Category Archives: News from Oikosnet

Welcome to the  official site of Oikosnet Europe!
Each year more than 200.000 people from all walks of life participate in about 2.000 conferences and other gatherings in our about 60 member centres in 14 European countries The OIKOSNET Europe member centres seek in their work to understand and actualise the significance of the gospel for the renewal and unity of the churches as a whole. They work at empowering the laity and they collaborate in dealing with actual social problems by dialogue. They endeavour to assist in giving guidance for necessary changes in living conditions with a commitment to social justice and integrity of creation. They contribute to making it possible for individuals and groups to share in a mature way in the organisation of society and in a peaceful order among the nations.   

Religion and liberalism

International conference, Moscow December 2019
St Andrew´s Biblical Theological Institute invites all members of Oikosnet Europe to the international conference Religion and Liberalism in Moscow Russia 11 – 14 december 2019.
Those who wish to present a paper should send a summary of 400 – 500 words by October 1, 2019 to standrews@yandrex.ru
The presentation is expected to be about 20 minutes.
You find more information about the conference at the website www.standrews.ru

Invitation and call for papers as PDF

Theology of Freedom

International Conference, Bose Italy October 2019
St Andrew´s Biblical Theological Institute, Russia, invites all members of Oikosnet Europe to the international conference Theology of Freedom in Bose Italy 22 – 26 October 2019. The Conference will be held in The Monastery of Bose, a well known spiritual and academic centre.
Call for papers
Those who wish to present a paper should send a summary ( 400 – 500 words) to St Andrews institute standrews@yandrex.ru by 15 August 2019.
(The presentation is expected to be about 20 minutes.)
You will find more information about the conference at www.standrews.ru

Conference program as PDf

Pre-invitation to the Arab-Europe Citizens´Dialogue

Cairo 14 – 18 October 2019
As an member of Oikosnet Europe we are delighted to invite you to participate in the upcoming Arab-Europe Citizens’ Dialogue Conference under the theme: Peaceful Coexistence – How can people of different faiths live peacefully together?
The primary objective of the Arab-European dialogue in the coming year is creating spaces for understanding and implementing changes to increase human rights in both regions. This focus stems from the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS) Forum strategy, which emphasis on coexistence, pluralism and inclusion – not exclusion methodologies in the religious context. The other objective is the interactions between religion, civil society, and politics; integration and participation of refugees; and production of media and images — which follow from an increased focus on human rights. By making human rights the focus of our efforts, the Forum for Intercultural Dialogue aims to bring this ever-important principle to the forefront.

Pre -invitation as PDF

The Arab-Europe Citizens’ Dialogue
The Arab-European Citizens’ Dialogue was established in 2010 at the Orthodox Academy of Crete (OAC) as an expansion of a previous Egyptian-German dialogue. The main counterparts are the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS) in Cairo, Egypt, and Oikosnet Europe, an association of faith-based educational and dialogue institutions in Europe with its office at the Sigtuna Foundation, Sweden. From 2010, there has been a series of consultations in Europe and in the Arab region. The last conference, the 6th from the initiation of this dialogue, was held at the Sigtuna Foundation, Sweden, 1-4 May 2018. We are already also planning for an event in 2020 taking place at OAC. The 2019 event of this initiative, announced in this pre-invitation, will be the 7th Dialogue
Conference, and it will be hosted by CEOSS, in Cairo, Egypt.

Dates and Times
Participants are welcome to arrive during Monday 14 October, and the first thing in the conference agenda will be a Welcome Reception on Monday evening. The formal program will start in the morning of Tuesday 15 October, and the program will end by lunchtime Thursday 17 October. There will be an optional excursion on Thursday afternoon. More information about the conference and a more detailed program will be distributed later.

Registration and Costs
This is a pre-invitation, and a proper invitation with more details on registration and costs will follow. Here, we only want to indicate the conditions for participation.
• The cost for participation, after subsidies by the conference organizers, will be app: USD 260.
• On both the Arab side and the European side, there are furthermore some possibilities for subsidies regarding travel and participation. This is handled separately by the two regions. For questions about financial support, you can contact the following persons respectively:
Arab region: Samira Luka samira.luka@ceoss.org.eg
European region: Karin Sallander karin.sallander@sigtunastiftelsen.se

Conference Organizers
The Arab-Europe Citizens’ Dialogue Conference on Peaceful Coexistence is organized jointly by the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS), Oikosnet Europe, and the Sigtuna Foundation.
Feel free to contact any of the following persons if you have general questions about theconference and/or about the conference organizers:
Arab region: Samira Luka samira.luka@ceoss.org.eg
European region: Alf Linderman alf.linderman@sigtunastiftelsen.se

Receptive Ecumenism

The Sigtuna Foundation, Sweden 22 -25 June 2020 – Save the date!

As a member of Oikosnet Europe, we encourage you to save the date for the upcoming conference Receptive Ecumenism in Sigtuna 2020. This conference will be the fifth academic conference following those held in England (2006 and 2009), in the United States (2014) and in Australia (2017).

A third way ecumenism
Those earlier conferences introduced the basic idea of receptive ecumenism, firstly within the Catholic tradition and then more broadly across a wide range of Christian traditions.
Receptive Ecumenism is a fresh ecumenical methodology emphasizing receptivity, learning, and listening. Since its inception, the concept has taken root in many diverse contexts around the globe. It is described as a third way ecumenism focusing on conversion and renewal in the search for unity among the Churches. This conference will continue the ecclesiological reparative, criticalconstructive task of ecumenical ecclesiology.

Invited speakers
Cardinal Anders Arborelius OCD, Catholic diocese of Stockholm, Sweden
Rev Dr Sofia Camnerin, Stockholm School of Theology, Sweden
Rev Dr Mathew Chandrankunnel, CMI, Ecumenical Christian Center, Bangalore, India
Rev Anthony Currer, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Rome
Rev Dr Susan Durber, United Reformed Church UK, Faith and Order Commission, WCC
Dr Sara Gehlin, Helsinki University, Finland
Rev Peter Halldorf, The Pentecostal Alliance of Independent Churches, Sweden
Most Rev Dr Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of the Church of Sweden
Rt Rev Dr Karin Johannesson, Bishop of the Diocese of Uppsala, Church of Sweden
Prof Paul D. Murray, Durham University, UK
Prof Ivana Noble, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Ms Aikaterini Pekridou, Executive Secretary for Theological Dialogue, CEC
Dr Antonia Pizzey, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane
Prof Cecil M Robeck Jr, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, USA
Prof Risto Saarinen, Helsinki University, Finland

Call for papers
Call for papers will be sent out during the first quarter of 2019.
More information will be distributed later. In the meantime, please contact Olle Kristenson. Director for Ecumenical Theology at the Christian Council of Sweden: olle.kristenson@skr.org

Summer school in Agape

Every summer, the Oikosnet member organisation Agape Centro Ecumenico organize threee international summer camps. They are run in four languages (italian english french spanish) an interpretation and translation are provided. Agape Centro Ecumenico  is an ecumenical centre situated in a mountain area in Northern Italy, a place of encounter and community life. The Centre was built after the Second World War, as a sign of reconciliation among people, it is an important point of reference in Italian Protestantism, but the aim is to fully encounter the different perspectives of faith. It is a place of education and development, theological exploration, political engagement, of acceptance and validation of differences.

Scholarship programme
With the scholarship programme Agape offers a Summer School to encourage people coming from around the world to participate to our International Camps. This scholarships can cover food and accommodation but also travel expenses. The application for the summer school in Agape will be open until April 30.

More information

Consultation on Religion and Civil Society

Plusbildung and Paulusakademie, Zurich April 29 – 30
From 29 to 30 April the Oikosnet member from Switzerland Plusbildung together with the Paulusakademie is inviting to a consultation in Zurich on “Religion and Civil Society”. The consultation is to be seen in the framework of a multi-annual project on “Strengthening Civil Society and People’s Participation in Central Europe”, in which Oikosnet is one of the stakeholders.

“The consultation in Zurich is to sharpen our eyes for the relation between religious and civil society actors. In many countries this is an issues. Often religion is seen as something suspicious in civil society. In many countries churches and religious actors do not see themselves as part of civil society and engage with it,” the organisers of the conference state. Therefore, this conference addresses these issues with Switzerland as the example to be studied. But the Swiss example is supposed to offer opportunities for participants to discuss the situation in Europe as a whole.

Invited are participants from Switzerland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Italy and Sweden, countries which will be involved in the multi-annual project. But others are also welcome! For further information please contact the Oikosnet Executive Secretary Rüdiger Noll.
noll@evangelische-akademien.de 

Help us rethink Europe together

By Walter Lüssi, president of Oikosnet Europe

Dear Colleagues, dear Members of Oikosnet Europe

Our Annual Conference took place in the Orthodoxe Academy of Crete which was founded fifty years ago. It was the right place to deal with our theme of the study day: “Europe with different eyes: The case of Greece for example”. Here Oikosnet Europe started to engage with Europe and its current problems in a new way. When I’m writing about this I’m very aware that we shall have to learn a lot in the next years. The social and political developments challenge us to make clear statements. But far beyond this: Given the fact that populism has become a new normal in Europe, we have to link our right to exist as a learning community with the question of whether we are able to find common positions based on our expertise and if we can make our voice heard.

Fifty years ago the Orthodox Academy of Crete played a pioneering role and stood from the very beginning for peace and reconciliation among churches and among people of different denominations and cultures. As a gift for the anniversary I was able to present the director of the Academy a special painting. It is a picture which says with colours and forms and with a few words only: Rethink! Rethink Europe. Help us to rethink Europe together – unlimited, making dreams true for us and for strangers. And let us create, as much as we can according to our faith, let us create not new walls, not a “Fortress Europe”, but a real community for all.

Crete was an important step towards a greater commitment which will not be one-dimensional but a joint European effort to develop a common democratic vision of our continent and to contribute to a Europe which needs again to become more human. Warmest thanks to all who has helped to make this step possible. We express our thanks to our host, the director and his staff of the Academy, to the invited experts, to the staff of Oikosnet Europe and to all participants.

Next year the Annual Conference will be held from September 11 till September 15 in the Agape Centro Ecumenico, Italy. We will have to deal again with “Europe with different eyes”, with the European civil societies and with the European dimension of other important issues like the increasing digitization of all areas of life or the field of artificial intelligence. Welcome to the two new Members of the Board of Okiosnet Europe, Kristin Gunleiksrud Raaum, Norway, as Vice President, and Karolína Silná, Czech Republic, as Treasurer. The renewed Board will involve the members active in the subject area and continue developing and strengthening the network of Oikosnet Europe.

kostas & walter

 

 

The Annual Conference in Crete

OEACmiddag

The Annual Conference of Oikosnet Europe was this year hosted by the Orthodox Academy of Crete, an academy that also celebrated it´s 50 year anniversary. As always, it was a wonderful mix of new acquaintances and reunion with old friends.

During the business meeting, two new members were elected to the board. Kristin Gunleiksrud Raaum from the Church Academies in Norway, replaced Sören Lenz from Liebfrauenberg, France as new vice President, and Karolina Silna from the Ekumenická Akademie Praha in The Czech Republic, replaced Nicola Murray from Corrymeela UK.

Two auditors, were also elected, Sara Marta Rostagno from Agape, Italy and Birgit Weinbrenner from the Evangelische Akademie Villigst. Metropolitan Ioannes Sakellariou from Greece was elected as new memeber of the Nominations Comittee and he will share this responsibility with Aleksei Bodrov, from St Andrews Theological Institute, Russia.

A variety of perspectives during the study day
Learning more about the culture and society are for many one the most appreciated parts of the Annual Conferences of Oikosnet Europe. The theme this year was Europe with different eyes – The case of Greece for example, a theme that was exemplified by lectures and presentations with different aspects on the situation in Crete and Greece. Dr Kostas Filis, Director of Research at the Institute of International Relations of Panteion University ( Athens), gave a presentation on the topic “Challenges and opportunities for the EU and the role of Greece”, followed up by a presentation by Dr Kostas Melas, Professor of Economics at Panteion University in Athens, on the concept of “creative destruction”.

A concrete example on how deep crisis could be transformed in to opportunity was presented by Despoina Mathioudaki and Tini Damianaki, two entrepreneurs who succesfully had managed to rediscover old recepies of the traditional Crete cuisine and turn them into good business. Another project that came out of the economical crisis, was presented by Thanos Paraschos, Vasillios Kottas, Sarantis Kyritsis and Heinz Kabutz, students of science at University of Crete, As a learning process in high technology they are trying to send the first Crete astronaut to space. (Not a real one, one might have to add…)
Last but not least, Heinz Kabutz, PhD in computer science, shared his story about starting up a conference business on an island like Crete in the time of crisis. His idea of having conferences without agenda was something that appealed to some of the auditors. So who knows, maybe it will tried out and explored in some upcoming event of Oikosnet Europe.

27 participants, representing 16 member organisations, took part of the conference this year, a most enjoyable stay thanks to the beautiful location and the generous hospitality of director Konstantinor Zormpas and Katerina Karkala Zormpa, head of the Conference Organisations of the OAC. We look forward to meet upp again at the Annual Conference 2019 that will be hosted by the Academy of Agape. More information will be sent out in the newsletters to come.

Minutes from the Business Meeting

OEAC18bred

 

 

 

 

Civil Society and Democracy in Central Europe

By Rüdiger Noll, Executive Secretary of Oikosnet Europe
_pvh8849
The project on strengthening civil society and deliberative democracy in Central Europe enters into its final planning stage. It is a joint project of Oikosnet Europe, the Association of Protestant Academies in Germany and the Protestant Academy in Rostock and invites academies and church-related stakeholders from Central Europe to participate.

A first stakeholder meeting took place in April 2018 in Berlin with participants from the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Sweden. The meeting reviewed the latest project description and agreed with the aims, the general direction and the set-up of the project. The potential of the project to make a difference was recognised in increasingly difficult times for democracy and peoples´ participation in Europe. Most important, however, was a reality check: which concrete steps can be taken, when civil society is discredited in some countries and the relation between church-related organisations and civil society partners is not evident (from both sides). Therefore, the discussion on target groups and driving forces in the project was crucial. The results of the stakeholder meeting will be captured in a revised project description, which will be available from noll@evangelische-akademien.de. A first funding request for the project needs to be in place by June.”

Board meeting in Strasbourg

The board of Oikosnet Europe met March 19 in the beautiful city of Strasbourg (see the picture that I took as we were walking through the city for lunch). We were hosted by Union des Eglises protestantes d’Alsace et de Lorraine (UEPAL). One of the most important items on the agenda was of course to discuss various dimensions of the Annual Conference that will take place in the Orthodox Academy of Crete.

The board that was elected in Flehingen, with Walter Lüssi as the new president, is now working on several issues related to how Oikosnet Europe can be significant and fruitful for all its members. How can we inspire more collaboration projects with the community? What themes should be advanced at this point in time? We, as members, are of course of great importance for the development of the association. If you have creative ideas, please prepare to present them at the Annual Conference in Crete!

Alf Linderman, Director of the Sigtuna Foundation