A Future Conference looking forward to the year 2029A Future Conference looking forward to the year 2029

Future Conference (Photo: CEC/Johan Ehrning)

In view of the 13th CEC Assembly, a Future Conference was held in Lyon from 10-12 September 2008, with the participation of 80 representatives of CEC member churches and partner organizations. Its aim was to reflect on what it might mean for CEC to serve our continent, and especially to serve its churches and to promote European ecumenical engagement, beyond the year 2015 until the symbolic date of 2029.

The Future Conference is “a technique meant to shed light on a common problematic situation, to generate visions about the future, and to discuss how these visions can be realised” (Heino Apel).

The meeting takes place as an open discussion between the different participants in different constellations. There are no documents provided beforehand. Participants are expected to bring their own experience, knowledge and ideas. Nevertheless, two persons were present to facilitate the meeting, bringing the participants through 3 phases:

1. Remembering and appreciating the past
• History of CEC (individual and group work): initiating personal consciousness about the historical development of CEC;
• Creating a common “timeline” in order to strengthen a collective memory of the past.

2. Perceiving the present
• Development and trends (which developments do we / does CEC face?)
• Taking responsibility (what are we proud of / what do we regret?)
• What needs to be looked at in the past when envisioning the future?

3. Envisioning the future
• How will CEC look in 2029? (encouragement to deal with visions and dreams creatively – without looking at finances and feasibility)
• Elaborating common goals
• Finding consensus about common goals
• Implementation phase: the ideas found are checked and evaluated with regards to their practicability

The process from the Future Conference to the 13th CEC Assembly is one of reflection on the results of the conference and of consultation with the CEC Member Churches and Partner / Associated Organisations.
The results of the Future Conference as well as the outcomes of the consultation will be brought into discussion within the Assembly in Lyon, in July 2009.