Kirchengemeinschaft (Germany)

‘Kirchengemeinschaft’ between the UCC and the Union of Evangelical Churches (UEK) in Germany

In 1981, General Synod declared a relationship of “church communion” (Kirchengemeinschaft) with the Evangelical* Church of the Union (EKU). The EKU was an historic union of the Lutheran and Reformed traditions in Germany. It was the ancestral church of many German-American pioneers who founded the “Evangelical Synod in the United States”—one of the UCC’s antecedent tradtions.

In 2003 the EKU joined with other “United” and Reformed churches in Germany to create a larger body: the Union of Evangelical Churches (UEK). The commitments of the 1981 declaration of Kirchengemeinschaft will be transferred by the action of both churches to the new UEK.

Relationships between the U.S. and German churches are broad and deep. A number of UCC congregations partner with Evangelical parishes in Germany, and there are formal exchanges between UCC Conferences and their partner Landeskirchen (regional churches) of the UEK. Youth and clergy exchanges are common. The leadership of the two churches frequently make common cause on issues of international relations and social justice.

* While “evangelical” in the U.S. is often understood to mean a certain conservative tradition of Christianity, in most other languages the word simply means “Protestant.” The first Christians to call themselves “evangelical” were the churches of the Lutheran Reformation in Germany; most Protestant bodies in Germany call themselves “Evangelical,” “Evangelical Lutheran” or “Evangelical Reformed.” Luther chose the word because it closely identified the Reformation with the Gospel: the Greek word for Gospel is evangelion, so an “evangelical” church can be understood simply as a “Gospel church.”

2011 UEK Synod affirms Kirchengemeinschaft
2003 General Synod Reaffirms Kirchengemeinschaft
1981 General Synod affirms Kirchengemeinschaft

  Current Relationships
 Conference/Ministry Setting
 UEK Partner
 California, Nevada Northern Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg Oberlausitz
 Central Atlantic Evangelical Church in Central Germany
 Kansas-Oklahoma Baden
 Indiana-Kentucky Westphalia
 Michigan Pomerania
New York  Hesse-Nassau and
Berlin City Center Evangelisher Kirchenkreis Berlin Staatmitte 
 Ohio Westphalia
 Pacific Northwest Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg Oberlausitz
 Penn Central Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg Oberlausitz and Evangelical Church of the Rhineland
 Penn Southeast Evangelical Regional Church of Anhalt
 Penn West Pomerania (This relationship is currently dormant)
 Southern Evangelical Church of the Rhineland
 Wisconsin  Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg Oberlausitz and Evangelical Church in the Rhineland
Council for Health and Human Service Ministries (CHHSM) Diakonie in the Rheinland, Westphalia, and Lippe
 The German Lutheran and Roman Catholic Lectionaries: A Historical-Comparative Study

Wisconsin Conference hosts Westend Gospel Singers of Eberswalde, Germany

Kirchengemeinschaft at 25: Berlin Colloquy and final statement

The Evangelical Churches in the GDR and their Participation in East-West Cooperation,” by Christa Grengel

Come and See” – UCC and UEK Fora Joint Delegation to Israel/Palestine (Feb.-March 2019) report and reflections

Choosing the Way of Life (2019)
Sermon preached by Rev. Barbara Kershner Daniel, former Global Ministries Board member, to partner church, Evangelical Kirchengemeinde Inden-Langerwehe in Germany on July 14, 2019.

“From Manhattan to Mainhattan” documentary focuses on the Protestant Church of Hessen and Nassau (EKHN) partnership with the American church United Church of Christ (UCC).

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