Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) has sent us the following statement issued by their partner organisation Faith in Europe for today, Europe Day. A hundred years ago you could have driven your primitive motorcar from Brussels to Brindisi or Leipzig to Lisbon without an official asking who you were. Fifty years ago, after two devastating wars, you couldn't. Now you can. You don't even have to change your money on the way. What has this to do with 'Faith in Europe'? Our faith tells us that the teachings of the traditional religions, culminating, as we see it, in those of Jesus Christ, have done much to build up the trust and relationships which now link European countries and their peoples. Our witness depends on seeing all humankind as children of God. We therefore welcome and value the Council of Europe's European Convention on Human Rights, and its Court which can make up for national deficiencies. We welcome the European Union's Charter of Fundamental Rights which follows the earlier document closely - we have no treaty to give it statutory force, but the European Court of Justice (in Luxembourg) uses it as a point of reference. And of course we welcome the UK Human Rights Act. We also acknowledge with gratitude the initiatives of Jacques Delors and other former European Commission leaders under the title 'Giving a Soul to Europe'. As the Book of Proverbs says, where there is no vision the people perish. As church people celebrating Europe Day, we are now looking forward to the Third European Ecumenical Assembly which takes place at Sibiu in Romania from 4-8 September this year. Its theme is The Light of Christ shines upon all. Hope for renewal and unity in Europe. The choice of place, made some time ago, is inspirational in honouring a new member state of the European Union, and also the churches which coexist within its boundaries. Our churches as institutions, like the political institutions of Europe, have sometimes departed from the ideals of their Founder and of the founding fathers that followed Him. Our task today is to support each other in service, in prayer and in hope, and to remind our fellow-citizens that we can celebrate both differences and a common calling. For more information see: www.faithineurope.org.uk
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