Faith in Service: Rev. Richard Fischer retires from the Conference of European Churches

19 July, 2016

Press Release No : 16/5
19 July 2016

On 31 August, Rev. Richard Fischer concludes more than 21 years of service to the Conference of European Churches and its predecessor organisations. For the duration of his tenure he was based at the CEC Strasbourg (France) office, and in later years responsible for the bioethics and education portfolios. At a reception in Rev. Fischer's honour, CEC President Rt Rev. Christopher Hill KCVO, DD remarked, "All in CEC will not only miss his quiet expertise but also his ecumenical friendship."

Rev. Fischer’s earliest studies were in philosophy and then theology. He undertook theological studies at the state-run faculty for Protestant theology in Strasbourg and completed his master’s studies with research on “Faith and Ecology: The experience of a church group.”

His early career was preoccupied with pastoral work in the Alsace region of France. In these ministries he first encountered issues that would later inform his work with churches at the European level. During this time he worked in a number of diaconal non-governmental organisations focussing on social rehabilitation, just and sustainable development, environmental and human rights issues, ending extreme poverty and more. These experiences were instrumental in Rev. Fischer’s contributions in the first movement in France on political ecology.

He continued his pastoral ministry through 1995, working as a university chaplain in Strasbourg and dean of a church district in Alsace. He combined this work with ecumenical and interreligious tours throughout Europe and developed his interest in the work of the Council of Europe and other European Institutions.

In 1995 Rev. Fischer was seconded to European Ecumenical Commission for Church and Society (EECCS, a predecessor organisation to CEC) by the Union of Protestant Churches in Alsace and Lorraine (UEPAL). Throughout his 21 years as Executive Secretary he combined this part-time appointment with work for UEPAL, the Conference of Churches along the Rhine, the Untied Protestant Church of France, and the French Protestant Federation.

At a reception in his honour at the end of June, Rev. Fisher remarked, “I think I never lost faith in God; God who continues to believe in me, to carry and support me. At the beginning of my work at EECCS, a friend asked me if it was not a bit the same with a united Europe—my enthusiasm gave him the impression that I was confusing it with the kingdom of God. No, of course! Although this is a political project—both utopian and realistic—I like it and it is worth fighting for it relentlessly.”

Born in Strasbourg, Rev. Fischer is married, the father of two sons and grandfather of five. In his retirement, he looks forward to spending more time with his wife, children and grandchildren, walking and cycling in nature, meeting friends and reading, but also supporting Christian networks and associations dealing with human rights and ecumenism in France, Europe and beyond. Simply enjoying life!

For more information or an interview please contact:

Erin Green
Communication Coordinator
Tel: +32 2 234 68 42
Twitter: @ceceurope
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