(...) over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity - Colossians 3, 14


Dear friend,

The past weeks and months have presented us with unknown challenges, but here we are - all rowing our boat through these stormy seas.

This newsletter has updates on our work, the NCs meeting, and shares a few reflections about how we are moving through the pandemic, and what we as EYCE mean to others. We hope that you will find it an interesting, and perhaps even an inspiring read.

There are two thoughts we'd like to share with you before you read on.

Firstly: We've all had to learn how to dance without music. Music usually provides our beat, our speed, our structure in which we can move - so for the past six months, we've learned how to move at our own pace, without the structures that normally guide us. And while it's scary and a bit clumsy, it's also helped to create our own kind of framework.

Secondly, there's a Sunday School song some of you might know, the internet tells us it's written by Bob Gillman. The words run along the lines of "bind us together, lord, bind us together with love". One thing to remember is that it's not the physical presence of people that creates a connection -. is the love that we share with others.

We'll leave you here with these thoughts and hope you enjoy the rest of our Newsletter.

Yours in Christ,

Maria, Anne, Nora, Julia, Katherine and Hannah

EYCE Executive Committee

September 9, 2020


Reflection: Children and Youth Work in a Pandemic


A pandemic brings new challenges and adventures and one of those is if and how to host a summer camp for young people. This summer I took up the challenge to organize not one but two summer camps for two different churches: the Lutheran Church and the United Methodist Church in Austria.

In the months between March and June many organizations, which usually are hosting summer camps, were asking themselves if they should are to organize it or just leave it be. Working with young people throughout the year I saw quite closely how the pandemic affected them. It became quite apparent to me and the people I work with that canceling the summer camp would not be an option. Young people needed to get away for the summer, away from their families, and spending time with their peers, the exact opposite of what they experienced during the lockdown. Additionally, many families would not go on holiday during this summer as they either couldn't afford it or wouldn't dare to because of the risk involved. I had young people whose only time away from the place they lived since the lockdown was the summer camp.
What nobody could however prepare me for was how surprisingly difficult and stressful it would be to organize a summer camp during a pandemic. In Austria, the government asked camp organizers to write up a prevention concept, which asked organizers to go into detail how they plan on avoiding the spread of the virus at the camp. It was insane writing up those concepts where the guidelines given by the government seemed to enforce the one thing we set out to overcome: create distance between participants. Honestly, writing those concepts gave me a massive headache and brought me close to tears, more than once.
We ended up having our participants wearing masks in the house, singing only outside, splitting them up in groups of 20 and keeping distance between those groups, disinfecting all surfaced a few times a day, taking their temperature every day, and having participants wash their hands several times a day. What we did not expect how much time it took up to schedule for things like washing their hands, disinfecting everything, and taking temperature.
And most certainly we did not expect how willing all participants were in following those rules and making everything safer.
It was beautiful to see how those young people accepted the rules given to prevent the virus from spreading and kept to it. Especially the children did occasionally point out to a camp counselor that they are not adhering to the rules ;)
It was touching to see how the young people and the parents were happy that we dared to host the camp. Because they too craved the social contact and the freedom to be outside their own home, somewhere in the Alps of Austria. It was a risky situation gathering young people from all over Austria in one place for a week, but I was glad we did it. Also, I am just genuinely relieved that nobody caught the virus and everyone got home safely again.
- Yours, Maria
Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash

Meeting of EYCEs National Correspondents October 8th – 11th 2020, Zoom


As previously announced, our National Correspondents meeting will take place on Zoom. We will also use Discord as a kind of social channel. All our member organisations and known NCs should have received their invitations now - please register as soon as possible. We would also love to make the best out of this online meeting and invite some of our friends who might not usually attend. We have set the meeting up so that it starts around 4.30 PM CET on Thursday and Friday, and will go the whole day on Saturday and will end on Sunday morning, so that a maximum amount of people might be able to attend. Not a member organisation or NC, but want to attend? Just let us know and we'll figure something out! The official registration can be found here: https://form.jotform.com/202510765374352


This meeting will play a decisive part in the future of EYCE, so if you can make it happen - please do!


Member Organisation Survey 2020

EYCE has faced major challenges and hasn’t experienced the most active times recently. Unfortunately, communication with some member organizations has been very limited, and we truly understand that it might have resulted in frustration or dissatisfaction towards EYCE. However, the new Executive Committee decided to take action right at the beginning of the term. We realized we need to start by investing in the most important thing, which is our members. It must be made clear what EYCE still exists for and what we are needed for. 


We decided to ask it directly from our members, and fortunately, we can say that the process has got off to a good start. We get to hear the wishes of our unique member organizations and strive to take them into account in our future operations. EYCE needs to change to meet its time so that it can continue to serve the European community of young Christians.


To accomplish the task of listening to our precious members, we prepared a simple questionnaire form that is easy to fill out by every Member of EYCE. We use the data also to update EYCE’s website as soon as possible.


The ExCo has done it’s best trying to contact every National Correspondent in order to inform them about this survey. However, if you organization hasn’t reached the survey by the time you’re reading this, you can fill it out from this link:

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or feedback.

 - Yours, Julia & Anne


Alumni Reflection on EYCE: Heikki Huttunen

Is the call for Christian Unity still relevant? What is the future of the European Project? These are some of the most urgent Ecumenical questions in Europe. They are questions that the EYCE should put to our churches. The mind-blowing news about the people on the streets of Minsk and other cities of Belarus provide interesting responses to those questions.

Belarus is one of the countries where East and West meet in Europe. Sincere ecumenical encounter has not been easy, due to historical, cultural and political realities. (We should not forget important exceptions to this rule, such as Father Vitaliy Borovoy or Metropolitan Filaret (Vakhromeev), who have made contributions to EYCE’s story, too.) But, in the epicentre of the political events in Belarus today, we see a surprising ecumenical development. Christians and churches who have found it difficult to recognize the very existence of each other, organize Christian prayers and processions together, in order to unite with the cry for freedom of their people and to react to the violence of the regime. It is an instance of real and rare Ecumenical witness in Europe today. Young people and students are the initiators. To me, this proves that the Ecumenical call for common witness and service still has relevance today, when it is a response to the radical challenges of political and societal change. Despite the difficulty of our church institutions to react and act together.

Something which is very apparently missing from the demonstrations in Belarus, is the European flag. This is different to all other popular uprisings in Eastern-Central Europe during the last 20 years. It is a strong proof of the restraint and will of the Belarus people to keep their struggle for freedom aloof from the geopolitical enmities within Europe. They want to decide about the legitimacy of political power in their own country without the interference of the neighbours from East or West. in Belarus today, the European flag would not be a symbol for common European ideals, but a sign of taking sides in the rivalry between political-economic blocs. For me, as a citizen of the European Union in favour of its basic values and its political development, this poses a serious question about the European project. I interpret the absence of the European flag from the streets of Minsk as a challenge to redefine the European ideal as something broader and more inclusive than the official Western European success story we normally portray. If the European project is to have relevance in the future, it needs to embrace a broad view of Europe, East and West, North and South. We need to be reminded that we only have a future together with all of humanity on this Earth. Young people in the churches have a crucial calling to do this.

We did not think of Belarus as a European country. But it is the middle: all its history and identity are about the encounter of East and West, conflictual and creative. The experience of the Belarusian people is therefore pivotal for our understanding of Europe as a whole and its future. Right now Belarus needs to be at the centre of our Ecumenical vision and our prayers.    



Alumni Greeting to EYCE:

Atle Sommerfeldt

Dear friends in EYCE!


It is with great joy I am invited to greet the community of committed ecumenical youth in Europe! I have known the organisation for more than 40 years and have experienced the importance of  the network in the ecumenical movement in Europe and globally. The EYCE has always worked across political, confessional and geographic borders in Europe. The vision of the ecumenical movement to promote justice, sustainable ecological societies, inclusion of all people in the formation of the society and peace without nuclear weapons is as relevant for Europe today as it was when the first ecumenical youth assembly gathered in Oslo in 1947 in the shadow of a Europe in ruins. In the last decades we have seen how the darkest sides of european history no longer are in the corners, but are creeping closer to the centre of european lives.

For me as a bishop in The Church of Norway it is a sign of hope that young people in the european churches  is gathering to break down barriers, fight discrimination and promote a nuclear free Europe. You are  knitting a network of love and justice which create  hope for people in Europe, showing that another Europe is possible and necessary. For me, who is a child of the ecumenical movement and has worked in different parts of the movement since 1975, it is of special joy to see that a new generation will experience and promote  the depth and richness of the ecumencial vision for church and society.

May The Triune God give you patience, strength and joy!


Yours in Christ

Atle Sommerfeldt, Bishop

Borg diocese, Church of Norway



Personal ExCo Insight: Relationship Status: It's complicated.

This is an honest bit of thinking I've been doing.

I believe that, at its essence, life is all about relationships. The people we surround ourselves with, the people we don’t; the people we want to surround ourselves with and the people we choose not to keep around. Sometimes, relationships break up.  I always felt like the meanest thing about break-ups is that it takes two to be in a relationship – but it only takes one to break up. 

The ExCo was, amongst other things, tasked with moving onward – finding ways of making sure EYCE doesn’t just exist, but actually lives. And we’re trying – and seeing first successes that we are proud of. However, as we try and try to get in touch with some people and work hard and often don’t even receive replies to phone calls, e-mails and text messages, it feels a bit like that first stage of breaking up: no one wants to say what’s happening, but everyone knows.

So, why would we move onward joyfully, expectantly and full of ideas? Because, even though EYCE, too, has a lot to do with relationships, it’s not just one relationship between two people. It’s many, many relationships, many, many people and many, many member organisations. And we believe that the hope and the love that is shared between those we do reach and we do talk to and who do reply can be shared with and forwarded to those who have started to doubt thiee relationships. When both people in a relationship realise why they are in a rut, sometimes things can be so good after all. And so often, it helps to talk openly and honestly about the things that have gone wrong, and the things we are afraid of. And I honestly hope that we will able to have that conversation and move past the things that have had us in “almost break-up” mode for such a long time and put us in “happily ever after” mode.

 - Yours, Katherine

Photo by Austin Kehmeier on Unsplash


EYCE Programme 2020-2021



We are currently unable to give any exact information on which of our planned events, seminars, and workshops will take place. All we can truly say at this point is that we are looking into possibilities of moving online more and welcome anyone who might want to help!



Thoughts, ideas, insight on the future of EYCE

While our key process will start after the NC Meeting in October, we would like to use this opportunity to call for members for a small working group that will be creating a clearer path towards the future. The goals will be to simplify some of the bureaucracy, evaluate our goals and our mission, and to report back to the GM in 2021 with a plan of action. Anyone interested should please e-mail general.secretary@eyce.org.


 Save the Date: General Meeting 2021 in Norway

The team for the next General Meeting in 2021 has already started their planning process. Don't miss what they have in store for EYCE: Mark your calendars for 22.-26. September 2021!

 Questions and Office

We currently have no one who can support the Executive Committee from the office. The volunteers do their best to keep the daily operations running. If you have any questions or ideas, please contact us via general.secretary@eyce.org or via social media - the channels are checked daily. As we currently have no possibilities to travel to Brussels, we cannot open our mail at the moment. We therefore ask for electronic communication and hope for understanding. 

In the moment the ExCo is working on applications of EYF to get some funding for activities next year. Every helping hand is welcome! Thank you very much!

Photo by Erik Mclean


Your Support: Follow EYCE 

You can follow the work of EYCE also on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter - check out and like Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe or follow Ecumenical Youth. This will help us to build more visibility for our work, as well as more credibility with the donors supporting us. 

At any time you can support EYCE's work here. Every small donation helps...

Thank you!