CEC´s Church and Society Commission to meet in Brussels
The “Culture and Contents of the dialogue between the churches and the European Institutions” is the main theme of this year´s Plenary meeting of the CSC of CEC taking place in Brussels from 25-28 May. In the Lisbon Treaty, the European Union Institutions commit themselves to an “open, transparent and regular dialogue” with the churches as well as with the communities of faith and conviction. “For us, this article in the European Treaty is not first and foremost about establishing new structures, it is about developing a culture of dialogue on issues of common concern,” says Rüdiger Noll, Director of the Church and Society Commission. “How can we engage in a real dialogue as a give and take? How can we identify the right level on which the churches and the communities of faith and conviction can make a positive contribution towards the common good? These are the type of questions, which we want to address in the meeting”, he added.
Many churches in Europe have a long-standing experience in a fruitful dialogue with political institutions. The churches see themselves and act as advocates for the common good from a faith-based perspective, rather than as lobbyists of their own interests. “Churches represent a large segment of the European society, but they do not only represent faith convictions and values, they also make substantial contributions to several sectors of public life”, says the moderator of the CSC of CEC, Rev. Serge Fornerod. Drawing on these experiences, the Church and Society Commission will enter in a common reflection on the future of the dialogue on the European level with representatives of the European Parliament, the European Commission and the newly established European External Action Service.
“In testing the dialogue, we cannot but address the present financial and economic crisis in Europe and globally,” Rev Serge Fornerod emphasises. “Large sectors of our societies are affected by the consequences of the crisis and the poor and socially-marginalised people are the most hit and the first affected. We, therefore, want to propose to the European Institutions examples of what the churches have to offer to overcome the crisis and to strive for more just, sustainable and participatory societies.”