The 13th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) is meeting in the historic city of Lyon in France. Four hundred and fifty Christians from all sorts of persuasions, excluding the Catholics, are gathered under the theme of “hope”.
Various pressure-groups want to meet in the framework of CEC. The Orthodox have asked for a meeting, the German Lutherans are pressing for a complete restructuring of CEC, and what are the small community of Baptists supposed to do ?
Well, at least we managed a lunchtime meeting – Germans, Georgians, Italians, Danes, Brits and the EBF. For many years, going back to the 11th Assembly in Graz in 1997, Baptists have been without a place on the CEC Central Committee. The big churches – Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican and Orthodox – guard most places with fierce determination. The Lutheran-Reformed link up in CPCE (Community of Protestant Churches in Europe) have invited Baptists along to a “Protestant” meeting and we will go to stake the claim of minority non-Orthodox churches, but really there seems to be a conspiracy not to include but to exclude. So, the Baptist caucus is working hard to right the injustice of the last 12 years and get someone onto the Central committee. Eduardo, from a migrant church in Italy, is our “best chance” candidate – there has been much talk at this Assembly about the importance of not forgetting southern Europe and about involving migrant churches.
How will this Assembly act ? In 1997 the Anglican Bishop of London marshaled his forces to defeat the small evangelical free churches of North-West Europe get a place on the Central committee. Will this fresh attempt from the south work? We will keep you posted!
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