Mormon Newsroom
News Release

EU Commission Invites Elder Patrick Kearon to High-Level Meeting with Religious Leaders

With several European senior representatives from various religions including Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Jewish faiths, Elder Patrick Kearon, President of the Europe Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met to discuss “Migration, Integration and European Values: putting values into action” on 29th November 2016.

As part of the ongoing European Commission dialogue with churches and religious organisations, this year’s high-level meeting was hosted by Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, and was attended by several EU officials. This year marks the third year in a row that a representative of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has attended since the Church opened its office in Brussels in 2013.

 

Commenting on his invitation to attend this year’s summit, Elder Kearon said:

“Since last year’s summit, we have encouraged European Latter-day Saints to draw closer to refugees. We have learned that for our own people, their attitudes toward refugees have been determined by the way they have reached out to them. When you interact with and help somebody, you grow to love them, and that is what has happened.”

   

First Vice-President Timmermans invited participants to reflect on the current challenges and opportunities the European Union (EU) is facing. Some areas of discussion included: 1) Diverse European societies and integration of migrants; 2) Societal challenges resulting from the economic and refugee crisis; 3) How to bring back trust in society, in institutions, in solidarity?

The set of proposals for action included in the European Commission’s Action Plan on the Integration of Third-Country Nationals guided the discussion. Particularly, around the notion of "European values" and how these can be meaningfully put into action.

Focussing on the values of faith, family and religious freedom as well as the critical role the values of human dignity and respect for our neighbours should play in shaping EU policies, Elder Kearon stated:

“As leaders of faith, what we can do best is to encourage our own people to help and give a warm welcome. That will start to facilitate the acceptance of those values we hold dear. Being a refugee does not define who these people are. They are refugees for a season. It is so fulfilling to do something that has immediate value for those who are in such desperate need.” He informed religious leaders and the European Commission’s officials about the Church’s experience in partnering with other faiths, governments and NGOs to help with the integration of those who lost everything. Closing his remarks, Elder Kearon said: “Today, I am advocating that we encourage people of our faith to reach out and help.”​

Since 2009, the Lisbon Treaty has enshrined open, transparent, and regular dialogue with churches and religious communities, as well as philosophical and non-confessional organisations into primary law. (Art 17 TFEU).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a Christian faith with half a million members in Europe, seeks cooperation with political and institutional bodies as well as 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

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.