“Peace work in Europe is an ongoing mission”

The Council of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe CPCE has issued a statement commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. Press release of the CPCE.
CC/Wikimedia Commons/Lx 121

The Council of the CPCE has issued a statement commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, in which its thoughts are primarily for the victims of this “great seminal catastrophe”. The war claimed millions of victims – all the soldiers and civilians who were killed or saw their lives destroyed. The scale of the horror of this war is unspeakable, which leads the CPCE to call for one minute’s silence to mark remembrance throughout Europe on 1st August 2014 at 12 noon (CET).

At the same time, the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe also reflects critically upon the role of Protestant churches and theologians at that time and observes that “God and war were accorded a positive relationship”. The outbreak of war was predominantly welcomed and the attempt was made to legitimise entry into war by proclaiming it a “just war” in theological terms. The voices that called for peace went unheard. The meaning of the war for the individual countries of Europe varies considerably, but the repercussions are felt to this day and certain conflicts remain as yet still unresolved. The remembrance year 2014 offers the chance for churches and societies to forge paths of shared remembrance, to recount and listen to one another, and in so doing assist the process of reconciliation.

The Council of the CPCE took the opportunity at its meeting in Copenhagen to voice its dismay at the continuing participation of European countries in violent conflict. The Community of Protestant Churches in Europe, which embraces near to 50 million Protestants, practises unity in reconciled diversity and holds fast to the promise and charge of the Gospel (Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers”). As the Council of the CPCE observed in its statement, “Peace work in Europe is an ongoing mission”.

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At present 94 Protestant churches in Europe (including five South-American churches originating from Europe) belong to the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE). Lutheran, Reformed, United and Methodist along with pre-Reformation churches such as Hussites and Czech Brethren grant each other pulpit and table fellowship on the basis of the Leuenberg Agreement of 1973. The Secretariat is housed in the Severin-Schreiber-Gasse 3, A-1180 Vienna, office@leuenberg.eu, tel. +43.1.4791523.900, fax .110 The CPCE press officer is Mag. Ingrid Monjencs (Vienna), tel. +43.699.18878052, i.monjencs@leuenberg.eu.

Author: 
Community of Protestant Churches in Europe CPCE