Locher: change of perspective on Swiss Protestant Church is needed

Catholic-Protestant ecumenism is in a state of crisis. A change of perspective about the internal unity of Protestantism is needed, FSPC President Gottfried Locher suggested today in his introductory address to the Assembly of Delegates of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches in Berne.
Thomas Flügge, Kirchenbund

“We have the power to unite as one church: the Protestant Church of Switzerland. Celebrating the diversity of individual parishes on a local level while also becoming one church, united: this is an ecumenism we can achieve today.” With these words, Gottfried Locher encouraged the delegates in Berne to chance a “Protestant change of perspective.”

During the opening act of the Assembly of Delegates of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches at Berne City Hall, the FSPC President used his Council President’s address for “some straight talk on official Protestant-Catholic ecumenism,” stating that the ecumenical movement is currently facing “the most difficult phase since its inception.”

“The two big churches in our country are at odds about fundamental issues. Failing to recognize each other as churches and failing to find a common goal towards unity: that is the crisis of ecumenism,” Locher said in front of the seventy-odd delegates of the 26 FSPC member churches.

“Let’s channel our efforts to those places where the merging of churches has a chance today. Let’s focus on Protestant ecumenism. The churches of Reformation share an understanding of church, ministry and the Eucharist, Locher explained, stressing that their differences should be regarded not sources of separation but stimulation.

“The FSPC, too, is ecumenism. Its future also depends on the will to unite,” Locher pointed out. He stated that the most important goal on a European level is to strengthen the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE), adding that on a global scale, the Swiss churches have a home in the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC).

The ecumenical efforts between Catholics and Reformed Christians should not be abandoned, Locher cautioned: “We need each other.” However, it should be clear to everyone that there are some things that will never happen: “Institutional unity, a Catholic-Protestant church, that’s impossible. This is why we need a change of perspective,” the FSPC President stated, adding that the next step must be to forge a Protestant unity. Locher: “The goal has not changed. It is built on shared faith in a common church.”

Download Council President’s Address (german)