Based on the Christian heritage in Europe, churches seek to recover Christian spirituality in the social system in the midst of the changing face of the continent.
On Nov. 22-24, 60 representatives from European churches and diaconal organizations met in Brussels for a conference jointly organized by the Church & Society Commission of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and Eurodiaconia, according to a conference report from CEC.
Gathered under the theme "A common vision for a social Europe: Towards quality of life for all," the Christian leaders discussed the social system in Europe, identifying its strengths and challenges as well as giving Christians response to those challenges.
According to the conference report from CEC, the Churches called for the recovery of Christian spirituality and solidarity, which are the roots of social system of Europe.
Despite the foundation of the social system in Europe that was once well-built on a view of solidarity to all members of the community, the Churches pointed out that social system has to be improved to match with the demographic changes and globalization.
The conference report from CEC suggested that low birth rates and an aging population in Europe nowadays demand "a new quality of relations between generations, between family life and work, and between different ethnic groups in the society." Moreover, change in moral values among Europeans has put risk on social solidarity.
The Churches warned of "a threat for peace and justice" in many European countries because of the increasing number of excluded people such as migrants, ethnic minorities, homeless and single parent households.
"In the Christian understanding, human dignity does not depend on productivity or economic contribution, but resides in people created in the image of God to live in relationship," the Churches declared in the report, referring to the challenges of declining solidarity, justice and peace in Europe.
The report also urged the Churches to "move beyond comparison and competition in the economic world" and to emphasize "a common longing for peace and justice" and "a willingness to share in order to grow together." Through this way, human beings can be more united.
The Churches further stressed on the importance of "community building and participation" in Christian life. They therefore supported "a family-friendly approach in all political areas," taking into account the diverse living conditions of families."
They pledged to "strengthen the voice of the marginalized" and pursed a social system looked "from the viewpoint of the vulnerable and disadvantaged."
In its conclusion, the European Churches reaffirmed their position as the closest institutions relating to people at grassroots level, and places of refuge for those who are not protected in the social system. They are committed to be "bridge-builders for a socially cohesive society for all."