Final Statement 25 Years of Kirchengemeinschaft

The representatives of the UEK Churches and UCC Conferences, who deliberated upon the heritage and future of their communion as Kirchengemeinschaft at its jubilee meeting "25 Years of Kirchengemeinschaft", solemnly and jointly issue the following statement for their churches:

The representatives of the UEK Churches and UCC Conferences, who deliberated upon the heritage and future of their communion as Kirchengemeinschaft at its jubilee meeting "25 Years of Kirchengemeinschaft", solemnly and jointly issue the following statement for their churches:

1) With gratitude we look back upon the supra-ideological and transatlantic ecclesial road fellowship which was officially declared Kirchengemeinschaft (full communion) 25 years ago. Right from the beginning this transcontinental road fellowship bridged the world blocks colliding with each other along the wall in Germany. For far more than 25 years this communion has striven for overcoming separations of humanity and promoting church unity. Orienting on theological decisions of the 20th century (Barmen, ecumenical movement), great care has been taken to assure close exchange and mutual consultation on hot spiritual and theological issues, also keeping in mind the global responsibility of the church. We acknowledge the extraordinary significance and importance of this Kirchengemeinschaft which was officially declared 25 years ago, and therefore endorse the necessity of itsĀ  continuation. Also in view of the far-reaching process of transformation in our churches and in the form of cooperation, we wish to pursue this road fellowship at various levels, continue the theological exchange, and carry out further joint projects.

2) Under reference to the gospel and church's mission, our main concern has been the contribution towards reconciliation, peace and justice and integrity of creation. We commit ourselves and reaffirm to continue to seek mutual consultation and accompaniment as Kirchengemeinschaft and in Kirchengemeinschaft in the face of the challenges of our societies. In the area of theology, our emphasis is laid on the question of

  • practised Kirchengemeinschaft
  • and worship

and in the area of socio-ethical challenges, on the questions of

  • generation (intergenerational justice, sustainable economies)
  • gender justice (balance between family and profession, equal chance)
  • overcoming violence.

3) The Kirchengemeinschaft between UCC and EKU declared 25 years ago was and is a model of ecumenical fellowship and cooperation and common and reciprocal learning.

Meanwhile there are also international and ecumenical fellowships among Protestant churches at other levels. Therefore it is necessary to clarify and specify with a view to keeping a well-structured and fruitful interrelationship among various fellowships.

On the German side, all UEK Churches belong simultaneously to the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE) based on the Leuenberg Agreement. On the American side, the UCC Conferences are part of the Communion of Lutheran, Reformed, Presbyterian and United Churches by signing the "Formula of Agreement."

We are grateful for the growing degree of unity and fellowship among Protestant churches. For a better perceptibility of the communion and an effective common action and simple structures, however, it is necessary and possible to take further steps. We would like to invite you to it.

Within the framework of the reformation of co-existence of the EKD member churches, the communion of EKU has grown into that of UEK. Among the United churches yet to join it, the Evangelical Church in Baden already participates in it. The Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau is preparing to make a decision. The communion is expanding.

4) It is desirable that further EKD member churches and UCC Conferences find a transatlantic partner in the Kirchengemeinschaft for the purpose of direct exchange and joint projects.

We recommend drawing upon the fruitful experiences of 25 years of Kirchengemeinschaft (full communion). We address this recommendation both to the guiding bodies of member churches and conferences and to those of the church alliances in the USA and Germany. We say this all the more urgently in light of the ongoing process of UEK's merging into the EKD.

May the Kirchengemeinschaften of Protestant churches of either side of the Atlantic Ocean come more closely together and strengthen their communion in witness and service! We pray to God for His blessings upon it.

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Irene Troester
Secretary
UEK Head Office
Jebensstrasse 3
10623 Berlin
Germany