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Left to right, Olav Fykse Tveit with Heikki Huttunen. Photo: Christian Council of Finland

Left to right, Olav Fykse Tveit with Heikki Huttunen. Photo: Christian Council of Finland

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The newly appointed general secretary of the Conference of European Churches (CEC), Fr Heikki Huttunen, received congratulations from Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC). With vast experience in ecumenical relations and engagement with the WCC, Huttunen comes from the Orthodox Church of Finland.

CEC, a regional ecumenical organization with member churches in Europe, announced on 12 October that Huttunen will be replacing Rev. Dr Guy Liagre, who held the position from June 2012, serving CEC while the organization moved its offices from Geneva to Brussels.

Huttunen worked with the Finnish Ecumenical Council as its general secretary from 2006 to 2015, serving also as director of the youth sub-unit of the WCC from 1985 to 1989. Huttunen was a member of the WCC Central Committee from 2006 to 2013 and represented his church at the last four WCC general assemblies.

“I am very happy to see one of my former colleagues, Fr Heikki Huttunen, taking up the position as general secretary of the CEC,” said Tveit. “We have both been serving as ecumenical officers in our churches for many years. I know from that time that Fr Huttunen has many gifts to contribute to the ecumenical movement and to the CEC.”

“You are an ecumenist of remarkable dedication and experience,” Tveit said in a congratulatory letter sent to Huttunen on 13 October. “I am delighted to have you as a colleague in the work for unity to which we are called to in Christ.”

The WCC and CEC serve many common member churches within Europe.

“The refugee crisis unfolding in Europe is but one example of why the call to common witness and service is vital for our churches,” said Tveit. “The Unity statement adopted at the WCC Busan Assembly emphasizes that the unity of the church cannot be considered separately from the unity of humanity and all of creation.”

Huttunen holds a master’s degree in theology from the University of Helsinki, and has studied Orthodox Canon Law, Finnish church legislation and systematic theology.

Fr Heikki Huttunen named CEC general secretary (CEC press release of 12 October 2015)

WCC general secretary’s congratulatory message for CEC’s new general secretary