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Sunday, 14 July 2013

A new constitution for the Conference of European Churches

On Monday 8 July, the delegates from 120 member Churches of the Conference of European Churches (CEC), gathered in Budapest, gave final approval to a new constitution for the organisation. After 6 days of intense work, the details were agreed, thus charting a way forward for the CEC to be an effective instrument of the European Churches in support of their common mission in Europe.

The Vision and Mission of CEC are summarised in a "strategic road map" for the future:

Our Common Vision
In faithfulness to the Gospel, CEC seeks the reconciliation and common witness of the Churches to help build a humane, socially conscious and sustainable Europe at peace with itself and its neighbours, in which human rights and the basic values of peace, justice, freedom, participation and solidarity prevail.

Our Common Mission
Through programmatic development and research CEC works to strengthen the bonds of Christian fellowship (koinonia) between all its members so that they might be better equipped and empowered to work together and with others in advocating an authentic and credible Christian witness to European society, and to European and international institutions.

One significant decisions was to move the headquarters of CEC from Geneva to Brussels. Another was to reduce the size of the Governing Body (formerly known as the Central Committee) from 40 to a more manageable and affordable 20.

I worked on the Nominations committee which, among other things, had to present a slate of membership for the Governing Board to the Assembly. It was quite a balancing act, to ensure that 8 regions were represented, with a mandatory minimum of 25% Orthodox (Eastern and Oriental) as well as striving for 40% women, 25% youth, 40% lay and about 25% from "minority or migrant Churches". Try fitting all this into 20 spaces!

The delegates worked hard, and by the end of the meeting were all fairly exhausted.

Due to the constitutional work which needed to be accomplished there was, disappointingly, little time left for work on issues facing the Churches in Europe. Daily prayer however, was central to the life of the Assembly, each day drawing on the riches of the traditions of the member Churches.

The reports from the Assembly can be found here. I particularly commend the message to the Churches which is found here. 

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