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Newsletter April 2020

The spring of 2020 has been extremely challenging to our members, to our societies, and to the world. The work of our academies consists of gathering people for dialogue and exploration – exactly that which you in most places cannot do today. In times like this, we need to work together and support each other. Hopefully, we can meet in Bad Boll in September for our Annual Conference to explore further how we can benefit from being part of our community of centers and academies.

Alf Linderman
Head of the Oikosnet Europe Secretariat
Executive Director of the Sigtuna Foundation

"I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God." 

The Annotated Luther, Volume 4: Pastoral Writings, page 404.

Dear members of Oikosnet Europe, dear friends!

None of us have ever experienced such a time. The Corona Virus pandemic has changed our lives in all areas. Personally, our freedoms are severely restricted. 

Many worry about their own health, fearing for their loved ones and for those who belong to the so-called risk groups.Homeoffice, homeschooling, social distancing, telephone and video conferencing and StayHomeSaveLives are at odds with our need to face each other casually, to cultivate friendships and to experience physical closeness. What may be voluntary and good for limited periods of time, under normal circumstances, becomes an almost unbearable burden for some. And we do not know how long the situation will last.

Linked to the unprecedented context, Thorsten Latzel of the Evangelical Academy in Frankfurt tried to rewrite the Ten Commandments according to a word of the Reformer Martin Luther. Luther's beautiful thought is that a believer can design "new decalogues" every day. At my request, Thorsten translated them into English. 
10 commandments for the time with Corona

The unexpected challenges affect all areas. Academies and retreat houses are affected by the many restrictions. I’m sure that in order to maintain dialogue with society in spite of everything, the study directors will seek exchange with the public through other channels in order to assume the academy's responsibility towards society, especially in this uncertain time. But what happens to our institutions in a long-term perspective? How will we be able to cope economically with this time? And what happens when we can slowly return to normality, to a normality that after Corona will be different than before?

We now invite you to the next annual conference of Oikosnet Europe in Bad Boll, Germany, 9 - 13 September 2020. ( See article below.) We hope that the situation in Europe will have changed so far by then so that the conference can be held. And we are preparing to discuss with you at this conference the challenges of the current crisis and to see together how you can continue to work and what support we can provide from Oikosnet Europe.

The unexpected challenges affect all areas. The Corona Virus pandemic puts a huge strain on our health systems and causes enormous economic damage. In a «Joint German-Italian appeal to the governments of all Member States and to EU institutions» it is stated that «especially in the beginning of the crisis, national export restrictions on desperately needed medical equipment and unilateral border closures have fragmented the European response to the Corona crisis». Read more

Now, however, we need more European solidarity in the resulting «new normal». At this crucial moment for cooperation in Europe, as a European Association, we are called upon to bring our expertise and close network of relations into the new debates.

I write this in the knowledge that many of our members have to fight for their survival. The «virus-lockdown» contributes in addition to a more or less unstable situation for all members. All the more I wish you all, strength, patience and perseverance - and personally confidence and good health!

Rev. Walter Lüssi, President of Oikosnet Europe

Welcome to the annual conference of Oikosnet Europe

Bad Boll, Germany 9 - 13 September 2020
The Academy of Bad Boll, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, is inviting us to hold the Oikosnet General Assembly 2020 in Bad Boll, near Stuttgart, Germany. Therefore, it is our pleasure to invite you on behalf of the Board of Oikosnet Europe and on behalf of the Protestant Academy of Bad Boll to the next General Assembly. 

The General Assembly (GA) is planned to begin with an Opening Worship at 17h30 on the September 9, followed by dinner and a welcoming evening. The GA will end with breakfast and departures on 13 September. Letter of invitation

The registration to the conference will open after the Easter Holidays April 14.

The Arab Europe Citizens Dialogue

Orthodox Academy of Crete 20-23 October 2020

In October last year, the 7th Dialogue Consultation was conducted in Cairo, and the Coptic Organization for Social Services (CEOSS) were our local hosts. The Cairo event was very successful. Not that all problems were solved, but we took one more step in defining them.

We now look forward to the next consultation which will take place at the beautiful Orthodox Academy of Crete in October 2020. The present pandemic has implied a lot of difficulties for all of us, and it has caused disruption in many planning processes. So also for the preparation of the Crete meeting. We hope, however, to be able to have more information on this event very soon. Until then, save the dates for this opportunity to continue this important dialogue.

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