THE ANNUAL MEETING of the Joint Committee of the Conference of European Churches (CCEE) and the Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CEC) was held in London at the Royal Foundation of St Katharine last week.
It was the first meeting of the CCEE-CEC Joint Committee since the European Ecumenical Assembly was held in Sibiu, Romania, in September 2007. Evaluating the last meeting was at the centre of the London assembly.
The President of CEC, Rev Jean-Arnold de Clermont, said that the ecumenical movement was posed with three challenges: globalisation, which urges us to "enlarge the ecumenical awareness of the members of our churches", growing secularisation of Europe and the need to rethink the structures of ecumenical cooperation between the Churches in Europe.
The Vice-President of CCEE, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, focused on four priorities: the need to be increasingly clear on the objectives of the ecumenical engagement, enlarging the experience of ecumenical fellowship, to be more present where "the humanity of the human being" is at stake; and to develop a spiritual ecumenism.
The need to reflect on the reconfiguration of the ecumenical movement in Europe emerged as a concern.
Members examined and approved the working programme of the CCEECEC committee for relations with Muslims in Europe. This includes a European Christian/Muslim conference, which will be held in Malines, Belgium, in October. The proposed theme for the conference will be "Being a citizen of Europe and a person of faith. Christians and Muslims as active partners in European societies."
The dialogue with Islam and other faiths was at the heart of the visit to St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.
The centre is located in an ancient Anglican church which was destroyed by an IRA bomb in 1993 and later rebuilt as a space for experimental encounter between faiths.
Receptions for the Joint Committee members were given by Sion College, an ancient institution of the Anglican clergy, by Cardinal Connac Murphy-O'Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, and the Anglican Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, who hosted the meeting.
The delegates participated in Vespers at Westminster Cathedral and took part in choral Evensong at St Paul's Cathedral.