About us

The European Council of Religious Leaders (ECRL) brings together senior religious leaders from Europe’s historical religions, to think and act together on issues of common concern. Members are represented from traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam together with Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and Zoroastrians.

The Council draws upon the spiritual, ethical and moral wisdom of the world’s great religious traditions and leaders, in order to support the building of peace, social harmony and security throughout Europe.

  • Providing preeminent consultative body for multi-national and governmental organisations on a range of issues related to religious communities, beliefs and practices.
  • Providing a credible and authoritative partner for think tanks, civil society actors and academics who are carrying our research and knowledge exchange activities related to Religion’s role in Europe today.
  • Convening members for careful discernment on matters of critical and common concern – outputs of many such meetings can be found below.

ECRL members have been recently active in participating in European level discourse on Hate Speech in partnership with Kaiciid (King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue) and the ODIHR (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights- OSCE). And also participated in forums on topics of Counteracting Violent Extremism. ECRL cooperated with the above mentioned partners to carry out an Expert Consultation on Countering Hate Speech. See the report here: Report on Consultation Findings

Members of ECRL are actively contributing to the RfP Europe working group on Environmental concern and a number of members participated and presented at the Global online conference Faith in Nature held in 2020, which was convened and supported by a number of partners including The Icelandic Government, Soil Conservation Service of Iceland, United Nations Association of Iceland, The United Nations Environment Program, Religions for Peace, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland, along with representatives of diverse Religious communities from around the world. ECRL was responsible for organising the European Hub for this conference.

ECRL members are also supporting the Metropolitan Regions project which seeks to bring together Religious actors and government representatives to learn about effective cooperation for peace and security in diverse Cities. This new project developed out of the Three Cities Project, a project ECRL initiated with the Berlin Senate in 2016 and began with an exchange between Berlin and London.

Jewish

Chief Rabbi Izhak Dayan, Switzerland
Rabbi Schlomo Hofmeister, Austria
Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, The Netherlands
Rabbi Yeshaya Dalsace, France
Gady Gronich, Germany
Shorena Mikava, Germany

Protestant and Anglican

Bishop Elof Westergaard, Denmark
Bishop Martin Hein, Germany
Bishop Kaisamari Hintikka, Finland
Bishop Atle Sommerfeldt, Norway
Revd Dr. Thomas Wipf, Switzerland

Orthodox

Metropolitan Emmanuel, France
Bishop Ioannis of Thermopylae, Greece
Dr Andreas Andreopoulos, United Kingdom

Muslim

Mufti Nedzad Grabus, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, United Kingdom
M.A. Özlem Nas, Germany
Imam Yahya Pallavicini, Italy
Shaykh Sayed Razawi, Scotland, United Kingdom

Catholic

Mr. Etienna De Jonghe, Belgium
Sister Madeleine Fredell, Sweden
Bishop William Kenney, United Kingdom
Dr habil. Agata S. Nalborczyk, Poland

Dharmic Religions

Mr. Dorab Mistry OBE, Zoroastrian, United Kingdom
Bhai Sahib Dr. Mohinder Singh, Sikh, United Kingdom
Gandharvika Prema Devi Dasi, Hindu (ISKCON), Hungary
Dr. Lakshmi Vyas, Hindu, United Kingdom

Advisors

Professor Andreas Herrmann

Dr. Martin Affolderbach

Dr Brinder Mahon

Revd. Joachim Pothmann

Stein Villumstadt

The European Council of Religious Leaders is supported by Professor Mark Owen (University of Winchester) in the capacity of Secretary General and Rebecca Bellamy in the capacity of Executive Secretary. They work closely with ECRL’s elected President Rev. Dr Thomas Wipf and support the development of the Council.

Revd Dr. theol Thomas Wipf has served as the President/Moderator of the European Council of Religious Leaders ECRL – Religions for Peace since 2012. After his time as a protestant-reformed parish Pastor, he was the President of the Reformed Church in Switzerland of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe and Member of the Presidium of the Conference of European Churches. He founded the Swiss Council of Religions and served as its President.

Professor Dr Mark Owen holds a BA in Theology and Religious Studies, MA in World Religions, and PhD in Tibetan Buddhism. Mark has extensive experience of working with interfaith and multi-faith organisations, and an academic and practical background in religious peacebuilding. Dr Owen has been Secretary General of the European Council of Religious Leaders since May 2017, and is also the Director of the Centre of Religion, Reconciliation and Peace, University of Winchester, UK. Mark has carried out research on religion’s roles in peacebuilding and reconciliation in numerous countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Rebecca is part-time Executive Secretary to the European Council of Religious Leaders and has been supporting the council since 2016. Rebecca is not representative of her faith or other professional associations in her service to ECRL.  She is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Rebecca’s main work is as Peacebuilding Coordinator for Quakers in Britain. Previous to this she worked for eight years as the Coordinator for the Centre of Religion Reconciliation and Peace at the University of Winchester and six years managing a Muslim and Jewish dialogue, arts and education charity. Rebecca serves as General Secretary of an ecumenical body of British churches, Faith in Europe. She is also passionate about arts and has organised arts festivals and events in the UK.

Statements and declarations

2020-2023

2015 – 2019

2010-2015

2000-2010

Gallery

Follow our social media channels