“Witness our faith in a secularized world”. This is the purpose with which the Joint Committee of the Council of European Bishops Conferences (Ccee) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC) met in Brussels from March 9th to 10th. The issue is connected with the forthcoming General Assembly of CEC, due in Novi Sad, Serbia, about: “You will be my witnesses”. “The church needs to be outward looking and both be inspired by the world as well as to inspire hope”, said in his opening address card Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa and President of CCEE. This is stated in a joint release issued today, which also mentions that rev. Christopher Hill, of the Church of England and CEC President, presented the CEC General Assembly as one important way its 116 member churches witness their Christian faith.
“As people in Europe feel disoriented, it appears that we need to redefine what it means to be human”, they point out. “Participants noted a kind of deafness to arguments based on a full understanding of reason. In this way, the quest for truth is severely hampered in the public debate”, the Churches write. “The proclamation of the mercy of God – the release goes on – is a powerful invitation to many to look again at their lives and to recognise their desire for mercy, for compassion, for forgiveness, for healing and for a new start. This approach is the open door. It discloses some of the most radical needs of people today. We can proclaim the Lord only out of our weakness, never out of our human strength”. Also, the members of the committee were consulted on the reception of the Charta Oecumenica, which has been signed by the two organisation in 2001, and it was decided to look at how this document can be further updated and strengthened with the input from churches, National Council of Churches and Bishop conferences around Europe. Christopher Hill and all the CEC Governing Board members finished their mandate.