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Peace and justice commitments at European Christian Women Assembly

Peace was a major theme at the recent General Assembly of the Ecumenical Forum of European Christian Women (EFECW).

European AssemblyDespite the beauty of the surroundings of the Assembly venue in Tinos, Greece, delegates were very aware of conflicts past and present. Acknowledging the different roles that women played in both the First World War and the Second World War, the Assembly was keen to stress that women and women's organisations must be instruments of peace.

Indeed, the final message of the meeting encouraged women to come together to pray and work towards peace.

In all women from 27 countries gathered together in Tinos, Greece, in early August for the Assembly, which was the ninth of its kind. Anthea Sully, the EFECW's free churches national coordinator for England, represented the Baptist Union of Great Britain. 

Its theme was 'Born of a woman. Christian women as a creative energy in Europe'. It was a theme partly inspired by the Greek Island setting, as Tinos is a place of pilgrimage to the Virgin Mary.

During the gathering the Assembly considered how current conflicts heighten societal issues of racism, refugees and migrants already present in Europe. The presence in Greece also served as a reminder of the severe impact of the 2008 financial crisis, and it was noted that the financial system still causes poverty, disadvantage and environmental problems. 

Present at the Assembly was a film crew, who were recording material for a EFECW project, ‘Pop Up Monastery’, that will take place from 8-22 August 2015 in a monastic setting in Mariensee near Hannover (Germany).

Reflecting on the gathering, Anthea said, ‘This was a real opportunity to share with women from many different countries and church traditions. Tinos itself added to the experience with its many tiny churches and dramatic landscape.

'The presence of the film crew gave focus to our work, for me being filmed dancing in the hills and then having to put my thoughts into an interview was a positive challenge.

'I think we all left with a sense of purpose to bring our common commitment to being a strong voice for peace and justice in our respective churches’.

Baptist Times, 22/08/2014
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