“Stable, capable of action and safe from state influence”

German Protestant Kirchentag – Young people show their scarf with the Kirchentag motto © Bernd Thissen

Representatives of the Evangelical Church in Germany commemorated the founding of the regional church union 75 years ago. At the same time, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, chairman of the EKD council, raised awareness for the tasks of the future.

"I think with gratitude of the people who laid the foundation stone for the Evangelical Church in Germany 75 years ago today," said EKD Council President Heinrich Bedford-Strohm. "After the failure of the church under National Socialism, they wanted to conclude a federation of churches that would be stable, capable of acting, and safe from state influence."

The Bavarian bishop described the decision to put individual denominational and state church interests at the back of the queue as forward-looking. "The fact that the Protestant Church in Germany is recognizable in public is important, especially in an increasingly pluralistic society."This also requires the institutional framework that was created in 1945. According to Synod President Irmgard Schwaetzer, the founding of the EKD was marked by the diversity of lived faith.

Equality and diversity

Today, she said, diversity is visible not least in the equal participation of women in the pastorate and in leadership positions. "After the war, men still dominated in our church, too," Schwaetzer says. "Meanwhile, a characteristic of the Protestant Church is that in it – unlike in many other religious communities – the sexes are equal," said the synod president, adding, "Diversity will also make up the future of the church with a stronger community spirit."

Bedford-Strohm and Schwaetzer made their remarks on the sidelines of a meeting with former synod presides and council members in Berlin. The EKD, as an association of Lutheran, Reformed and Uniate regional churches, was named as the "Church of the Future" at a meeting of Protestant church leaders on 27. to 31. Founded August 1945 in Treysa, Hesse. The Church Conference constituted the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany and determined its personnel composition.

The then Wurttemberg state bishop Theophil Wurm (1868-1953) was elected as the first council chairman. The Protestant Relief Organization, which was merged with the Inner Mission in 1957 to form the Diakonisches Werk of the EKD, was also founded by the church conference in Treysa.

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