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Newsletter from Oikosnet Europe, December 2018

Dear friends and members of Oikosnet Europe. We are now closing in on the celebration of Christmas and a New Year. For some of us, this will mean a few days of rest, and for others, even more to do than usual. Regardless of what your situation is like, on behalf of the OE Secretariat in Sigtuna, I wish for you the best possible Holidays!

Alf Linderman
Head of the Secretariat of Oikosnet Europe and Executive Director of the Sigtuna Foundation

What touches us on Christmas?

What touches us on Christmas? What touches us at all? I pick out three topics that challenge us in all European countries and which also affect the work and programs of the members of Oikosnet Europe.

Migration: "One out of ten made it to Europe, seven out of ten were picked up and one in five died or disappeared." In his catchy Twitter-quoted formulas Matteo Villa from the Italian Institute For International Political Studies ISPI summarizes his shocking experiences about the migrants. They try to come across the Mediterranean from Libya to Europe, were taken back to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard "or others" die or are considered missing.

Climate Change: After just two weeks of deliberations, the UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, recently came to an end. One of the goals was a set of rules for the practical implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015. At that time, it was agreed to limit global warming to less than two degrees, if possible even to 1.5 degrees. The promised measures of the states are far from sufficient.

Shrinking Spaces: What is means are dwindling spaces in democracies, restrictions on political, civil society or institutional development and development opportunities in democratic societies. "Democracy is experiencing its worst crisis in decades," the non-governmental organization Freedom House warned in its 2018 annual report. This finding fits in with a study commissioned by the Bertelsmann Foundation, which estimates that 3.3 billion people live in autocratic regimes.

What touches us on Christmas? What touches us at all?

The three topics mentioned are only a small part of the current events that surround us. But already they are connected with many concrete and shattering pictures, with pictures that touch and do not let us go. In this reality, we celebrate Christmas. And we hear it again and again in a variety of ways: "Do not be afraid!" (Luke 2:10).

On behalf of the Board of Oikosnet Europe I wish you bright moments with people who are important to us. I wish you a Merry Christmas and confidence and love not only in the glow of the candles, but for a new year, in which we will face the challenges again.

Rev. Walter Lüssi, President of Oikosnet Europe

Oikosnet Europe Annual Conference - Save the date!

Agape Centro Ecumenico,  Italy September 11 - 15, 2019

Oikosnet Europe welcome you all to save the date for the next Annual Conference sceduled for 11 -15 September 2019. The conference will be hosted by Agape Centro Ecumenico,  in Italy an important point of reference in Italian Protestantism and and a place for education, political engagement of acceptance and validation of differences. Agape was built after the Second World war as a sign of hope and reconciliation. We all look forward to what the very special atmosphere of Agape will bring in to the Annual Conference of 2019.

More information about the conference will be presented in the next newsletter to come.

Report from the board meeting in Warsaw

The last board meeting of Oikosnet Europe for 2018 was held in Warsaw. At the beginning of the meeting, Grzegorz Giemza, General Secretary of the Poland Ecumenical Council, welcomed us to the capital of Poland and gave us some information about the Ecumenical Council. As guests at the board meeting, we also had Sara Marta Rostagno and Malte Dahme from Agape Centro Ecumenico in Italy – as seen above the location of the next Annual Conference.

A substantial part of the board meeting was related to this upcoming event, but we also had significant conversations on various aspects of the strategic plan for the future of the association.

The next board meeting will take place in Zürich, Switzerland, the 14th of February 2019. If you have any thoughts and ideas that you want to convey to the board, or if you have any questions about the association in general, please feel free to contact the Secretariat in Sigtuna, Sweden:

Alf Linderman
Head of the Secretariat of Oikosnet Europe

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