After the devastation caused by the Second World War, the founding fathers of Europe Konrad Adenauer, Robert Schuman and Alcide de Gasperi met at a monastery on the Rhine for meditation and prayer before the beginning of the delicate negotiations of the Treaty of Rome.
Faith had a central place in the creation of a united Europe. As Robert Schuman said: “we are called to bethink ourselves of the Christian basics of Europe by forming a democratic model of governance which, through reconciliation, develops into a community of peoples deeply rooted in Christian fundamental values.” Some forty years later, in the 90s, the then President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors highlighted that beyond the common rules, beyond law and economy, Europe needs a soul, it needs spirituality and meaning.
As we look at Jesus of Nazareth and the principles which He taught and by which He lived, we see around Him a group of people He called friends who were central to His life. They had a commitment to each other and to a message which revolutionized the world. These principles hinged on two basic premises: to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and to love your neighbour as yourself. Jesus said that all other things hung on the framework of these two commands. This is a simple equation but has amazing power to change the world in which we live. The European Prayer Breakfast (EPB) was established in 1998 on these ideas.
This annual event is a facilitator for such a philosophy. It is a meeting place where people can come together and encourage each other to seek relationships which are focused around Jesus and his teachings.
Hosted by Members of the European Parliament, with participants from other European institutions, the goal is to encourage committed relationships in these arenas which will continue into the future. In most meetings in Brussels, the agenda, the speakers, and the programme take a central stage. The intent of the EPB, however, is to be relationship-driven rather than agenda-driven.
Jesus spoke often of our responsibility to the poor of our society; therefore this concern is also fundamental to our existence. Believing that good national leadership is the key to alleviating the needs of the poor, we desire to create an environment where leaders can meet and encourage actions to alleviate human suffering.
We endeavour to provide an environment where friendships can flourish across political, philosophical and religious differences. The EPB is one of approximately 130 gatherings in nations around the world, where leaders meet in a similar way.