28 July 2023

Salvationists join European Churches assembly

Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts

Photo shows the delegates who attended the 2023 Conference of European Churches posing with signs that read #Tallinn2023 and #CECassembly.

Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts reports on this year’s Conference of European Churches.

Seven Salvationists took part in the 16th General Assembly of the Conference of European Churches (CEC), themed Under God’s Blessing – Shaping the Future.

In the opening address of the six-day gathering, Belarusian politician Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya called on churches to pray for people in her country and Ukraine and to raise their voices for peace. The first day concluded with a service at St John’s Church in which Commissioner Vibeke Krommenhoek (Officer for European Ecumenical Relations, IHQ) preached.

Salvation Army delegates also included Commissioner Jane Paone (Secretary for International Ecumenical Relations, IHQ), Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts (Territorial Ecumenical Officer) and Major Victoria Lalac (Secretary for Programme, Eastern Europe). They joined more than 300 representatives of 116 denominations, national church councils and partner organisations.

Three UKI Salvationists participated in support teams. Amy Bayliss-Fox (Cannock) and Hannah Carr (Norwich Citadel) took part in a youth gathering before becoming stewards for the assembly. Bethany Gibson (Online Content Editor, THQ) was part of the assembly’s communications team.

Speakers included former Archbishop of Canterbury the Right Rev Rowan Williams and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch His All Holiness Bartholomew. After each keynote address delegates met in small groups to reflect on the themes presented.

The war in Ukraine had a significant place on the agenda and delegates were able to contribute ideas for CEC’s Pathways to Peace programme.

The assembly had a rhythm of prayer, with devotions conducted in the style of different church traditions. In business sessions, reports were presented and elections were held.

In the Sunday morning meeting at Kopli Corps, Lieut-Colonel Jonathan testified, Commissioner Vibeke brought the Bible message and the visiting group sang ‘Jesus Put This Song into Our Hearts’.

Commissioner Jane said: ‘We can discuss and have many different ideas on European and global issues but, finally, unitedly engaging in living out Christ’s love to the world will have the greatest impact.’

Written by

Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts

Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts

Territorial Ecumenical Officer, THQ

Discover more

Supporting and developing the ecumenical and interfaith work of The Salvation Army.

Major Nick Coke reports on the Army’s involvement in the No Faith in Fossil Fuels event that took place last week.

Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts asks Mike Royal about his new role as general secretary of Churches Together in England.

Dr Nicola Brady tells Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts about her role as general secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.

Related tags