The Evangelical Church in the Rhineland continued its synod on Monday with an appeal to the Middle East from Nikolaus Schneider. Earlier, in an interview with this site, the praeses had already presented the main points of his report. The central question is "How can our lives succeed??"
"Hate and murder" in the Middle East must be deprived of religious legitimacy, Schneider says. This could be "the decisive impetus for a new beginning," Schneider told the Rhineland state synod in Bad Neuenahr on Monday. From the Jewish side, he said, he knew that a meeting of the highest religious authorities on both sides was quite possible.A new beginning can only succeed, however, if Hamas recognizes Israel's right to exist and "if Israel ends the permanent state violations of rights and humiliations against the Palestinians," emphasized the 61-year-old theologian, who is also a member of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany. The attacks on the Gaza Strip lead to humanitarian catastrophes for the inhabitants. "Neither security nor peace will Israel achieve in this way."Schneider at the same time showed understanding for Israel's "tragic" situation. There is no denying that Hamas rocket attacks on targets in Israel would continue "if Israel kept quiet". The top representative of the 2.9 million Rhenish Protestants appealed to the international community to guarantee Israel's security and to vigorously promote Palestine's economic and social development. Progress in ecumenism Schneider sees the dialogue between the two major churches in Germany on a good path. "In spite of all ecumenical irritation, it cannot be overlooked that the fellowship of Christian denominations is more self-evident in everyday practice than ever before."In many areas, such as development cooperation or the joint celebration of church services, there is "a great deal of familiarity and respect among us". At the same time, Schneider complained that the churches had not always adequately addressed important theological debates. This is perhaps also a consequence of the modern media society, according to the president. Supposed unique selling points are often more interesting "than the laborious attempts to discover and promote commonalities". Schneider criticized the workings of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva. The body is "shaken by orthodox obstinacy, organizational weaknesses and challenged by charismatic movements and Pentecostal churches.". The Catholic Church is not a member of the WCC, but has maintained close contacts with the council since the 1960s.
Regional synod recalls founding The Evangelical Church in the Rhineland commemorated its founding 60 years ago with an "Evening of Encounter" on Sunday evening in Bad Neuenahr, Germany. On 9. On November 1948, the deputies of the Rhineland Provincial Synod in Velbert near Dusseldorf passed a resolution to constitute themselves as the "Regional Synod of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland," as Wuppertal historian Volkmar Wittmutz explained to the synod currently in session. This marked the separation from the Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union and the step from a church province to an independent church.A "Rhenish inclination toward independence" and rejection of the authoritarian structures, centralism and authority orientation of the Prussian church had already existed since the Weimar Republic, Wittmutz noted. In view of the ecclesiastical "state of emergency" after the war, the opportunity then arose to implement such endeavors. At the church assembly in Treysa in August 1945, the church provinces were given the right to govern themselves.
First state synod with Gustav Heinemann The first regional synod of the Rhenish Church, which included the mayor of Essen and later German President Gustav Heinemann, passed a church leadership law in Velbert in 1948. It became the basis for the church constitution adopted in 1952, which, among other things, enshrines the presbyterial-synodal principle. The first president was the Essen pastor Heinrich Held (1897-1957), a prominent representative of the Confessing Church.The highest governing body of the Rhenish church is the regional synod, which, after initially changing meeting places, has been meeting annually in Bad Neuenahr, Rhineland-Palatinate, since 1975. In addition to elections and church laws, current historical or political topics have always been on the agenda over the past 60 years. Discussions were held on rearmament and nuclear armament, the anti-racism program, social commitment in the world of work, "political night prayers," projects for the unemployed, the peace ie and environmental problems or the blessing of homosexual couples. The Rhenish Church played a pioneering role in the redefinition of the relationship between Christians and Jews.Today, the Rhenish Church is the second-largest of Germany's 22 Protestant regional churches, with nearly 2.9 million members. It still extends between Emmerich and Saarbrucken over the territory of the former Prussian Rhine Province. The 773 church congregations in 40 church districts are located in North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Hesse. Since 2003, the Rhenish church has been led by Praeses Nikolaus Schneider.