2017 Reformation jubilee: Gottfried Locher and Margot Kässmann advocate strong joint effort

The Reformation decade presents a tremendous opportunity for the Protestant church, FSPC President Gottfried Locher and Margot Kässmann, the Reformation jubilee ambassador of the German Protestant Church (EKD), stated today in Zurich. Locher’s suggestion for a shared motto: “If you believe you are free.”

“We are facing years filled with challenges to advance the development of our church, to rebuild it,” Gottfried Locher explained in his opening remarks at the summit meeting with Margot Kässmann, the ambassador of the Reformation jubilee of the German Protestant Church (EKD). During today’s meeting in Zurich, the FSPC President and the former EKD Council President discussed joint plans for the Reformation jubilee in Germany and Switzerland. The meeting took place as part of the synod of the Reformed Church of Zurich Canton.

“If you believe you are free,” Locher suggested as the motto of the Reformation jubilee. “Whoever wants to reform the church would do well to keep in mind three things: Tranquility, motion, community,” Locher explained. Easing into tranquility and silence marks a momentary escape from the surrounding noise: “Both of them, Zwingli and Luther, developed their ideas in the tranquility of a monastery.” The Gospel sets things in motion, “opening our eyes for the new and empowering us to let go of the old,” the FSPC President emphasized. And motion begets community: “We are the church – together.” The separation of denominations “simply cannot be the last word,” Locher stated, adding that the ecumenical progress first requires more unity among the Protestant churches.

The Reformation decade is “not about staking claims,” Margot Kässmann agreed. The year 2017 will see the first big jubilee after one hundred years of ecumenism. The ambassador thanked the FSPC and the EKD for the planned joint symposium on the Reformation jubilee in Zurich in the fall of 2013. On this occasion, Kässmann said, the churches would be able to deepen their conviction that “differences do not have to be divisive,” adding that the Reformation was a multi-faceted movement that changed the state as well as the church. And this is what the churches must communicate today. “And this also has political consequences,” Kässmann explained. “The church must take a stand against human rights violations wherever they occur.”

“In a secularized society, the shared witness of Christians is enormously important,” the former EKD Council President emphasized. “The more strength we show, the better our chances of being heard.”

More information on the Reformation jubilee