The 2006 European Evangelical Alliance and European Evangelical Missionary Alliance General Assemblies and EEA Youth Forum kicked off on Tuesday evening with an opening address by the European Union’s Polish Commissioner, Dr. Danuta Hübner, who encouraged attendants to engage in the dialogue about the future of Europe.
“The responsibility and the future of Europe is our common responsibility,” said Dr. Hübner, the Commissioner responsible for Regional Policy.
Throughout her speech, Dr. Hübner emphasized the importance of the EU as an institution and the critical need for Christians to become involved in the dialogue about a united Europe.
“The European Union has become too far away from the people,” the Commissioner said. “We must work closely with local people to understand where we are as a community.”
Dr. Hübner strongly underlined the common thread of values that unites the countries and peoples of Europe.
“Values is what keeps us together and binds us, she said, referring to the values of “liberty, democracy, fundamental freedoms, and solidarity.”
According to Tove Vidabeck, the Brussels representative of the EEA, Dr. Hübner’s speech was relevant to the Evangelical community because European values stand parallel to Christian values.
“As Dr Huebner spoke about the kind of Europe we aspire to, in which the economy, social welfare and environment are all deeply important she is talking about Christian values,” said Vidabeck. “Christian values underscore many of the things we all aspire to in Europe.”
Gordon Showell-Rogers, General Director of the EEA, thanked Dr. Hübner for contributing from her very busy schedule to the assembly, which this year takes place in Warsaw Poland where only a few Evangelicals reside.
“We are passionate about our civic responsibilities. Dr Hübner's presence is an encouragement to us all, and especially to Poland's small evangelical community, to persevere with our civic engagement,” said Showell-Rogers.
More than 150 Evangelical leaders from 38 European countries were present at the opening night, which also featured special ‘Hope’ awards for some who have modeled the bringing of hope to Europe, a worship and prayer session, and a brief introduction to the evangelical community in Poland by the Polish Evangelical Alliance.
The event continues on Wednesday, Oct. 18, with small group bible studies, a seminar on the Missional Church, and an opening address by Showell-Rogers. Each day will also begin with Bible readings by Ajith Fernando, National Director of Youth for Christ, Sri Lanka, who will unfold the assembly’s theme: “Fanning the Flame…Rekindling Passion for Christ.”
We are excited about what we will learn from Ajith,” Showell-Rogers said. “In Europe, we are very keen to learn all that we can from brothers and sisters in the Global South, where the Christian Church is stronger than ever, and often much stronger spiritually than we are in Europe.”
The EEA and EEMA Assemblies and EEA Youth Forum run from Tuesday 17 October to Saturday 21 October. They will include small group work, designed to help with the exciting opportunities and spiritual challenges of this complex region: in the light of the wider needs of the whole world.
Photos and more updates visit: http://www.worldevangelicalalliance.com/poland2006/
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