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13th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches

Message to the 13th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches, Lyon, France, 15-21 July 2009

09 July 2009

Lyon, France, 15-21 July 2009


Your All Holiness,
Your Beatitudes,
Dear Fathers, Reverends and Pastors,
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,


It is an honor and a privilege for me to greet you, delegates to the 13th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches, in the name of the fellowship of 349 member churches of the World Council of Churches.

An assembly is a particularly special moment in the life of every ecumenical organization. It provides an opportunity to evaluate the previous work and activities, to elect the members of the governing structures, and especially to experience the fellowship and communion in love, witness and action achieved by its members.

This assembly is a very special one for the life of the CEC because we celebrate 50 years of existence of the most important European ecumenical organization. In its history of a half century, the Conference of European Churches, whose headquarters is hosted in the same Ecumenical Centre as the World Council of Churches in Geneva, accomplished extraordinary ecumenical work on the European level. CEC started its work in a politically and ideologically divided Europe and has significantly contributed to the unification of this continent. Every one of us knows and appreciate CEC`s work on theological and ecumenical dialogue between the European churches, as well as on the relations of the member churches with the society and European Institutions, on migrants and refugees, on inter-religious dialogue, on diakonia and on many other aspects of the churches’ mission. I am glad to underline here that WCC and CEC have worked very well together from the very beginning and I express here my hope, availability and guarantee that we will strengthen and deepen our collaboration.

Following the message of the Third European Ecumenical Assembly, which was organized by CEC and Council of European Bishops Conferences (CCEE) two years before in Sibiu, Romania, where I had the honor to participate, and having in mind the theme of the present 13th CEC Assembly – Called to One Hope in Christ – I would clearly express my strong hope that within this Assembly, assisted by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, we can all worship and offer hope and vision for ecumenism in Europe, especially in this time of many new and complex challenges we are facing. I am also convinced that your hope and vision for ecumenism in Europe will inspire us in our ecumenical effort worldwide.

May the Triune God we all witness and worship, bless your assembly!

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General secretary
World Council of Churches