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The Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe

The United Methodist Church in Central and Southern Europe consists of about 33'500 members and friends living in 16 countries: Albania, Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Tunisia. The worship services are held in more than 20 languages, but there are many more languages and ways in which members of this Church share the love of God with their neighbors.

History
1925 Constitution of the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe (member-countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Baltics, Russia, Germany, Switzerland)
1936 Constitution of the Central Conference in Germany. The other Annual Conferences of the Central Conference of Central Europe (Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Switzerland and Yugoslavia) fell back into their old Connection to the General Confernce and constituted the episcopal "Sprengel" of the General Conference. Bishop Nuelsen located his office in Geneva. It was the birth of the Geneva "Sprengel".
1938 Austria became annected to Hitler-Germany. Consequently, the Mission Conference in Austria was integrated into the German Central Conference.
1939 Integration of «Methodist Episcopal Church North», «Methodist Episcopal Church South» and «Protestant Methodist Church» in the USA. As a consequence, conferences in Belgium, Poland and Czechoslovakia were integrated in Geneva Sprengel.
1945 Geneva Sprengel now consisted of: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Madeira Mission, North Africa, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and Yugoslavia.
1954 On October 14, the constitutive meeting of the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe took place in Brussels/Belgium. Ferdinand Sigg was elected as first Bishop of this Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe.
1966 After the decease of Bishop Ferdinand Sigg (1965), District Superintendent Franz W. Schäfer was elected as the new Bishop of the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe.
1969 The Methodist Church in Belgium left the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe and assembled with other Churches to the United Protestant Church in Belgium in the course of of the following years.
1989 Heinrich Bolleter was elected new Bishop of the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe as successor of Franz W. Schäfer.
1998 The Methodist Church in Albania was established and added to the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe.
2005 Patrick Streiff was elected new Bishop of the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe.
2006 Bishop Patrick Streiff took office; Bishop Heinrich Bolleter retired.
2010 A United Methodist congregation in Brussels/Belgium was added to the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe. In the same year, the congregational work in Croatia was discontinued.
2011 The Methodist Church in Romania was established and added to the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe.

Hope and help in challenging times

The measures imposed in connection with the Corona crisis have a strong impact on life in the countries of Eastern Central Europe and the Balkans. However, the UMC cannot be dissuaded from continuing to give signs of hope and provide concrete assistance.




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Difficult conditions and open questions

The Executive Committee of the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe met from March 12-14, 2020, in Vienna, at the premises of Vienna-Fünfhaus UMC and English-Speaking UMC of Vienna.

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A change in context does not change the aim

The study group in the episcopal area of Bishop Patrick Streiff met for the fourth time. It looked at the possible changes in context with the upcoming General Conference in May 2020. And it continued working on the aim that the churches in the countries of the episcopal area may find a way to stay together as closely as possible for a common journey into the future.

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Worldwide UMC before respectful separation - Comment by Bishop Patrick Streiff

The controversial discussions within the worldwide United Methodist Church (UMC) on questions in regard to homosexuality led to a new development: an international working group, with the support of the Council of Bishops, published a proposal that includes a respectful separation of the worldwide church.
 


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