Twelve years before the signing of the Leuenberg Agreement an alliance of churches had formed along the Rhine which practised an ecumenism within Protestantism. After the Second World War this alliance, the Conference of Churches on the Rhine (CCR), made it its task to play its part in the new peaceful Europe which was taking shape. The Rhine, for many decades and centuries a line of demarcation, was to become the symbol of solidarity and reconciliation in Europe.
For its first meeting in 1961 the CCR came together on the Liebefrauenberg in Switzerland. Initially no sequel to the meeting was envisaged. But the conversations and encounters with the sister churches of neighbouring countries proved so stimulating and fruitful that such meetings were also planned for the future. From the very beginning that work of the churches along the Rhine which crosses frontiers lay at the centre of interest. In time three forms of collaboration became established. First, the CCR organizes annual conferences on topical European themes. Secondly, over and above the thematic work, these conferences offer the possibility of encounter and reciprocal exchanges between the churches and so lay the foundation for common projects which cross frontiers. Thirdly, as early as the end of the 1970s the CCR took the initiative in establishing an Ecumenical Secretariat in the European institutions in Strasbourg which in the course of time developed into today’s Strasbourg office of the Conference of European Churches’ Church and Society Commission.
As all the member churches of the CCR are likewise signatory churches of the Leuenberg Agreement, in recent years the idea has taken shape of also incorporating the CCR institutionally into the CPCE as a regional group. At the CCR conference in May 2008 this process was completed with the signing of an agreement to become a regional group.
The following churches participate in the Conference of the Churches on the Rhine: