Ecumenical News International

Conference of European Churches moves to Brussels by December

September 11, 2014

Geneva (epd). The Conference of European Churches (CEC) wants to complete the relocation of its registered office from Geneva to Brussels by the end of the year, general secretary Guy Liagre told the Protestant press agency (epd) on Thursday in Geneva. It will then be able to pool its forces as planned at the headquarters of the EU institutions and ensure better cooperation between the different areas of work. Liagre, who is Belgian, has been general secretary of the conference since 2012. The president is the retired Anglican bishop Christopher Hill.

CEC, whose members are 120 Anglican, Protestant, Old Catholic and Orthodox churches, is already represented in Brussels with two commissions. Liagre said that CEC was hoping to save costs through concentrating its organization in the Belgian capital. Geneva is regarded as one of the most expensive cities in the world. At the beginning of this year the World Communion of Reformed Churches left Geneva for reasons of costs and moved to Hanover, Germany.

According to Liagre, the new 20-person Governing Board is to constitute itself on 4 December under Belgian law. Besides the relocation, the General Assembly in 2013 decided to dissolve the longstanding Central Committee with its approximately 40 members. Streamlining is part of a package of reforms adopted by the member churches. The main aim is for CEC to be given a greater hearing in Europe.

On the urgent recommendation of Orthodox delegates, the new constitution stipulates that there is a quota of 25 percent in CEC bodies for the Orthodox member churches. The Russian Orthodox Church has suspended its membership since 2008. Liagre said that the move to Brussels would not further prejudice the relationship with the Russians. The Assembly also resolved that it would keep up its office in Strasbourg office, at the seat of the Council of Europe.



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