The General Assembly of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe CPCE, gathered for its 7th General Assembly in Florence from 20-26 September 2012, agreed on a statement on the situation of Christians in the Middle East.
The statement was inspired by the speech Rosangela Jarjour gave to the delegates of the 106 Protestant Churches from all over Europe.
The situation for Christians in the Middle East “has never been worse” and their future is acutely endangered, Rosangela Jarjour of the Federation of Middle East Evangelical Churches told the CPCE General Assembly, calling western Churches to “raise their prophetic voice and not simply follow their governments’ lead”.
The full CPCE General Assembly statement follows:
Statement of the General Assembly of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE) on the situation of Christians in the Middle East
“Christianity is freedom” – Philip Melanchthon’s formulation of 1521 has become a motto for Protestant churches. Wherever in the world people are striving for freedom, they can be sure of the sympathy and support of the Protestant churches. Therefore many Protestant Christians in Europe have very much welcomed the “Arab Spring” in various countries of the Middle East, because they sense in this movement the articulation of people’s justified desire for freedom.
But in recent months we, the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe, became increasingly worried by many reports from our partners in the countries of the Middle East.
Protestant Churches in Europe are connected with the churches and Christians in the Middle East in a multitude of ways.
The CPCE has an intensive partnership with the “Fellowship of the Middle East Evangelical Churches”, a federation of 17 mostly Protestant Christian churches in the region.
The member churches of the CPCE are connected with churches and Christians in the Middle East through partnerships, diaconal projects and many personal relations.
As the CPCE we observe that Christians in the Middle East share an interest in, and a striving for, the freedom of their fellow citizens of different faith. But now they are worried about the constitutional, legal and political developments in their countries, which seem to threaten their participation in society and their religious freedom.
Christians in Syria are especially deeply worried about the threat to basic human rights and security in the present civil war. As well as this they fear an impending loss of religious and cultural plurality in Syria and the loss of the principle of the participation of all groups in their society.
As the CPCE we are deeply concerned because it is often difficult to recognise in the politics of our governments a concern for the life of our Christian sisters and brothers in Syria, for their religious freedom, and for the preserving of religious and cultural diversity in Syria.
We ask the governments in Europe to strengthen their advocacy for legal certainty, full participation in society and full religious freedom for Christians and churches, as well of all other religious minorities, in the countries of the Middle East.
We ask our member churches and all Christians in Europe to inform the public about the very difficult situation of Christians in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East – so as to provide a more comprehensive picture than is available in the media.
We ask our member churches and all Christians in Europe to fully support the Christians in the Middle East, and all others who suffer there from violence, legal uncertainty and restrictions on their freedom.
We especially ask our member churches and all Christians in Europe to pray for our Christian sisters and brothers and for all people in the Middle East and to ask God to help them in their suffering and their struggle for freedom.