During his recent visit to the European Union institutions in Brussels, Belgium, Elder Patrick Kearon of the Seventy, and President of the Europe Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, met with Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner on Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management. He was accompanied by Francesco Di Lillo, Head of the Church’s EU Office, and Gilles Francois, Church Welfare Manager for the Europe Area.
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Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have worked for many years supporting the efforts of governmental, international and non-governmental organisations to ease refugees’ burdens. This visit offered Elder Kearon the opportunity to learn about the status of aid provided to refugees in Europe and abroad by the European Commission, and to inquire what more the Church can do to help. Commissioner Stylianides was very interested in the initiatives the Church has carried out across and beyond Europe. The Church has worked independently or in partnership with other organisations such as UNICEF, UNHCR, Red Cross, International Rescue Committee, International Medical Corps, Catholic Relief Services, and many others. All in all the Church co-operates in Europe with more than 220 partners, assisting in 23 countries with humanitarian aid.
“I am very impressed,” commented Commissioner Stylianides. He then highlighted the growing need of projects addressing education in both emergency situations and to support the integration of migrants. “We are in the same boat on this. The contribution of churches and religious organizations like yours is of immense value.” Commissioner Stylianides invited the Church to share ideas and suggestions on initiatives where the Commission and the Church could work together.
“What the refugee crisis represents for our church,” said Elder Kearon, “is an opportunity for many of our members to reach out and help. We have all been uplifted in this service, and our Church is willing to continue to work with our partners and with the European Commission to offer our help to those in need.”
During his visit in Brussels, Elder Patrick Kearon also attended this year’s European Commission High-Level Meeting with religious leaders and presented the second annual European Family Values Award to two Members of the European Parliament.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a Christian faith with half a million members in Europe, opened its European Union office in Brussels in 2013. To better serve the European community, the Church seeks cooperation with political and institutional bodies by reaching out to international NGOs, religious organisations, and civil society.
You can learn more about the Church’s EU Office activities in Brussels on its Facebook page:www.facebook.com/MormonsEU