CPCE Synod Members Assembled in Bern this Reformation Year

2017. március 28., kedd

Representing 100 churches and 30 countries, over 100 synod members from the churches of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE) met from 10-12 March in Bern, including two RCH representatives. The meetings theme was “Being Protestant in the House of Religions” and focused on how the Christian faith acts with regard to other religions.

The conference in the Old Town of Berne was the third such meeting following those in Bad Boll, Germany in 2012 and Budapest in 2014. The event was part of the celebrations taking place in Switzerland to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. With the conference motto “Being Protestant in the House of Religions”, the event included a visit to Bern’s House of Religions, a unique institution within Europe that serves as a center of dialogue and culture bringing together eight religious traditions.

The three-day conference in Budapest in 2014 was hosted by the Protestant Churches in Hungary and the Evangelical Church of Rhineland, Germany. The meeting closed with delegates of the Synods and governing conferences of Protestant churches committing to: passing on the faith to all through word and deed; dialogue that is interfaith, and encourages peace and welcoming of refugees; faith in action or human dignity, peace, justice, and integrity of creation; and communion of churches, through regular meetings of the delegates of the Synods, to strengthen communion among protestant churches. The recent gathering in Bern built upon this foundation.

As Gottfried Locher, President of the CPCE and the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) explained: “Europe is multicultural and multireligious. We wish to live together in peace but that can be a challenge at times.” He added that “Bern’s House of Religions does valuable work. Religions speak with one another there, not about one another.”

In five workshops, participants discussed matters of urgency to the Protestant churches of Europe. The conference focused in particular on how the Christian faith acts with regard to other religions. This question is just as much a current topic at the CPCE as is the matter of how to further deepen the community among the Protestant churches of Europe and make this community more visible.

The RCH was represented at this meeting by Mr. Tibor Ábrám, Lay President of the Cistibiscan Church District as well as by Rev. Eszter Karsay who is an ordained pastor, member of the RCH Synod, and member of RCH's Eco-Congregation Council.

The synod member conference is tied into the process of preparing for the 2018 CPCE General Assembly in Basel. The synod members will report back to their churches on the results of their work and will come together to agree on a message to be presented to the Council and CPCE General Assembly. This message will also include whether and how this platform of expanded exchange among Europe’s Protestant churches is to be continued.

All those interested were invited to attend the public festive worship service on Sunday, March 12 in the Bern Minster. Gottfried Locher, President of the CPCE and FSPC, gave the sermon. There was also an opportunity to meet with council members in front of the Basel Minster following the service.

“Being Protestant in the House of Religions” was organized together by the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe, the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, and the Reformed Churches of Bern-Jura-Solothurn. The goals of the synod member gatherings included the deepening of church community, strengthening avenues of democratic cooperation, and contributing toward European unity.

 

Article adapted from http://www.kirchenbund.ch

Edited by Kearstin Bailey

Image via istockphoto.com

 

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We encourage you to read our GM intern Kearstin Bailey's blog about her time in Hungary.