Dear members of Oikosnet Europe, dear friends!

“But now that these days are evil, it is enough for the moment to remind you not to devote yourself entirely and not always to your activities, but to save a part of your person, your heart and your time for appreciation.”

Bernard of Clairvaux (c. 1090 – 1153), French Cistercian abbot and theologian

In these times, it is good to heed the words of St Bernard of Clairvaux. It is important to set aside “a part of your person, your heart and your time” for grateful and humble appreciation of what has been given to me, what has been given to us.

When I think back to the Annual General Meeting in Basel at the beginning of October, we made room for both. The conference was characterised by a wide range of activities and challenges, of which the discussion on the study day about artificial intelligence and its impact on our humanity was just one, which we are only at the beginning of. With its Action Plan, the Board has presented a whole package of measures that will keep us busy over the coming months and years. The goal, however, is not more activities and certainly not activism, but that we as a European network make our possible contribution to overcoming crises, hostility, social exclusion and the exploitation of our planet and its livelihoods.

On the other hand, there was also room for appreciation and diverse encounters. As President of Oikosnet Europe and at the same time of Plusbildung Switzerland, I greatly appreciated the interaction in the Mission House in Basel with its global horizon. In addition, the meeting with EAEE, the European Protestant and Anglican Network for Lifelong Learning, which also held its study tour in Basel as a guest of Plusbildung at the same time and with many programme overlaps.

Both activities and grateful appreciation will be discussed further in this newsletter. For the moment, here is just a reference to a letter I wrote to the members a few days ago with the call to delegate people to a working group: Call for delegates

At the beginning of this new church year and at the end of 2023, it is important for me to thank all those who are committed to the common cause – in the broadest sense: peace and reconciliation – in Oikosnet Europe and in their respective places. The words of St Bernard of Clairvaux are also meant for you. I hope that you, who have to devote yourselves to so many activities, will find the space and strength to set aside a part of yourselves, your hearts and your time for appreciation.

With the best wishes for a Merry Christmas,

Rev. Walter Lüssi, President of Oikosnet Europe

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