conférence des Eglises européennes (KEK) a voté une nouvelle Constitution qui contient le choix du transfert de son siège de Genève à Bruxelles.

Dans le préambule de cette nouvelle Constitution, la KEK s’engage à « aider les Eglises européennes à partager leur vie spirituelle et leur action de service, et à promouvoir l’unité des Eglises et la paix dans le monde. »

La 14ème Assemblée de la KEK à Budapest a ainsi remplacé sa base légale précédente qui avait été adoptée en 1992 et amendée en 2009.

La nouvelle Constitution a été adoptée le 7 juillet par un vote de 160 personnes pour et 7 contre et 7 abstentions.

Les délégués à l’Assemblée sont les représentants de près de 120 Eglises et fédérations d’Eglise.

Mardi 9 juillet 2013 marquera la date d’entrée en vigueur d’une Constitution sensée conduire la Conférence des Eglises européennes dans un futur de collaborations plus étroites.

Le siège de la KEK, qui se trouvait à Genève depuis sa création en 1959, sera transféré « aussi rapidement que possible » dans les locaux de la Conférence à Bruxelles ; siège de l’Union européenne et de ses institutions.

Les transferts légaux entre législation suisse et belge risquent cependant de reporter ce changement de deux ou trois années.

Il est proposé que le bureau existant à Strasbourg soit maintenu pour poursuivre les relations de la KEK avec le Conseil de l’Europe et d’autres institutions.

Un comité exécutif d’une vingtaine de personnes remplacera l’actuelle Comité Central composé de 40 personnes.

Ce comité se réunira « au moins deux fois par an » pour conduire l’organisation entre deux Assemblées qui se retrouveront tous les cinq ans. Les structures exécutives seront conduites par un président et deux vice-présidents.

Le Secrétaire général pilotera le travail quotidien depuis le Secrétariat de Bruxelles.

Les commissions actuelles composant la KEK seront restructures dans un système qui les intègre plus fortement.

Les discussions doivent se poursuivre avec la Commission des Eglises auprès des migrants en Europe (CCME) qui travaille déjà de façon étroite avec la KEK et avait envisagé son rattachement complet.

Les cinq jours de travail et d’amendements en assemblée plénière et en petits groupes ont culminé lors de la troisième lecture du document dimanche après-midi et soir.

Au cours de cette lecture, le texte a été lu littéralement et intégralement alors que des délégués étaient appelés à faire d’ultimes propositions et ajustements.

Certains participants d’organisations associées représentant les mouvements de jeunes, de femmes et d’autres courants du mouvement œcuménique ont exprimé leur déception à voir leur statut devenir celui d’ « organisations partenaires ». Ils ont exprimé leur crainte de voir cette catégorisation, contenue dans la Constitution, les exclure des décisions au profit des Eglises membres.

Bien que les débats aient eu lieu en Anglais, Français et Allemand, c’est à partir de la version anglaise que l’Assemblée a travaillé.

La Constitution ne sera rendue publique que lorsque la traduction aura été effectuée en Français et en Allemand et qu’une relecture juridique aura été effectuée sur les trois versions.

CEC to move its Secretariat from Geneva to Brussels

The Conference of European Churches has approved a new constitution that makes provision for CEC to move its Secretariat from Geneva to Brussels.

Plenary sessionIn the preamble to a newly adopted constitution, the Conference of European Churches (CEC) commits itself anew “to help the European Churches to share their spiritual life, to strengthen their common witness and service, and to promote the unity of the Church and peace in the world.”

The 14th Assembly of CEC in Budapest, Hungary replaced a previous CEC legal basis drafted in 1992 and last amended in 2009.

The new constitution was adopted by a vote of 160 to seven, with seven abstentions (160/7/7), on the evening of 7 July (7/7).

Assembly delegates are representatives from the nearly 120 CEC member churches and federations of churches.

Tuesday 9 July 2013 marks the effective date of the streamlined constitution meant to guide the Conference of European Churches (CEC) into a future of more closely consolidated operations.

The original offices that have been in Geneva, Switzerland since CEC’s founding in 1959 will be merged “as soon as possible” into the Conference’s location in Brussels, Belgium, home of the European Union and related institutions.

The legal steps necessary under Swiss and Belgian law may delay the final move for two to three years; however, this is a rough estimate.

It is proposed that an existing office in Strasbourg, France will continue CEC’s relations with the Council of Europe and other agencies, subject to legal and financial contingencies.

A Governing Board of 20 members will replace the larger CEC Central Committee. The board will gather at least twice annually to conduct business between General Assemblies to be held every five years. The governing bodies will be led by a President and two Vice-presidents.

The General Secretary will oversee daily work through the Secretariat in Brussels.

Existing commissions that make up CEC will be restructured into a more unified system. Conversations will continue with the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) which works closely with CEC and has considered merger with the Conference.

Five days of consideration and redrafting in groups large and small culminated in the “third hearing” of the constitution throughout Sunday afternoon and evening. During this “hearing” the text literally was read aloud and projected on a screen as delegates made final amendments and adjustments.

Some participants from associated organisations representing youth, women and other streams of the ecumenical movement expressed dismay at the new constitution’s approach to “Organisations in Partnership”.

They voiced the suspicion that this categorization, as defined in the document, would serve to disenfranchise these groups in comparison to the role of CEC member churches.

Although debate was conducted in English, French and German, the printed and projected drafts from which the Assembly worked were presented only in English.

The constitution will not be published officially until it is translated into French and German and there is a legal review of all three language texts.

Zöldebb és fenntarthatóbb CEC

Zságer László Zsolt
Magyar Református Egyház

Már a 2009-ben megrendezett lyoni nagygyűlésen felvetődött a fenntarthatóság mellett a környezettudatosság gondolata is teremtett világunk megőrzése érdekében. Ez a XIV. CEC Nagygyűlés budapesti helyszínén már nemcsak gondolat, hanem megvalósuló gyakorlat. Julio Murray panamai püspök szerint, keresztényként arra vagyunk hivatottak, hogy jó életünk legyen, s nem kizárólag arra, hogy jól éljünk. Ez a gondolat egybecseng a fenntarthatóság és a környezettudatosság szükségszerűségének gondolatával.

CO2 compensationA környezettudatosság és a fenntarthatóság iránti elkötelezettségnek több nyoma is fellelhető a nagygyűlésen:

  • Egy konferencia papírigénye általában roppant mennyiséget tesz ki. Ezért erre a nagygyűlésre már úgy készültek a szervezők, hogy a lehető legtöbb keletkező anyag és tartalom a szervezet honlapján kerüljön megosztásra a papírfogyasztás csökkentése végett. Ez csak részben valósítható meg, hiszen számos anyagot szükséges kinyomtatni. Ám ehhez is újrahasznosított vagy energiahatékony papírt használnak.
  • A rangos eseménynek helyet adó RaM Colosseum művelődési központ és Danubius Hélia szálloda vezetősége és személyzete is a szervezők segítségére van a környezettudatosság megvalósításában – többek között – a szelektív hulladékgyűjtés, a többször használatos kéztörlők használata, környezetbarát tisztítószerek alkalmazása, a hatékony energia- és vízfelhasználás és a szén-dioxid kibocsátás visszaszorítása révén.
  • A fenntarthatóság és a szénlábnyom minimalizálása érdekében a szervezők gondoskodtak, arról is, hogy az ételekhez használt alapanyagokat lehetőleg helyi kereskedésekből és termelőktől szerezzék be. A konferencián található vízállomások és a bennük lévő víz is (amit a többször használatos poharainkból iszunk) mind Magyarországról származnak.
  • Mivel az utazás is szén-dioxid kibocsátással jár, ezért arra kérték a résztvevőket, hogy egy jelképes összeg befizetésével járuljanak hozzá különböző ökológiai projektekhez, többek között ahhoz a faültetési projektekhez, ami a magyarországi egyházak és környezetvédelmi szervezetek együttműködése által valósul meg. Ezekről a programokról bővebb információ a RaM Colosseum ülésterme közelében elhelyezett faliújságon található.

Julio Murray a latin-amerikai ökumenikus mozgalomról a CEC sajtótájékoztatóján

Lakatos Judit, Magyarországi Metodista Egyház 
Zságer László Zsolt, Magyar Református Egyház

Julio MurrayAz Európai Egyházak Konferenciája XIV. Nagygyűlésének harmadik napján Julio Murray tartott sajtótájékoztatót. A Panamai Anglikán Egyház püspöke korábban a Latin-amerikai Egyházak Tanácsának elnöke, az ökumenikus mozgalom elkötelezett híve volt az idei nagygyűlés egyik meghívott vezérszónoka. A panamai püspök Latin-Amerika és Európa közötti hasonlóságokról beszélt, s kiemelte, hogy mindkét térségben, multikulturális környezetben, a különbözőségeket elfogadva kell az egységet megélni. Szólt arról is, hogy korunk kihívásaira egyedül az Evangélium tud választ adni és reményt közvetíteni. Az ökumenizmus mindkét térségben az egymásért való imádságot kell, hogy jelentse, és teret kell biztosítania a vitára és párbeszédre teológiai és társadalmi kérdésekben.

Egy újságíró kérdésére válaszolva elmondta, hogy az új pápával a kapcsolatfelvételre ugyan nem került sor, de Latin-Amerika szerte nagy várakozás övezi és sok imádság kíséri Ferenc pápa szolgálatának kezdetét.

Annak kapcsán, hogy az evangéliumi és pünkösdi egyházak távol maradnak az ökumenikus mozgalomtól, Julio Murray elmondta, hogy a Globális Keresztény Fórum találkozóin viszont rendszeresen sor kerül közös bizonyságtételre. Ezeknél jóval több alkalomra van szükség a párbeszéd folytatásához, s egy nagyobb egység irányába kell haladni. Az ökumenikus mozgalomban nem az ítélkezésre van szükség, hanem arra, hogy minél több felet bevonjunk az együttgondolkodásba. Gondoskodnunk kell arról, hogy „mindenki, akinek ott kell lennie az asztalnál, ott legyen.”

Latin-amerikai viszonylatban megemlítette az őslakos kultúrákhoz való közeledést. Szinte minden kultúrában megtalálható a harmónia problematikája. Ez közös nevezőül szolgálhat a további párbeszédhez, ugyanis a teremtett világgal való összhang- egyensúly megtalálása minden keresztény közös vágya, mely válasz lehet a globalizáció kihívásaira.

What are we voting for?

Theodore Gill,
co-opted staff, WCC

There is a time in every assembly when it appears that significant decisions are being made. But, as the Bible tells us,

“The end is not yet.”

The important decisions of an assembly are made near its conclusion. This is especially true of the 14th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) where the principal order of business is adoption of a new constitution.

The original agenda for the meeting envisioned a final vote on the constitution by this Saturday afternoon, July 6, but on Friday morning a moderator was warning the Assembly that “the adoption of the new constitution must take place by Monday morning [July 8] at the latest, keeping in mind that Sunday is for the most part a ‘free’ day'” when assembly participants will worship in congregations around the Budapest area.

Rhetorical entanglements during a late sitting of the Assembly on Thursday night seem to have caused even the moderators to moderate their hopes for an early vote.

Parliamentary language describes the interim task of delegates as “perfecting the motion” that will enact change.

The “decisions” being taken in these days are not final; rather, they move toward defining the text that will be approved or rejected in the ultimate vote.

Even experienced moderators sometimes fall into the trap of making announcements like this: “We have approved the Preamble!”

To be precise, the Assembly merely approves the Preamble that may begin the new constitution; however, this will happen only if the constitution as a whole is adopted. The same caution applies to all the amendments that are being “perfected” and approved.

Basebollstar Yogi Berra: "It ain't over 'til it's over." Photo from Wikipedia

Basebollstar Yogi Berra: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” Photo from Wikipedia

A legendary baseball star of the New York Yankees, catcher and manager Yogi Berra, is said to have told his fellow players, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” In the case of a new constitution for CEC, only final adoption of a full text, or a refusal to adopt the proposed constitution, will qualify as “Breaking News” worthy of a banner.

In the process of discussing the content necessary in a legally binding constitution, as opposed to those organisational details that could be included in supporting documents, the delegates address CEC’s essential needs in regard to core identity and commitments, governance, management, finance, key constituencies, relations with other bodies and practical arrangements for transition as CEC moves from one paradigm to the next.