23nd – 25th of February Liebrauenberg / France
As announced in the last Newsletter the Eastern and Central Europe Consulting will take place from Tuesday the 23rd to Thursday the 25th February at the Liebfrauenberg in France.
The preparation team with Sören Lenz, Rüdiger Noll and Jiri Silny are in contact with all our members in Central and Eastern Europe. The aim of this consultation is reactivation and motivation of our members in Central and Eastern Europe (including our Greek members) as well as to encourage ecumenical dialogue and exchange.
This meeting is not exclusively and Western member centres are welcome to take part in this consulting (one or two day participation is possible).
The programme will be organised in consideration of the issues and themes proposed by the participants and will be completed by key note speakers.
The consulting will start on Tuesday with lunch and end on Thursday afternoon, the details will be given several weeks before.
For more details and practical information please contact Sören Lenz email@example.com.
Common Concern for Oikosnet Members?
Much has happened since Gerhard Robbers (available in many languages) and Wolfgang Lienemann/Hans Richard Reuter published their standard works about a decade ago on church-state relations in member states of the EU and of the Council of Europe. Their guiding question was not only the legal framework, but also the space given to religions to be present and visible in public and to contribute to the common good. Since then, there is a much bigger religious plurality in many European countries and, due to many reasons, there are serious attempts to relegate religion from the public more to the private sphere. It is probably right to say, in many circles religion is seen more as being part of the problem than being part of the solution.
No wonder, therefore, that recently many sociologists have started to re-analyse and to re-describe the role of religion in public in different European countries. The Religare Project (www.religareproject.eu), sponsored by the EU, in 2013 comes to the conclusion, that the EU should play “a more direct and active role … in developing a coherent policy framework that would strengthen the combat in Europe against discrimination on the basis of religion or belief in a way that is compatible with a democratic understanding of the functioning of pluralist democracies …”.
Inspired by the consultation and process on “The Role of Religion for Cultural Identity, Democracy and Peace”, to which the Sigtuna Foundation had invited Oikosnet to take an active part, the idea has grown to invite to a Europe-wide discussion forum, possibly leading to some consultations or a common project among Oikosnet members.
Guiding questions could be:
– What is the role of religions in the different European countries?
– How do religions accompany and influence societal developments and transition processes?
– What is the role of “Europe” in influencing national relations between state, society and religion?
If you are interested, please, contact Sabine Federmann at the Villigst Institute for Church and Society (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Possibility for Oikosnet members to become a part of the World Exhibition
Preparations for the 500th Reformation Anniversary in 2017 are in full swing. The Anniversary 2017 relates to the publication of Luthers’ 95 thesis in Wittenberg in 1517. However, the Protestant Church(es) in Germany is/are quite aware that the Reformation in the 16th century was a development with a European, if not global dimension, with, for instance, antecendents in the Hussite or Waldensian Church.
As Friedrich Kramer, the Director of the Protestant Academy in Wittenberg/Germany , explained at the last Annual Conference of Oikosnet Europe, in 2017, from March to September/October, the Academy in Wittenberg will become part of the World Exhibition at the occasion of the Reformation Anniversary. This will open possibilities for the German Academies as well as for Oikosnet Europe members to participate in the programme, to contribute to the programme and to jointly present themselves. Oikosnet members, who are interested in participating are invited to get in touch with the Protestant Academy in Wittenberg email@example.com or with the Oikosnet Executive Secretary.
The Orthodox Academy of Crete (OAC), is continuing the work of its Founders as well as underlining the manifold actions of HAH, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I, for the ecumenical protection of nature as an indication of the respect towards the Divine Creation and human beings as image of God, installed photovoltaic (PV) panels of 8kW with the kind and substantial support of OIKOSnet.
The aim of this endeavour is to protect the natural environment and prove also that the production of the building’s necessary energy can be reached by taking advantage of sustainable technologies, stressing the respect for the natural resources. It is the first important step for the OAC to significant reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and become eventually a net zero energy facility, as a good practice example for the local society and a paradigm for achieving an environmental friendly future.
The official announcement the OAC’s PV project was made at the Scientific Conference organized by OAC’s Institute of Theology and Ecology on November 14th and 15th concerning energy autonomous islands and communities, which use up to 100% renewable energy sources (RES) with distinguished speakers from all over Europe.
Both the PV development and the RES Conference are scheduled in order to convince with real life examples the community of Crete and Greece in general that the production of energy should be done with respect to the future generations and to strengthen the idea that more citizens should get involved in this vision.
This is the reason why OAC is also making methodical efforts to establish the first Co-operative energy association of Crete. This initiative of the OAC is an invitation to all the citizens of Crete as well as all the faithful of the Church of Crete, to embrace the key point of Crete as a place well supplied with energy, for the RES constitute the chance for a collective development of Crete, for the common interest of all the people, as OAC’s duty for the next generations.