European Protestant churches: renewed strength for upcoming Reformation Jubilee

The CPCE General Assembly in Florence was a success, the FSPC delegation reports, also paying tribute to outgoing CPCE president Thomas Wipf.
Logo der GEKE-Vollversammlung 2012.

The Protestant Churches in Europe will approach the 2017 Reformation jubilee with renewed strength. This is the impression gained by the delegation of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches at the end of the General Assembly of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE). From September 20 to 26, delegates from 105 European churches met in Florence to set the CPCE’s course for the coming years.

During the General Assembly, FSPC President Gottfried Locher was elected to join the three-member presidium and FSPC Executive Secretary for Ecumenism Martin Hirzel, was elected deputy council member. Locher succeeds former FSPC President Thomas Wipf, who vacated his office in Florence after twelve years in the presidium and six years as the CPCE’s Executive President. “Thomas Wipf has established the CPCE as the voice of Protestants in Europe. In Florence, the church community is proving itself to be more vibrant than ever,” Gottfried Locher said, honoring the outgoing President.

In the coming legislative period, the CPCE will reflect on the position of its church community and work on coming to terms with the plurality of religions in Europe. The FSPC had successfully promoted these topics in Florence. In addition, the delegates decided to launch the “Europa Reformata” project for preparing the 2017 Reformation jubilee. The FSPC will prepare a parallel project in Switzerland.

Delegation member Michel Müller, church council president of the Zurich Reformed Church, mentioned the spirited debates on the forum day “Churches in Europe on the Move,” explaining that this was the first time a pan-European view on the reform processes of the churches has been achieved. “Discussing experiences of failure and success gave us valuable impulses for the processes in our churches,” Müller stated.

Ysabelle de Salis, a delegation member of the Neuenburg Reformed Church, stressed the networking function of the CPCE. According to de Salis, one important signal in Florence was the signing of agreement with the Conférence des Églises Protestantes des Pays Latins d’Europe CEPPLE. “Twenty minority churches from six Southern European countries will now form a new regional group. This strengthens the French language region within the CPCE, de Salis explained.