Basic Affirmations, Commitments, Recommendations and Future Perspectives - Looking ahead to the continuation of the ecumenical

92.  The European Ecumenical Assembly PEACE WITH JUSTICE has been a unique event. While the four joint consultations between the CCEE and the CEC have prepared  the ground, and while similar meetings have taken place in many European countries and in other regions, this Assembly was without precedent.

93. The final document reflects both the encouragement and the uncertainties which we experienced during this week of intensive encounters. We have reached a consensus on certain points. We also discovered areas of common concern; and we have identified open questions, particularly regarding basic issues of social ethics.

94. The results of our common work certainly do not match the magnitude of the challenge before us and they may not live up to the expectations which many have had for this Assembly. Yet we present them to our churches with the confidence that they reflect honestly our common witness on justice, peace and the integrity of creation at this stage.

95. Moreover, we as representatives of the European churches have entered into a number of firm commitments. Therefore, we are convinced that the work done by this Assembly has to be continued. In fact, we have stated that the European Ecumenical Assembly is part of a process and not only a one-time event. What happens after Basel will be of utmost importance. We ask the churches and Christians of Europe to enter into a process of reception. The living witness of churches, congregations and parishes, as well as individual Christians in their daily life will show the real impact of our Assembly. This final document, having been formulated on the European level, inevitably remains somewhat general, and local churches will want to render more concrete analysis and spell out the commitments for action.

96. We have tried to envisage the continuation of the ecumenical process and want to offer some suggestions. Thus, at the local level, within and between our churches, small ecumenical groups might use this document to identify their own priorities for study and action. Partnerships could be established or strengthened between parishes or ecumenical groups in various parts of Europe, as well as in countries in the Southern hemisphere to encourage one another in this process.

97. Further, it has been suggested that an annual ecumenical week for justice, peace and the integrity of creation might be initiated building on and integrating the various models already existing. This could become a focus for the continuing process among the groups and networks which have organised the Workshop for the Future of Europe accompanying our Assembly. The model of ecumenical team visits might prove helpful to stimulate churches and Christians to learn from one another's experiences in the process.

98. Finally, we turn to the CCEE and the CEC as the sponsoring bodies of this Assembly. Trusting that they are prepared to continue their engagement in the ecumenical process in Europe, we request them to give serious consideration through this joint committee and their governing bodies, to the following proposals:  

  • To form a working group to encourage and evaluate the continuing process of this Assembly, and to engage in sustained reflection on the social ethical challenges which have surfaced during our discussions.
  • To look into the possibility of convening a further major European meeting in about five years time in order to provide a focus for the process and to strengthen the sense of mutual accountability.

99.  We started this Assembly on Pentecost, the time of the arrival of the Holy Spirit. In the opening of this text we said: We are assembled here to examine together, what the Holy Spirit tells the churches today. At the end of this document we want to affirm that the ecumenical process for justice, peace and the integrity of creation is first of all the work of the Holy Spirit. In union with the Spirit we can continue and engage ourselves with joy and courage. We believe that this Holy Spirit is the deepest source of life, justice, peace and integrity of creation.

100. We pray for God's blessing upon our efforts. We pray that God's will shall be done 'on earth as it is in heaven' (Mt. 6.10). To conclude we join in the words of the Prayer for Peace, and commend its use to all churches and Christians in Europe:

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we try not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand: to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

We pray:
Lord, make us instruments of your justice
Make us instruments of your peace
Make us instruments for the renewal of your creation.

© 2001 by Ulrich Schmitthenner • Bildschirm-Version