European Baptists and Protestants sign agreement of cooperation

The European Baptist Federation (EBF) and the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE) have signed an agreement committing the two organisations to closer collaboration.

The agreement was signed at a meeting of the EBF near Rome last week by its General Secretary, Tony Peck, and the General Secretary of the CPCE, Michael Buenker.

The two organisations are now “mutually cooperating bodies” and will attend each other’s council meetings and general assemblies.

The agreement also binds them to regular joint meetings and consultations to explore points of common interest and concern.

Peck welcomed the agreement as a “clear sign of closer cooperation”.

“Both branches of the Reformation have much to give to each other and much to receive from each other,” he said.

The agreement commits the organisations to continuing the theological dialogue they have been engaged in since 1999. Much of the dialogue has related to the question of baptism, as Baptists practise only believers’ baptism and do not recognise the baptism of infants.

CPCE said there was, at this point in time, “no question of full Baptist membership” in the CPCE. It nonetheless welcomed the latest commitment to cooperation.

Buenker said: “The agreement has strengthened the common voice of Protestantism in Europe.”

There are 51 national Baptist Unions in the European Baptist Federation. The Community of Protestant Churches in Europe has 105 members from the Lutheran, Reformed, United and Methodist Churches.

Formal and informal relations already exist between many CPCE churches and EBF unions in several European countries, including Britain.