DialogUE and the ecology of relationships

by | Mar 14, 2024

A few months ago a veteran of Together for Europe asked me if our network has any influence on the life of the Continent. The question surprised me, but behind the words I sensed the real question: 'did my-our work make sense'? Last year, the European Union invited us to participate in a call that "promotes citizens' participation and involvement in the democratic life of the EU" in these three fields: communication, social policy and ecology The webinar held on 2 March developed the latter.

A few months ago a veteran of Together for Europe asked me if our network has any influence on the life of the Continent. The courage and clarity of the question surprised me, but behind the words I sensed the real question: “Does my – our – work have a purpose?

After its beginnings, in the message of the first manifestation in Stuttgart in 2004, Together for Europe placed itself in today’s world, in history, declaring its identity for fraternity. A few years later, in 2007 – also in Stuttgart – the so-called 7 YESES were formulated, outlining the concrete programme of action. In one of these YESES it says: “Let us say YES to creation, by defending nature and the environment, gifts of God to be safeguarded with commitment that respects future generations.” The years went by andthe ecumenical network, mainly through the efforts of the various national committees, grew stronger on the Continent. Its structure was outlined with annual international meetings, with local events and, in recent years, from the westernmost part of Europe (Porto/Portugal) we reached the gateway to the East (Timisoara/Romania).

Together for Europe will be 25 years old this year. The question is very fair: while we thank God and mankind for the history of all these years, now, how do we move forward? Do we have and will we have influence on the life of the Continent? Does our work make sense and will it in the future?

The European Union came to our aid by inviting us to participate in a European call for proposals that “promotes citizens’ participation and involvement in the democratic life of the EU” in three fields in particular: the world of communication, the socio-political sphere and ecology. The online meeting on 2 March developed the latter. The 187 bookings and 110 listening places have enthused us and the answers to the questionnaires will help us to develop a KIT with concrete suggestions to the administration. Of course, the preparatory work for this meeting also required commitment, but the joy of seeing high-level experts in different fields, representing various Churches and countries, the encouraging testimonies, confirmed to us: a door to the future is opening here!

What kind of future? Generate as much as possible, with the cohesive force of fraternity, relationship spaces in all the fields of the 7 YESes. This is the ecology of relationships which goes beyond the protection of creation. In this endeavour, it may happen that beyond our common humanity, we discover many realities that bind us and can enhance our unity. On 2 March – in the ecological field – the Italian professor, the Greek theologian, the COMECE representative, the Swiss professor and the Irish doctor, the German expert and the EU official confirmed this, and the testimonies illustrated it. At the end, one participant asked: “How do such positive effects arise?” The answer was: through relationships.

Today, I would perhaps answer that veteran’s question with more conviction.

Ilona Toth

To find out more about the event click here>>

See also press release>>


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