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KEK meeting: final message, “bridge-builders” on the ways of testimony, justice and hospitality

“We are committed to being bridge-builders through the life-changing power of faith” and through a renewed commitment on three fronts: testimony, justice and hospitality. Nine days after the tight discussion on the challenges that Europe is experiencing nowadays, this is the mission that the European Churches, all the Christian Churches, which are in our continent, have set out for themselves. This is written in the final message issued at the end of the XV general meeting of the Conference of European Churches (KEK) that took place in Novi Sad, Serbia, from May 30th to June 7th, bringing together 450 delegates from 116 different Churches. “We have come together in a time of uncertainty for Europe”, the message states: “Where many experience a loss of dignity, exploitation, poverty and abuse of power. From the shores of the Danube to Novi Sad, where the bridges were destroyed in times of war and rebuilt in times of peace, we have joined in prayer. We have shared out thirst for justice; our deep concern for people, for our continent, for our world”.

Testifying to Christ to today’s Europe – the Churches write – means being “an inclusive community”, stating that “every person has been made in the image of God”, valuing “the voices of the young who are our present, not just our future”. Practising justice demands instead that the institutions and the Churches “work to put an end to violence, persecution and discrimination, while defending freedom of religion or belief”. It also means looking for “reconciliation and for a peaceful solution to conflict” and listening to “those who have no voice or are outcasts in our Churches, in our communities and in our world”. And lastly the Churches renew their commitment to providing homes, thus effectively giving “a generous welcome to refugees and foreigners from all faiths or beliefs”, “committing ourselves to dialogue, sharing our Christian faith and learning from each other”, helping “overcome division, social exclusion and neglect”, and promoting “the defence of human rights”.

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