Congregations of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church and the challenges of multi-ethnic and multi-confessional environment

The following study on multi-ethnic and multi-confessional contacts in the congregations of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELC) is based on sixteen interviews with the clergy and with congregation workers. Estonia is multi-confessional and multi-ethnic country at the same time. 69,7% of the population are ethnic Estonian. The largest minorities are Russians - 25,2%.

Estonia is situated in the Northern Europe and the territory of the country covers 45,227 km2. Estonia became an independent democratic and parliamentary republic in 1918, and, after the period of Soviet occupation starting from 1940, re-established its independence in 1991. Estonia is divided into fifteen counties. According to official statistics Estonian population is 1,3 million. According to the 2011 census 29% of the Estonian population identified themselves as adherents of some religious tradition. Five largest denominations were specified: Orthodox, Lutheran, Baptist, Roman Catholic and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The contribution of the Orthodox Church in Oltenia (Romania) in the organisation of the Social Assistance for orphans and needy

After the end of the First World War, the Romanian society was facing a serious problem: the large number of collateral victims of war, the most affected being children, the elderly and women. For this reason, the state encouraged the establishment of organisations to protect people in situations of crisis.

The Romanian Orthodox Church was always there for those who have suffered because of the war or of social injustice, being a consolation for the Romanians who put their hope in God.

In Romania, the Orthodox Church was involved in the establishment of organised forms of social assistance, the bigger parishes being able to create foundations to support charity acts. These particular cases needed to be generalized through a unified action of the Church, by following a plan set in smallest details and especially, having the coordination of the local bishop.

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the Challenges of Multiculturalism: a Report from а Case Study

This report is one of the research outcomes of the multinational project “Religion and Multiculturality: Educational Pathways for local church leaders” (CULTA), implemented by six international organisations from Norway, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia and the Netherlands, with the financial support of Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union. The project main goal is to contribute through lifelong learning to the development of advanced knowledge and skills of church representatives in order to respond adequately to the changing society.

The report outlines the methods used by Bulgarian Christian clergy to conduct productive interreligious and interconfessional dialogue, to work with different vulnerable groups of people or to build stable social and peaceful environment. It also identifies what kind of training the church leaderes need to enter in the lifelong learning education. The research include good local practices, which will further help the development of “peer to peer” methodology and project training handbook.

From complaint to strength: An effective method in poor neighbourhoods

Description and experiences of ‘Living Together, Being Together’ (Kooij, 2011)

In the current political culture social problems are more and more being transferred to the so-called ‘civil society’. The civil society is the community that is made by citizens themselves, by being active in associations, informal networks and doing volunteer work. Because of cuts in professional organisations more and more tasks come to lie in voluntary organisations. In poor neighbourhoods there are often complex problems, like poverty, unemployment, debts, domestic violence, social isolation, learning disadvantage, crime and psychological problems. Such problems reinforce each other and cause a negative spiral of problems. For the very reason that many residents in poor neighbourhoods are immigrants, they often don’t know how to get help for their problems in Dutch society. They don’t know how to reach, or have bad experiences with government and professional health care institutions. They get stuck in bureaucracy, get on a waiting list or they encounter incomprehension.

Migration and Multiculturality from the point of view of religious leaders in the Catholic Church in Norway

This report presents some of the findings of the interviews being done by local religious leaders in the Catholic Church in Norway and it's the result of a qualitative study.

The growing number of members is slowly changing the position of the Catholic Church in the society in Norway. The rapid growth is due to the expansion of EU (many people are coming from new member countries from East Europe) and from all parts of Europe being marked by the financial crisis in Europe.