of the Conference of European Churches - CSC in Haguenau near Strasbourg from 28 May to 1 June 2010.
The main theme of the meeting reflected on the role of religious symbols in the public sphere. It was noted that many conflicts over religious matters derive from a lack of communication but also from an inability to effectively address concerns emanating from increased diversity in our societies. The meeting concluded that there is a need for more and better interreligious and intercultural dialogue, and religious education both formal and informal.
Besides its internal debate, the plenary had the opportunity to visit the Council of Europe and discuss religious and human rights with several of its high-level officials such as Mr Juris Rudevskis from the Court of Human Rights, Mr Alfonso de Salas from the Directorate of Human Rights and Mrs G. Battaini-Dragoni Director General of Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport. In addition to the topic of human rights, the Commission was received by one its own members, Dr. Verena Taylor.
The plenary also heard the report on the Commission’s work since the CEC Lyon Assembly in July 2009 and discussed its work programme for 2010 and 2011. The plenary agreed the priorities for the year 2011 and it took notice of this year's priorities, already approved by the CEC Central Presidium in its meeting in late April. In the next period of time, CSC will, for instance, continue deepening its dialogue on globalisation with the Latin American Council of Churches and contributing to the European Year on Combating Poverty and Social Inclusion. Furthermore, CSC will, for example, implement the Education Strategy, adopted by the plenary, promote nuclear disarmament and debate on human enhancement.
The Church and Society Commission elected Pasteur Serge Fornerud of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches as the moderator and Mag. Katerina Karkala of the Orthodox Church of Greece and Rev. Jan Dus of the Evangelical Church of Czech Bretheren as the vice-moderators of the new Executive Committee. In addition, Bishop Porfyrios Papastylianou of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, Dr. Charles Reed of the Church of England and Dr Verana Taylor of the Evangelical Church A and HB in Austria, will serve in the Executive Committee.