Europe is facing several unprecedented challenges since a number of years, including Brexit, long-term economic difficulties in Southern countries, massive influx of migrants and refugees, threat to peace and stability, military conflict in Eastern Ukraine, as well as issues concerning people living together with different cultures and religions.
In this context, CEC has launched a public discussion on Future of Europe by sharing an Open letter on Future of Europe with its member churches already in 2016. The document reflects the original vision of the EU, addressing challenges and newly emerging lines of division in the EU from churches’ perspective. The letter generated an overwhelming reaction such as written responses, discussions at national and regional levels and four regional consultations that CEC organised through 2017.
The Novi Sad General Assembly will offer an opportunity to summarise findings of the consultations, formulating churches’ vision of Europe and suggesting next steps in churches’ joint action.
Christian presence and witness in Future of Europe will be the theme in focus in two consecutive sessions at the General Assembly.
The first one (Saturday, 16.00 – 18.00) will offer a space for summarising a two-year discussion on the CEC letter, dialogue, exchange and a particular input from youth.
The second session (Sunday, 14.00- 16.00) will be an opportunity to outline a vision of Europe’s future and the role of churches in shaping the future. These topics will be explored through presentations made by church leaders and European politicians, such as the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Bishop Petra Bosse-Huber, Head of Ecumenical Relations and Foreign Affairs in Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD), Mairead McGuinness, the First Vice-President of the European Parliament and Frans Timmermans, the First Vice-President of European Commission.
The Assembly discussions will offer an opportunity for exploring the future of Europe and the churches’ role, promoting vision of a society that encompasses the duty of solidarity, justice and respect for one another and for the world around, as well as fruitful ecumenical relations supporting such a society. The Novi Sad Assembly sessions on Future of Europe will be a space for providing witness on the way to achieve these aims.