TOGETHER FOR EUROPE /PressOffice •
“Five hundred years of separation are enough – unity is possible!” With this slogan the ecumenical network “Together for Europe” is issuing an invitation to the next international gathering, this time in the capital city of Bavaria.
The Congress and Rally are supported by representatives in the political field and many Church leaders, among them Cardinal Kurt Koch from Rome, Bishop Otfried July of the Lutheran World Federation, the Rumanian Orthodox Metropolitan Serafim Joanta, the general secretary of the World Council of Churches Olaf Fyske Tveit, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, and the lutheran bishop of Bavaria Heinrich Bedford-Strohm.
The central aim of the event is to offer a clear and public sign of reconciliation and unity among Christians at a time of crisis and inner fragmentation on the continent of Europe.
Congress of Collaborators in the Circus Krone building
2.400 guests from many European countries are coming to a Congress of Collaborators from 30 June to 1 July 2016 in the Circus Krone building: From the Catholic Schoenstatt Movement and the socially and politically active Community of Sant’Egidio, to many CVJM communities, the Focolare Movement, the Orthodox community “Fraternité orthodoxe en Europe occidentale”, and the Free Christian Youth Community in Luedenscheid – the spectrum of committed Christians covers an unusually broad basis. The subject matter of 19 Forums covers, among other things, integration and reconciliation, solidarity with those in need, or Christian commitment in border zones. On Friday, 1 July, interested citizens of Munich are welcome to attend the 17 open podium discussions. Representatives from the political and church fields will enter into dialogue with Christians of various confessions: on solidarity between the generations with the German Minister of State, Emilia Mueller, on sustainable development and climate protection with the former Environment Minister and executive director of the UN ecological programme, Klaus Toepfer, or on the importance of the Christian roots of Europe with Cardinal Reinhard Marx and the New Zealander Jeff Fountain, Free Church leader of the Schuman Centre in the Netherlands.
Rally at Stachus
On 2 July the organisers invite everyone to a large rally at a central square in Munich: the Stachus. The programme includes contributions from the leaders of Christian communities from various European countries, Bishops, youth, music bands, and will be broadcast via Livestream in the internet. Gérard Testard, French representative of the international steering committee of “Together for Europe”, is looking forward to the days in Munich: “We have experienced that unity in cultural diversity is possible. As Christians belonging to Churches that have until now been estranged, we have undertaken important steps towards reconciliation, and now invite everyone to take part in a further, visible sign of hope in Munich. Just at the moment, when Europe is drifting apart over some important questions, we want to unite and stand up for solidarity and peace, and bear witness to our uniting Christian foundation.”
The initiative, “Together for Europe”, is an international network of more than three hundred Christian Movements and communities throughout Europe. It started in 1999 and unites Evangelical, Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox Christians, as well as members of the Free Churches and new groupings. Seventy communities form the core circle of supporters of “Together for Europe”.