Standing up for the weak and challenging the strong

Standing up for the weak and challenging the strong

The state synod of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland began in Bad Neuenahr on Sunday. The main topic of the church parliament of almost 2.5 million Protestants between the Lower Rhine and Saar is social commitment in society.

The shrinking popular church must continue to fulfill its mission despite dwindling resources, said Vice President Christoph Pistorius at the opening service. "The 57-year-old theologian stressed that the church and the diaconate have the task of pointing to Christ in their words and actions and of "proclaiming his presence in this world," "be it in standing up for the disenfranchised and the tormented, the suffering and the quiet, be it in questioning the strong and the clever, the self-sufficient and the loud, or be it in struggling to find the way of our church.".

Independence from church resources

God is not dependent on church resources, concepts and resolutions and can provide nourishment and fulfillment "beyond all human understanding," Pistorius said in his homily on the parable of the "feeding of the five thousand" in Mark's Gospel.

This narrative calls for giving generously of scarce resources, and is thus an "antidote" to the laws of the market: "For once, it's not about supply and demand, but about getting enough for everyone," Pistorius said, according to the speech text. "So the story is at the same time an attack on all those who want to make money from scarcity and hunger."

The synod will deliberate until Thursday on central ies of Germany's second-largest regional church, discussing in particular church social work. Sunday afternoon's agenda included a presentation by Diakonie President Ulrich Lilie. Rhineland-Palatinate's Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) and the deputy chairwoman of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and Westphalian President Annette Kurschus were expected to deliver welcoming speeches.

Church law on protection against sexualized violence

On Monday, Praeses Manfred Rekowski will present his traditional "Report on Events of Significance for the Church" to the Church Parliament. Other topics of the five-day synod are a church law on protection against sexual violence, the relationship of Christians and Jews and an investigation into unplanned millions in additional costs for the conversion of financial software. Civilian sea rescue and greater participation of young people in church bodies also occupy the 206 voting members of the regional synod. In addition, two part-time members of the church leadership will be newly appointed.

The state synod is the supreme body of the Rhenish Church, which has 37 church districts and 668 parishes covering parts of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and Saarland. With 2.45 million members, the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland is the second largest of the 20 Protestant regional churches in Germany.

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