Conference of European Churches
in English-speaking world
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship bringing together 114 churches from Orthodox, Protestant and Anglican traditions from all over Europe for dialogue, advocacy and joint action.
CEC works to strengthen common witness, act in service to Europe and the world, promote peace, and work for the unity of the Church.
A network of National Councils of Churches keeps CEC connected to national and regional concerns and Organisations in Partnership develop our expertise in a number of areas, including diaconia, migration and refugee issues, and women and youth in the churches.
The Conference of European Churches emerged as a peacebuilding effort in 1959, building bridges between the East and the West during the Cold War. This original mission carries us forward today as we continue to work for a humane, social and sustainable Europe at peace with itself and its neighbours.
Every five years CEC Assembly meets to make decisions for the future of the Conference of European Churches, and set the direction for its programmatic work. The Assembly brings together delegates appointed by Member Churches as well as representatives of Organisations in Partnership, National Councils of Churches, and other associated organisations.
- 1959 Nyborg, Denmark: “European Christianity in Todays Secularized World”
- 1960 Nyborg, Denmark: “The Service of the Church in a Changing World”
- 1962 Nyborg, Denmark: “The Church in Europe and the Crisis of Modern Man”
- 1964 M.V. Bornholm (at sea): “Living Together as Continents and Generations”
- 1967 Pörtschach, Austria: “To Serve and Reconcile: the Task of the European Churches Today”
- 1971 Nyborg, Denmark: “Servants of God, Servants of Men”
- 1974 Engelberg, Switzerland: “Act on the Message – Unity in Christ and Peace in the World”
- 1979 Chania, Crete: “Alive to the World in the Power of the Holy Spirit”
- 1986 Stirling, Scotland: “Glory to God and Peace on Earth”
- 1992 Prague, former CSFR: “God Unites – in Christ a New Creation”
- 1997 Graz, Austria: “Reconciliation, Gift of God and Source of New Life”
- 2003 Trondheim, Norway: “Jesus Christ Heals and Reconciles: Our Witness in Europe”
- 2009 Lyon, France: “Called to One Hope in Christ”
- 2013 Budapest, Hungary: “And now what are you waiting for?: CEC and its Mission in a changing Europe”
- 2018 Novi Sad, Serbia: “You shall be my witnesses“
Until 2013, the CEC was governed by an annual Central Committee meeting between assemblies. The 12th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches (Trondheim, 2003) elected the 40-member Committee. This Committee, according to the CEC Constitution, was "empowered to conduct the business of the Conference when the Assembly is not meeting". At the 14th CEC Assembly (Budapest 2013) the Central Committee was replaced by a 20-member Governing Board. The Governing Board meets twice annually to oversee the implementation of the decisions of the Assembly. (art. 6.1) Recent meetings of the Central Committee took place in Geneva (2003), Prague (2004), Crete (2005), Derry (2006) and Crete (2012).
The 20-member Governing Board of the Conference of European Churches meets twice annually to oversee the implementation of the decisions of the Assembly.
In June, the 2018 Novi Sad General Assembly of the Conference of European Churches elected a new presidency. Rev. Christian Krieger of the Reformed Protestant Church of Alsace and Lorraine was elected president, and as vice-presidents the Rt Rev. Dr Gulnar Francis-Dehqani of the Church of England and Metropolitan Cleopas Strongylis of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
CEC has offices in Brussels and Strasbourg.
CEC headquarters since 2014 are based in Brussels, Belgium - formerly the offices used by the Church and Society Commission of the CEC. The CEC General Secretariat and the (former) Churches in Dialogue Commission were previously located in the Ecumenical Centre, Geneva, Switzerland - which remains also the headquarters of the World Council of Churches.
The General Secretary is Fr. Heikki Huttunen, from the Orthodox Church of Finland. He succeeded Rev. Dr Guy Liagre, formerly President of the United Protestant Church in Belgium and Rev. Prof. Dr Viorel Ionita who served as Interim General Secretary from 2010. 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.
By 2014 the two former Commissions of the CEC were fully integrated into the core work of the CEC.
Church and Society Commission
In 1999 the European Ecumenical Commission on Church and Society (EECCS) merged with the CEC, becoming the CEC's Church and Society Commission. The Church and Society Commission's secretariat was located in offices in Brussels, Belgium and Strasbourg, France. The Director of the Church and Society Commission from 2002 until 2013 was the Rev. 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). Following the 14th CEC Assembly in Budapest in 2013 the programmes of the Church and Society Commission were integrated fully into the work of the CEC, a move completed in 2014.
Churches in Dialogue Commission
Based in Geneva, the staff member in charge was until July 2012, Rev. Professor Father Viorel Ionita, of the Romanian Orthodox Church. The new General Secretary of the CEC, Rev. Dr Guy Liagre succeeded him from 2012. From 2013 the work of the Churches in Dialogue Commission has been fully integrated in the work on ecumenical relations led by the CEC General Secretary.
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.