In Strasbourg of France between the dates 5-7 October 2011 it was held a conference for Democratic Citizenship-the role of the churches. The conference was organized by the Committee of Education of Churches Commission Society. The participants were from Protestantic Churches of Germany, Sweden, Finland, Austria, the Church of Scotland, the Church of England, as well as the Orthodox Churches of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Church of Greece and the Orthodox Church of Estonia. The Church of Cyprus was represented by the theologian Mr. Georgios Ioannou.
Primarily it was discussed the role of Churches in promoting Democratic Citizenship through their education. The representatives of the Churches presented the work of their churches in this field. Our representative mentioned the efforts made by the Church of Cyprus in this area and specifically the camps that most of the Bishoprics have and the Sunday Schools. In addition, he mentioned the recent meeting of Greek-Cypriots, Turkish-Cypriots, Palestinians and Israelis young people among the ages of 15-18 years old, under the aegis of His Beatitude the Archbishop of Cyprus, the Mufti of the Turkish-Cypriots, with an initiative of the Swedish ambassador in Cyprus with the aim of promoting peaceful coexistence. Furthermore it was analyzed by the professor of Oxford University Mr. Liam Gearon the ways that Churches could include Democratic Citizenship in their daily activities.
On the 6th of October the meetings of the working group took place at the Council of Europe. The main speakers of the first part of the meeting were the representatives of Commissioners Mrs. Viviane Reding and Mrs Androulla Vasileiou, who both explain in detail the role of the two Commissions in promoting Education for Democratic Citizenship. Among others they stressed the need for more democracy in Europe and the correct form of education provided, for forming values. In addition, they inform the group for the programs that are already running in the European Union and that Churches should give their stigma in these. A particular indication was made by the representative of Mrs Vasileiou, Mr. Jonathan Hill for the amount of money that the European Union is to invest between the years 2014-2020 and the way that Churches should participate in. Both speakers stressed also the need of Churches being present at European Institutions and especially in Education programs because they are part of the social cohesion and emphasized that Churches should be active while the decisions are taken and not afterwards.
Among the most important conclusions of the conference were:
a) Churches are major providers of formal education in many countries, therefore they have obligation in to contribute to reflection and action about Democratic Citizenship,
b) In all parts of Europe there is a need to redefine the role of the Churches in society and to encourage governments to see that the input of faith bodies is natural part of the democratic procedures,
c) To make steps forward in being active as Churches to European programs and especially at the Commission of Education by aiming the growth of the possibilities of implementing democratic citizenship.
The participants decided that the new sub-committee for education will meet again in 2012 at the same chronicle period.