EYCE is a strong network of young Christians from all over Europe who seek unity between Christians and are engaged in the work for justice, peace & the integrity of creation.
EYCE was founded in 1968, but its roots go back to just after World War II. In 1947, the World Council of Churches (WCC) began to organise annual meetings for those responsible for ecumenical youth work in the different countries of Europe. 1968 was a special year for youth and students throughout the world – these youth leaders decided to found their own organisation, later known as the Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe.
EYCE’s first General Meeting was held in October 1969 in Sweden. EYCE appointed its first full-time General Secretary in 1978. Its Secretariat has since moved from East-Berlin to Budapest, to Belfast and Helsinki. In 1999, a permanent office was established in Brussels.
As a Christian youth organisation, EYCE strives to represent young people in Europe as much as possible. EYCE works on an entirely ecumenical basis, and therefore considers itself to be part of the wider ecumenical movement. It wants to encourage Churches and Christian youth movements in Europe to strive towards the unity of all Christians. Its goal is not to form one church structure, but to look for a means to work together despite of different denominational viewpoints. This means working together to overcome such obstacles as nationalism, xenophobia, social exclusion and proselytism.
Many of the above mentioned obstacles are the result of a lack of information and the fear of the unknown. EYCE believes that bringing people together is the best way to foster mutual understanding between different Christian denominations and traditions. It tries to provide young people with a place to develop an understanding of the different expressions of faith in different denominations and countries.
In accordance with the decisions of the last EYCE General Meetings, a particular thematic focus is being put on social economic justice, inter-religious dialogue, ecumenical training and formation, human rights trainings, ecological justice, overcoming violence, HIV/AIDS, reconciliation and conflict management. In order to work on these themes, EYCE regularly organises seminars, study sessions, training courses, workshops and other meetings. Many times, EYCE member organisations organise activities that are open for participation from other EYCE members.
EYCE also offers support by providing international ecumenical news on the EYCE website, by providing contacts and networking amongst EYCE members and partners and by raising the concerns of EYCE member organisations towards the Churches, the ecumenical movement, the European Youth Forum and the European Institutions.