Together in Hope and Witness: CEC Presidency meets in Leicester


 

The leadership of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) met in Leicester on 29 March to work on implementing a new strategic plan, which focuses on promoting reconciliation in Europe, deepening church fellowship, and raising the voice of the churches toward the European Institutions.

 

The presidency was due to meet in the UK but as it happened to coincide with the day the UK was originally xpected to leave the European Union, the CEC leaders also attended a public vigil service with local civic, interfaith, and community leaders at Leicester Cathedral.

 

The Church of England is one of 114 different denominations in CEC and will continue to be a member after BREXIT. The members of the CEC Presidency are:

 

​Revd Christian Krieger, Reformed Protestant Church of Alsace and Lorraine, CEC President

 

Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, Bishop of Loughborough, Church of England, CEC Vice-President

 

Metropolitan Cleopas Strongylis, Ecumenical Patriarchate, CEC Vice-President

 

 

At the “Brexit – Hear My Voice: A vigil for the future” service, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, the Bishop of Leicester, led prayers and there was a brief reflection from Europe with a message from the Rt Revd Dr Robert Innes, Bishop of Europe, and a reflection from the UK by CEC Vice-President, the Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, Bishop of Loughborough.

 

As part of the service, the congregation was invited by the Dean of Leicester, the Very Revd David Monteith, to take part in a time of listening to someone they had never met before.

 

Bishop Martyn will also invite people attending to commit to seeking unity by declaring these shared promises:

We pledge to walk together

We pledge to rejoice with those who rejoice

We pledge to weep with those who weep

We pledge to build the future in hope

We pledge to heal the hurts

We pledge to live in peace

 

The following is a message from the presidency of the Conference of European Churches (Revd Krieger, Rt Revd Dr Francis-Dehqani and Mr Cleopas) issued after their meeting in Leicester, where they committed to continuing to implement the CEC Strategic Plan 2019-2023:

 

Today, we reaffirm the bonds of ecclesial and ecumenical fellowship that unite Churches across Europe. We respond to the same call—to follow the one Christ and be moved by the same Holy Spirit. These are bonds that unite us across time and history, and move us forward together in hope and witness.

 

The Conference of European Churches emerged from a fragmented and divided Europe following the Second World War. At that time there was a real need to overcome political divisions, and work for healing and peace. Today, the continent experiences pain from unhealed wounds and new divisions. We also recall our place in the broader world and the global challenges that we face. European Churches have to look to their roots and history, and again act as an instrument of peace and understanding.

 

We will continue to build bridges of peace and hospitality in our communities, and remain committed to strengthening relationships among churches in Europe. We are enriched by our differences and the diversity of paths leading to the realisation of European ideals.  Our common responsibility for the future of Europe compels us toward solidarity and friendship, even in the midst of uncertain and challenging political circumstances.

 

Together we pray that the God of reconciling hope guide us through history’s turmoil and lead us to the flourishing of unity.  May we look toward the dawning of the Easter hope and find strength in the mission God has entrusted to us.