Conference of European Churches

Conference of European Churches

The Conference of European Churches (CEC) was founded in 1959 to promote reconciliation, dialogue and friendship between the churches of Europe at a time of growing Cold War political tensions and divisions. It is an ecumenical fellowship of Christian churches in Europe; its membership consists of most of Europe's mainstream Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches. In 2005, CEC had 125 member churches. A major project, completed in 2001, was the production of the Charta Oecumenica of Europe's churches.



The most recent CEC assemblies were held at Graz, Austria in (1997), Trondheim, Norway in (2003) and Lyon, France in 2009.

The Third European Ecumenical Assembly (co-organised by CEC and CCEE) was held in Sibiu, Romania, 4–9 September 2007.[1]

CEC assemblies take place once every six years. The 4th CEC assembly (1964) had to be held on a ship on the Baltic Sea owing to the difficulties of obtaining visas for delegates from eastern European countries. Between assemblies, CEC is governed by a Central Committee meeting annually. Recent meetings have taken place in Geneva (2003), Prague (2004), Crete (2005) and Derry (2006).

The President of CEC (2003-2009) is the Rev Jean Arnold de Clermont (Reformed Church of France). As of July 2010 the post of General Secretary is vacant; the former General Secretary (2005-2010) was the Venerable Colin Williams, formerly Archdeacon of Lancaster in the Church of England. He succeeded the Rev Dr Keith Clements.

There are a number of associated national councils of churches and it is affiliated with the World Council of Churches (WCC). The CEC General Secretariat and the Churches in Dialogue Commission is located in the Ecumenical Centre, Geneva, Switzerland - which is also the headquarters building of the World Council of Churches. Discussions about the Brussels-based Churches Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) becoming a Commission of CEC are ongoing.

Church and Society Commission

In 1999 the European Ecumenical Commission on Church and Society (EECCS) merged with CEC, becoming CEC's Church and Society Commission. The Church and Society Commission's secretariat is located in offices in Brussels, Belgium and Strasbourg, France. The Director of the Church and Society Commission (since 2002) is the Revd Rüdiger Noll. Recent annual plenary meetings of the Church and Society Commission have been held in El Escorial, Spain (2003), Wavre, Belgium (2004), Dunblane, Scotland (2005), Sigtuna, Sweden (2006), Etchmiadzin, Armenia (2007), Prague, Czech Republic (2008) and Nyborg, Denmark (2009).

Churches in Dialogue Commission

Based in Geneva, the staff member in charge is the Revd Professor Father Viorel Ionita, of the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Past CEC Assemblies

  • I. 1959 Nyborg, Denmark: "European Christianity in Today’s Secularised World"
  • II. 1960 Nyborg, Denmark: "The Service of the Church in a Changing World"
  • III. 1962 Nyborg, Denmark: "The Church in Europe and the Crisis of Modern Man"
  • IV. 1964 Baltic Sea, on board the M.V. Bornholm: "Living Together as Continents and Generations"
  • V. 1967 Pörtschach, Austria: "To Serve and Reconcile: the Task of the European Churches Today"
  • VI. 1971 Nyborg, Denmark: "Servants of God, Servants of Men"
  • VII. 1974 Engelberg, Switzerland: "Act on the Message - Unity in Christ and Peace in the World"
  • VIII. 1979 Chania, Crete, Greece: "Alive to the World in the Power of the Holy Spirit"
  • IX. 1986 Stirling, Scotland: "Glory to God and Peace on Earth"
  • X. 1992 Prague, then Czechoslovakia (now in Czech Republic): "God Unites - in Christ a New Creation"
  • XI. 1997 Graz, Austria: "Reconciliation, Gift of God and Source of New Life"
  • XII. 2003 Trondheim, Norway: Jesus Christ Heals and Reconciles: Our Witness in Europe"
  • XIII. 2009 Lyon, France

Governing bodies

The 12th CEC Assembly of the Conference of European Churches (Trondheim, 2003) elected the 40-member Central Committee. This Committee, according to the CEC Constitution, is "empowered to conduct the business of the Conference when the Assembly is not meeting". (art. 6.1)[1]

Relations with the Roman Catholic Church

The largest Christian body, the Roman Catholic Church, is not a member of the CEC for the same reasons that it abstains from officially participating in the World Council of Churches, which is that such organizations do not recognize any kind of Roman Catholic primacy in the governance of the universal Church. [2]


  1. ^ Source about governing bodies: CEC official site - CEC/KEK GOVERNING BODIES.
  2. ^ APIC article

See also

  • Churches European Rural Network
  • World Council of Churches
  • Literature about EECCS and its fusion with CEC: Hans-Ulrich Reuter, Die Europäische Ökumenische Kommission für Kirche und Gesellschaft (EECCS) als Beispiel für das Engagement des Protestantismus auf europäischer Ebene; PhD-thesis University of Hannover; abstract in English included; Stuttgart, Hannover: ibidem-Verlag, 2002; ISBN 3-89821-218-1

External links

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