Pan-European Festival of the Reformation

Community of Protestant Churches in Europe sets new aims and objectives

The Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE) has called for a pan-European festival to celebrate the Reformation, emphasising its intent to “illuminate the European-wide dimension of the Reformation” in a resolution passed at the close of its General Assembly in Florence. The towns and cities that were particularly involved in the history of the Reformation shall be awarded the title “European Town of Reformation”. The CPCE’s 106 Protestant member churches will also set up a central Reformation website, and a dedicated logo will be designed to mark the occasion. An academic seminar on the subject will be organised as well as a special symposium inviting members of the European Parliament to commemorate the anniversary with the CPCE.

The CPCE hopes that the churches’ efforts to highlight the Reformation will also inspire wider discussion amongst the general public right across Europe, reflecting upon the social and cultural impetuses set in motion by the Reformation. The Reformation’s ecclesiastical, social and spiritual inspiration extends around the whole world and across the centuries until this very day. General Secretary Michael Bünker reminded everyone that we should be grateful that the Protestant Church exists; this very fact alone outweighing the more detailed considerations whether the anniversary should be celebrated more as a jubilee or an act of remembrance.

Europe’s Protestants intend to do more than simply mark the anniversary of the Reformation, and the Final Report passed by the General Assembly in Florence emphasises the churches’ desire to invest considerable effort in their own “spiritual and structural renewal”. A report will be commissioned on the subject, and the CPCE is due to participate in a series of related consultations organised by the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches and the Evangelical Church in Germany, scheduled for 2013. The CPCE will also assist its member churches to undertake a broad exchange of ideas and experience gathered from the most innovative projects and processes of renewal as they take place.

The CPCE has also set itself a new series of tasks for prioritisation until the next General Assembly. The diversity of religions now practised within Europe will be a key issue over the coming years. A report will be compiled on this subject, which should establish the sociological situation and the appropriate theological response of the Church. Various inter-confessional discussions are set to begin or continue during this period, including talks with the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, the Baptist Federation and Orthodox Churches. Contact will be made with the Pentecostal churches and charismatic communities, and “appropriate avenues” sought for “discourse and co-operation with the Christian congregations amongst immigrant communities”.

A formal agreement was also signed with the CEPPLE, Conférence des Eglises Protestantes des Pays Latins d’Europe, at the close of the CPCE’s General Assembly in Florence, with which this fellowship of 20 churches situated throughout six different countries in western and southern Europe has now become the fourth regional group of the CPCE. This step is viewed as an important channel for strengthening future co-operation between the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe and the Protestant Churches of Latin Europe.

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European City of the Reformation