Apostle Haeck assumes the chairmanship of the CCC

The Council of Christian Churches (CCC) in Luxembourg is the official name of the round table at which the ecumenical churches of the Grand Duchy gather together to discuss Christian issues in the country. The CCC has recently appointed a new chairman: Clément Haeck, a retired Apostle.

“As president, I preside over the respective meetings and take on representational duties at special festivities,” confirms the retired Apostle, who is also a member of the New Apostolic Work Group Contacts with other Denominations and Religions (WG CDR). For example, as chairman of the council, he is responsible for the publication of a call for joint prayer on the occasion of the week of prayer for Christian unity: “It is very important to me to include all the delegates in this. This already began with our very first meeting on the subject.” The Apostle is supported in his activity by the secretary of the CCC, Gérard Kieffer, and his vice-president, Vicar-General Patrick Muller.

Chairmanship was the request of the Council members

For Apostle Haeck, leading the Council of Christian Churches is a regularly recurring responsibility that follows from the statutes of the Council: “According to the statutes of the CCC, the presidency is a rotating function. And since various member churches had already occupied the post and I had only been involved in the Council as a New Apostolic representative since 2015, I was approached with the request to assume the role of chairman. On 5 October 2020 I took on this responsibility.”

Years of experience

For years, there have been good neighbourly relations among the denominations of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Here Apostle Clément Haeck is considered a pioneer, who sought out and developed contacts with other churches right from the start. The first step was an application for guest membership in the Council of Churches in order to gain a fuller understanding of what ecumenism would imply in detail and to ascertain whether our New Apostolic members would be prepared to go along with this process of opening up our Church. That was in 2015.

Two years later, this became a full membership—an important step in the direction of recognition. Concerning this, the new chairman explains: “Guest membership entitles a group to participate in all meetings and activities of the Council, to submit statements on various topics as well as joint statements and initiatives, after consultation with the responsible authorities of all member churches. Full membership grants us voting rights as well. Notwithstanding this, the churches retain their full autonomy and independence with regard to creed, doctrine, liturgy, ecclesiastical disciplines, and the performance of their own duties.”

A tight schedule for the year

According to the statutes, the Council chairman is elected for one year. After that, his term ends and the chairmanship passes to a successor. There are no provisions for direct re-election. This requires a tight work schedule. Clément Haeck has captioned his term of office with the motto: “One body—many members” (1 Corinthians 12: 12), and pledged a number of programme points: “I plan to diligently continue the process of collective reflection and the pursuit of collective initiatives begun by my predecessor in the area of credible Christian witness, service, and Christian commitment—particularly during this pandemic. I plan to continue to promote listening, cooperation, and collegiality among the member churches, and develop and expand dialogue with other Christian churches. I will serve as the contact person for the Council of Religions in Luxembourg, in which the New Apostolic Church is also represented.”

His wish list also includes the formation of working groups on questions of joint ecumenical celebrations or weddings, and the performance of joint concerts in Christian churches.

In addition, he must keep an eye on the public relations work of the CCC, so that it can become better known for its various efforts in Luxembourg. Regular contact with the neighbouring work groups of Christian Churches and ecumenical institutions—for example, in Belgium, France, and Germany, should not go unmentioned either. On 29 October 2020, the new Council president will participate in a meeting of the Council of Christian Churches Southwest in Neustadt/Weinstraße in Germany—provided the Covid-19 situation allows for it.

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Peter Johanning
Denominations, People/Personalities