FIACAT.News No. 80 provides information on the activities of FIACAT and ACATs during the second half of 2013.
German-Speaking ACATs’ Meeting
The so-called German-speaking ACATs - ACAT French-Speaking Belgium, ACAT Dutch-speaking Belgium, ACAT Germany, ACAT Luxembourg, ACAT Netherlands, ACAT Switzerland and the ACAT Group of the Czech Republic – met with FIACAT from 25 to 27 October 2013 in Luxembourg.
This meeting was designed to identify the problems faced by these ACATs in the current climate, to facilitate discussion on how they could share their skills and to set in motion a process of turning ideas into actions.
All of these associations have some strengths in common, such as the strong commitment of the decision-making and executive authorities and the work in a network with other associations. Nevertheless, they are all suffering of the aging of their decision-making bodies and are struggling to recruit new members, particular from among young people. They have difficulty getting church communities to understand the need for human dignity to be defended.
This state of affairs established, it was important to reflect on the future of these ACATs who share German as a common language and on the implementation of an efficient working solidarity between them. This task was carried out in three working groups: one on skills sharing, another on relationships with Churches and a third on European activities.
The group on skills sharing accepted ACAT Switzerland’s proposal of sending their urgent Appeals to the other ACATs, in German, for a test period of six months from January 2014 and, on request, online brochures, and campaign and petition documents, still in German.
All of the ACATs present will share the petitions put forward by ACAT Switzerland on 10 October and FIACAT on 10 December. This collaboration will enable not only a reduction in the work of "smaller ACATs", but it will also increase their impact through joint interventions.
The working group on relationships with Churches insisted on the importance of Christian faith, the single source of our fight, even if the Christian brand is not well recognised in our societies. Contact with church leaders and parishes should be increased steadily. Furthermore, points of contact with the growing number of Christians who do not regularly attend church must be sought, in particular among young people.
Finally, the group on European activities has defined this meeting as a first step in a long process of reflexion on a European level. This should certainly enable action plans to be shared more easily and to continue evolving.
The decision was taken to meet again in Luxembourg next autumn, under the auspices of FIACAT This meeting would be open to all European ACATs who wish to attend, even though some time should be put aside for the German-speaking ACATs to continue their specific work.
A huge thank you to the ACAT Switzerland secretariat, a young and professional team, who generously gave us a particular push in the direction of "Tomorrow’s ACAT" which we have just launched. A big thank you also to ACAT Luxembourg who have agreed to host the follow-up meeting and to take care of all the logistics involved.
We look forward to seeing you soon, ACATs of Europe!
Member of FIACAT International Bureau