Delegates from Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches meeting for the 13th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) have voted overwhelmingly in favour to reform the organisation.
A news release from CEC said after several hours of debate, the Assembly approved a motion which establishes a special working group to carry out a revision of CEC as a whole. It said the decision took place on the day when the Assembly was focused on vision, in the context of the Assembly theme, ‘Called to One Hope in Christ’. The revision of CEC is to include looking at its common purpose, vision, the setting of strategic goals and its structures, it said yesterday.
The statement said, the new working group will have 15 members, and will be accountable to the Central Committee of CEC. The CEC Assembly has instructed the working group to publish draft proposals by 31st December 2011, after which member churches are to be consulted. Final proposals for reform will be brought before a constitutional Assembly meeting in the summer of 2013.
The resolution was adopted by 238 votes in favour and 27 against (with six abstentions) was a composite motion following a compromise between two alternative motions from the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and a group of Nordic-Baltic Churches. A subsequent vote on a mandate for the working group was agreed by 241 to 20, with nine abstentions.
Though many Europeans say they consider themselves Christians, far fewer actually attend services.
According to a 2000 study by the Swedish-based World Values Survey shows nearly half - or more - don’t regularly attend church in several Western European countries.
A report on “Churchgoing in the UK” published by Tearfund in April 2007 shows that only 15 percent go to Church at least once a month.
Commenting on the vote the General Secretary of CEC, the Venerable Colin Williams, said: “The Assembly has voted with an overwhelming majority for this proposal. All of us at CEC will work hard to achieve this important task which has been laid before us. Together we will work to be a more effective servant in the years to come.”