To Churches in Syria

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To Churches in Syria,

 

Your XX,

The 14th Assembly of the Conference of the European Churches, gathered in Budapest between 3-8 July 2013, sends to Your XX its greeting in the name of Triune God we all worship.

The Assembly in Budapest took note of the present situation in Syria, which affects the lives of all Syrians. We are aware of the difficulties you are going through. As brothers and sisters in our common Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we express our solidarity with your Church and assure you that we are keeping you in our prayers.

The Assembly is aware of the kidnapping of His Eminence Metropolitan Yohanna Ibrahim of Aleppo, of the Syrian Patriarchate of Antioch, and His Eminence Metropolitan Boulos Yazigi of Aleppo and Alexandrette, of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch. We assure you that our entire constituency continues to pray for their safety and liberation. The assembly has also adopted a statement demanding the immediate release of the two Metropolitans who are messengers of peace and struggling for the good of all human beings.

May our Lord Jesus Christ who suffered and was crucified and resurrected for the salvation of the entire world bring peace upon Syria and the entire region.

 Yours truly

Bishop Christopher Hill

President of CEC

 

On behalf of assembly

 

Behind the Faces – Leslie

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

Leslie
One of the key figures in the preparation for the Assembly in Budapest is the Moderator of the Assembly Planning Committee, Rev Canon Dr Leslie Nathaniel.

A smoothly-run Assembly enables the delegates to focus on the business at hand. Leslie says he: “hopes that the Assembly will be able to display Christian confidence; that CEC means churches which are on the move.”

The challenge at this Assembly is how best to build and strengthen relationships, whilst incorporating the feelings and sensitivities of all the member churches.  The theme of the meeting, ‘and now what are you waiting for?’ was proposed by the Assembly Planning Committee and chosen with care.  Inspired by words spoken to Paul, recorded in Acts 22, there is a clear sense of urgency and anticipation of the need for change.  In a pluralistic Europe where our cultural, social and economic contexts are rapidly changing Churches need to answer the questions; what is mission, and so what are you waiting for?

At the heart of this urgency is, Leslie believes, the important business now before the Assembly.  Affirming a statement of faith, a vision statement and a mission statement will help to take things forward, to motivate the churches and help our witness to be visible in a changing world.  CEC can add value to the work of the Churches, and promote greater unity and fellowship.

One of the highlights of any CEC Assembly is the success of the volunteer young people who serve as stewards.  The Assembly Planning Committee agreed that this was essential for this meeting in Budapest despite the additional costs and organisational challenges.  Leslie hopes that it can be a way to: “energise the young people, who need to be multipliers” for their enthusiasm for ecumenical encounter, joint action and common witness to Christ.

Logistics are always a challenge with such a big event involving people from so many different places.  Leslie is really grateful for the excellent work of his colleagues on the Assembly Planning Committee for being so pro-active in undertaking (on behalf of the Central Committee) all the various hands-on tasks to ensure that the meeting itself was able to take place.  With some staff turnover in CEC, planning for this Assembly has not always been straightforward!  But the usually thankless task of raising enough funds to be able to hold the Assembly has borne unexpected fruit; trust in one another.  Leslie says: “fundraising is one of the success stories, and it has shown that a lot of trust can be built quickly.”  The strength of good relationships can never be underestimated, and indeed critical for ecumenical fellowship.

The key to success at this Assembly will be, in Leslie’s words: “to help CEC with the right identity in new and changing times.”

Leslie Nathaniel is the European Secretary of the Church of England and is the Moderator of the Assembly Planning Committee.

 

The aim is many voices

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- Communications and the Media at the General Assembly

On the theme “And now what are you waiting for?” we try to ensure
that communications before and during the General Assembly
in Budapest is transparent and hopefully fast. We must seek ways
of increasing participation for delegates, member churches, members and of
course the media.

The aim is that many different voices must have an opportunity to
be heard, in parallel with the formal elements of the Business sessions.

Communicating about church activities is something above
and beyond the ordinary and must be conducted with great respect
for the Gospel, but this does not prevent us from using terms and
strategies from the business world. These represent a means to
achieve our goal.

The website www.ceceurope.org is the hub and is seen as a digital
archive which gathers all the documents together. The focus is on
getting the official documents and decisions published as quickly
as possible to increase participation for those who are not attending
the Assembly. The website will be updated daily during the
General Assembly, describing what is taking place at the Assembly
with links to the day’s documents which are official. The website
will link to activities in social media with a daily blog written in
three or four languages and daily tweets from the deliberations with
the hashtag #cecfuture.

We have created a Facebook group for the Assembly (CEC
Assembly) which is open to everyone. Every day during, the General
Assembly, all the published articles will be linked, links to Web
TV, tweets and pictures. Anyone can write and submit pictures,
send a greeting from a member church, etc. You are welcome to
share your thoughts!

If our resources permit, we will offer Web streaming of the
deliberations. The deliberations will be filmed and broadcast live and published afterwards (within 24 hours).

A daily newsletter to delegates and the media providing brief facts
about what is on the programme, brief looks back at what happened
the day before and highlighting different voices to give
an insight from their own perspectives. The newsletter will be produced in English, German, French and Hungarian.

Outside the Plenary hall there will be an exhibition with several
elements: there will be a special corner for the different topics that
concern CEC and its member churches and a special corner for
the youth. A future wall (Prayer wall) will also be created where
people can communicate their thoughts, prayers and/or wishes or
concerns.

There is a Press Centre for media and daily Press Conferences or Press Briefings. The Press Centre is open 7:30 – 22:30 every day July 3-7 and on July 8 from 7:30-15:00.

Our hope is, prior to and during the General Assembly, to establish
communications that are characterised by faith in the future
and the hopes that are part of the ecumenical work being done in
Europe. These communications are to serve as proper support to
the management of the General Assembly and create the conditions for a dialogue between the member churches before and during the event.

We welcome your thoughbildts and input!

“And now what are you waiting for?”

Marianne Ejdersten,

Communication Co-ordinator of CEC’s 14th General Assembly
e-mail: marianne.ejdersten@svenskakyrkan.se
mobile +46 70 348 41 59