EU leaders meet church and faith leaders
Bishop Rosemarie Wenner extended greetings of the Council of Bishops to the top leaders of the European Union. At the invitation of the President of the European Union she was among the 18 high-level Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu leaders from across the continent meeting on May 30, 2013, for talks on European citizenship issues - at a challenging time in the history of the European Union. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, underlined how these summits reflect the efforts being made in Europe to further a sense of community.
Bishop Wenner highlighted the Social Creed of the UMC saying: "We commit ourselves to the rights and dignity of all persons. We believe in the right and duty of people to work for the glory of God and the good of themselves and others ... towards the elimination of economic and social distress". She said that churches and faith communities, together with politicians, must work to help all members of society make their voices as citizens heard. This is especially true for minorities such as the Roma people and migrants who see themselves as Europeans despite many difficulties. "The poor are the most seriously affected by the crises. Please do all you can to strengthen the weakest," Wenner urged the EU leadership.
The high-level meeting of religious leaders was the ninth in the series of meetings launched by President Barroso in 2005. The topic of this year's meeting was the question how to intensify the dialogue with citizens and societal organizations on the future of Europe and about the fundamental, individual and collective rights that are guaranteed by European citizenship. The contribution of the representatives of churches and religious communities directly fed into the broader, on-going Europe-wide debate amongst citizens, businesses, civil society and government organizations, in the context of the European Year of Citizens 2013.
The meeting took place in the Commission's Berlaymont building in Brussels.