Churches affirm European institutions on Europe Day

By staff writers
May 9, 2007

Faith in Europe, a body in association with Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) has issued a statement which welcomes the institutions of Europe.

Their statement comes on Europe Day, 9th May.

"A hundred years ago you could have driven your primitive motor car from Brussels to Brindisi or Leipzig to Lisbon without an official asking who you were. Fifty years ago, after two devastating wars, you couldn't. Now you can. You don't even have to change your money on the way", the statement says.

"Our faith tells us that the teachings of the traditional religions, culminating, as we see it, in those of Jesus Christ, have done much to build up the trust and relationships which now link European countries and their peoples. Our witness depends on seeing all humankind as children of God.

"We therefore welcome and value the Council of Europe's European Convention on Human Rights, and its Court which can make up for national deficiencies. We welcome the European Union's Charter of Fundamental Rights."

"And of course we welcome the UK Human Rights Act.

"We also acknowledge with gratitude the initiatives of Jacques Delors and other former European Commission leaders under the title 'Giving a Soul to Europe'. As the Book of Proverbs says, where there is no vision the people perish.

"Our churches as institutions, like the political institutions of Europe, have sometimes departed from the ideals of their Founder and of the founding fathers that followed Him. Our task today is to support each other in service, in prayer and in hope, and to remind our fellow-citizens that we can celebrate both differences and a common calling."

The statement comes ahead of the Third European Ecumenical Assembly which takes place at Sibiu in Romania from 4-8 September. Its theme is The Light of Christ shines upon all: Hope for renewal and unity in Europe.

In Sibiu, the Romanian Orthodox, Roman Catholic and evangelical Protestant churches are cooperating in organising the Ecumenical Assembly.

The choice of place is designed to honour the new member state of the European Union, and also the churches which coexist within its boundaries.

Faith in Europe was formed in 2005 from the merger of two similar bodies, the Churches' East-West European Relations Network (CEWERN) and Christianity and the Future of Europe (CAFE).

As well as members from all the main Christian denominations, it has links with the Jewish and Muslim faiths.

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