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Friday, 21 December 2012

Fr Malcolm Bradshaw and the international solidarity visit to Athens

WCC / CEC Solidarity Delegation to Athens
On 19th and 20th November, there was an official solidarity visit by a high level delegation from the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC) to Athens. Our Anglican Chaplain in Athens, the Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw was part of the local team of Church leaders who were on hand to greet the delegation and to explain what was happening in Greece. The international delegation was headed by the Revd Dr Olav Fykse Tveit General Secretary of the WCC and the CEC General Secretary the Revd Dr Guy Liagre and also included Dame Dr Mary Tanner from the Church of England, and a WCC President. 

Church in the Street Programme: Fr Malcolm Bradshaw (grey shirt), Dr Olav Fykse Tveit to his right, Dame Mary Tanner to his left.
The delegation visited the ‘Church in the Street’ programme in Athens.Bishop Gabriel Papanicolaou of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese invited Fr Malcolm to explain to the delegation the history and what was being done by the 'Church in the Street' programme, a significant ecumenical project, supported by the Church of Greece, St Paul's Anglican Church and several African immigrant Pentecostal Churches. The line at the soup kitchen provided by the project that day consisted of  some 1,000 people in need of food included Afghans, Syrians, North Africans. But marking a more recent change, one third of them were Greeks.

A press statement issued by the WCC and the CEC stated that “The severe challenges facing Greece are only one part of a larger dilemma within Europe and the rest of the world. This reflects not only a potential economic catastrophe but an emerging moral and spiritual degradation reaching into the heart of the European Union and the current economic system”. In the same statement, Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria said, "We really suffer with our friends. We are all one Europe." He said in discussions with Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens that the crisis should encourage the leaders of the European Union to return to the founding values of the union and asked the WCC and CEC to raise their voice.

The Press Release from the WCC and the CEC is here.

(Photos courtesy of WCC)

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