General Secretary resigns, expressing confidence in CEC’s positive future

11 September, 2023

Photo: CEC/Albin Hillert
Photo: CEC/Albin Hillert

Press Release No:15/23
11 September 2023

Dr Jørgen Skov Sørensen has resigned as General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches (CEC), effective 31 December 2023, to reunite and dedicate more time with his family in Copenhagen. In the announcement of his decision, he affirmed positive signs for the future of CEC, strengthening the organisation’s commitment.

Sørensen, a Danish Lutheran, has taken on the role as General Secretary of CEC since January 2020.

He fulfilled the original mandate of the CEC Governing Board, by developing the Call and Witness strategy that sharpens CEC’s profile as a fellowship of churches in dialogue with the European institutions, and the Pathways to Peace initiative, highlighting the return of the organisation to work for peace in Europe.

Sørensen led CEC in organising a successful General Assembly in June 2023 in Tallinn, Estonia, under the heading “Under God’s blessing – shaping the future”. The event brought together over 300 church representatives from across Europe, featuring prominent speakers and highlighting the particular and decisive role of churches in today’s secular European societies.

“After some critical years in CEC, characterised by fundamental organisational changes during my leadership, I have come to a conclusion that I gave what I had to offer in terms of addressing and safeguarding the future of our fellowship of churches,” said Sørensen.

“From the beginning, I was granted a solid mandate by the CEC Governing Board to spearhead an organisational revision process. Today, almost four years later, together we have to a large extent fulfilled the mandate given. CEC has taken direction via the Call and Witness strategy, in church-based and focused advocacy with European political institutions in Brussels and Strasbourg.”

“Most recently, we have launched the Pathways to Peace initiative, addressing the war in Ukraine directly in a response to the unequivocal call from Member Churches for active engagement. This is a return to fundamental and historic CEC values.”

“I am tremendously honoured and grateful to have been trusted as an instrumental part of CEC during this pivotal process of change. I believe CEC is today an organisation with increased potential for real impact in Europe. I see positive signs for CEC’s future in the highly skilled and deeply committed people in the secretariat and in the newly elected Governing Board,” concluded Sørensen.

Gratitude for the General Secretary’s service 

CEC President Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain thanked Sørensen for his service and contributions to CEC. “We wish Dr Jørgen Skov Sørensen God’s blessing in his future endeavours."

“It is with sadness and, yet, with understanding that we have received the resignation of Dr Jørgen Skov Sørensen. He has faithfully served and laboured for the past few years, so CEC may continue on a solid base of stability,” he added.

“All who have worked with Dr Sørensen have the greatest respect and appreciation for what he has done, and he will be missed by all of us. Our appreciation, along with our prayers for him and his family, are only a simple expression of our gratitude. He will be sorely missed, but we have agreed that he will assist us in the transitional period, as we look to the future,” CEC president added.

“In 2020, our Governing Board was thrilled to welcome Dr Jørgen Skov Sørensen,” said CEC Vice-President Rev. Frank Kopania, who also served as board member from 2018 - 2023. “With his profound theological insights, extensive experience in international and inter-religious relations, together with sound management skills, he led the CEC General Secretariat into a rapidly changing future.”

Kopania went on to say, “together with his leadership in sharpening CEC’s profile, we also highly appreciate his clear vision for CEC’s future, leading us with the new Call and Witness strategy, which shaped the whole Assembly in Tallinn and will be decisive for the coming years of our fellowship.”

“We fully understand that he moves on for personal reasons. And we appreciate his legacy for which we will continue to work tirelessly to realise the vision of Call and Witness,” added Kopania.

The process towards accommodating this new development is underway, during which CEC President Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain will ensure the organisational continuity.

For more information or an interview, please contact:

Naveen Qayyum
Communication Officer
Conference of European Churches
Rue Joseph II, 174 B-1000 Brussels
Tel. +32 486 75 82 36
Twitter: @ceceurope
YouTube: Conference of European Churches
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