“Christians’ hope for Europe” is the subtitle for the evening gathering at the YMCA’s Hall of Fame, Vienna, February 11th, 2016
Introducing the evening’s welcoming address, the piano and saxophone performance conveyed an immediate sense of enthusiasm and professionalism. In her address, the host Sascha Becker (YMCA), transmitted the spirit underlying the Together for Europe events in Stuttgart in 2004 and 2007 and invited the audience to the upcoming event “Munich 2016”.
The theme of the evening was modeled on the question Jesus asked of his wavering disciples: Why are you afraid? (Matthew 8:26) Whilst the “boat of Europe” rocks amidst a storm of discouragement and resignation, the contribution offered by Together for Europe to help face the current challenges of our continent was summed up by the subtitle of the evening “Christians’ hope for Europe”. Pastor Eduard Griesfelder’s illustrated the point further in his talk entitled “Ways of Reconciliation – Round Table – Austria” which spoke of a meeting among free Churches and Communities of diverse traditions and the acknowledgment they received from the Austrian State.
The picture of a recurring failure of politics in the face of the inevitable influx of refugees was painted with openness and sincerity by Heinz K. Becker, MEP. As spokesman for matters of Security for his fraction of the European Parliament Mr. Becker acknowledged the concerns of many, whilst observing how: “Christian values such as availability and solidarity are becoming increasingly valued”.
Examples were offered of how this can translate into practice helping politics and civil society work together, by the deputy mayor as well as by an active citizen with whom she collaborates and by a refugee from Eichgraben.
At the end of the event, the stage resounded with the hopeful feedback of participants. The meeting concluded with a moment of prayer expressing the hopes and concerns of the participants as well as their gratitude for the experience of being Together.
Herwig Sturm – Coordination team of Together for Europe for Vienna and Austria