Undecided, but Open
M o s c o w – The Conference of European Churches’ (CEC) Moscow sessions on 27 and 28 February concluded that Baptists would represent the Russian Protestant denominations in the newly-revived “Christian Inter-Confessional Advisory Committee”. (CIAC). This CEC-committee intends to ease communication between churches in the countries of the former Soviet Union and make joint statements on ethical and societal questions more feasible.
This cooperation is one indication of Russian Orthodox readiness to regard the other Christian confessions as partners in the struggle for the renewal of Christian faith and values in Central and Eastern Europe. Cyrill, Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, will represent the Russian Orthodox in the committee’s three-person leadership; a Roman Catholic and a Baptist member will be named shortly.
Pastor Vitaly Vlasenko (Moscow) Director of External Relations for the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists (RUECB), explains: “We are not participating strongly in ecumenical activities. We want to take part, but we need time. We are waiting and observing developments within CEC. We have regarded CEC and the Geneva World Council of Churches as theologically liberal and it is clear that we cannot act without unity among our leadership on these issues. We remain undecided, but open.”
This conference in Moscow’s Orthodox Pilgrims’ Center involved churches from all CIS-states and the Baltics and understood itself as a prepatory session leading up to the 3rd European Ecumenical Assembly taking place in Sibiu, Romania from 4 to 9 September. Russian Baptists are considering participation at the Romanian Ecumenical Assembly. Russian Baptist representatives - as with other Baptist Unions not belonging to the World Council – already attended the last Ecumenical Assembly in Trondheim, Norway in 2003.
The CEC, founded in 1959, is a fellowship of 126 churches from all countries of Europe.
Dr. William Yoder
Department for External Church Relations, RUECB
Moscow, 2 March 2007
A press release of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists. May be published freely. Release #07-5, 285 words.