“Hope with grounding”

This year’s synod of the Protestant Church in Germany starts with a church service in Bonn this Sunday. The focus of the four-day deliberation will be the balance sheet on the 500. Reformation anniversary and future prospects.

This year’s synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) began on Sunday with ecumenical accents and appeals for effective climate protection. In his report, the chairman of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, highlighted the increased closeness of Protestants and Catholics in the year of 500. Reformation anniversary highlighted. In a greeting, Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki praised the EKD for not celebrating division and discord, but "a celebration of Christ and his grace". The Catholics would have been "more than happy" to be invited to do so.

Ecumenical thoughts at the beginning

Bedford-Strohm admitted that there are still "weighty hurdles on the way to a visible unity in reconciled diversity". But they are "surmountable and not necessarily church-dividing," added the top representative of German Protestants. Archbishop Woelki of Cologne pointed out that the Catholic and Protestant churches were equally affected by a repression of the Christian faith in society.

To stop the breakdown of tradition, Bavarian Bishop Bedford-Strohm called for the church to open up more to young people. This is one of the central challenges for the church of the future. At the same time, the EKD Council President warned the churches against moral appeals. Hints and suggestions for an open refugee policy and for energetic charity in the integration of refugees would have been perceived by more than a few people as prerizing hold-out slogans. The church should take its positions to the public with "canvassing reason" to overcome the appearance of moralism.

Appeal against resignation

In the opening service of the synod, Rhenish President Manfred Rekowski warned against suppressing global problems such as climate change and resigning in the face of the worldwide need of many people. "In some parts of this earth, for example in Europe and North America, we have settled down, and many evidently have the faint hope that things may go on like this for a while longer with our life and our prosperity," he said. However, people in the southern hemisphere of the earth were already suffering the consequences of global warming.

Armin Laschet (CDU), prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, also addressed the synod, rejecting an upper limit for asylum seekers and advocating an immigration law. "A fundamental right for the politically persecuted has no upper limit," said Laschet. On the other hand, it was clear to everyone, including the churches, "that you can’t take in a million people every year," the CDU deputy leader stressed. "For this, there is no need for party slogans or electoral campaigns that are run on this theme."

Review of the anniversary of the Reformation and future prospects

The Protestant Church had celebrated 500 years of Reformation until the end of October. In 1517, Martin Luther (1483-1546) published his 95 Theses against the grievances of the church of his time, which, according to tradition, he read on 31 December of that year. October nailed to the door of Wittenberg’s Castle Church. The posting of the theses is considered the starting point of the worldwide Reformation, which resulted in the split between the Protestant and Catholic churches.

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