Summer Assembly: Reformed Churches Launch Reformation Jubilees (Video/Documents)

Addressing the delegates of the FSPC Assembly of Delegates in Aarau, FSPC President Gottfried Locher stresses the importance of defining core message for the upcoming Reformation celebrations.

“If you believe, you are free.” With these words, Gottfried Locher, President of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, opened the discussion about defining a core message for the Reformation celebrations. At the Assembly of Delegates, in session from June 17-19 in Aarau, around 70 delegates of the 26 Protestant FSPC member churches discussed the upcoming celebrations of the 500 year Reformation jubilee.

“For me, this sentence perfectly embodies a central tenet of Reformed theology, a tenet that is not expressed in such clarity by any other denomination,” stated Locher, who stressed the importance of a joint, focused message in his Council President’s Address: “We must condense and concentrate – otherwise no one will hear us.”

Locher emphasized that the definition a core message will have an impact on the date of the celebrations. All of Europe, Locher explained, will celebrate the Reformation in 2017, the year marking the 500 year anniversary of Martin Luther posting his theses in Wittenberg. For the Swiss Reformed Protestants, the actual celebrations will only begin in 2019, which commemorates the beginning of Ulrich Zwingli’s efforts in Zurich in 1519. “But with a good message, we will make our mark in 2017,” Locher stated.

A video of Gottfried Locher’s address is available at the FSPC’s relaunched web site, www.sek.ch. There, you can also find the new FSPC bulletin titled “Who Owns the Reformation?”, as well as a discussion paper compiled by the FSPC on the Reformation jubilees.

Gottfried Locher’s Address tied in with the national kickoff conference for the Reformation jubilees in Switzerland, which had taken place a few days earlier in Zurich. About fifty experts and many church representatives had gathered at the conference to discuss common goals and strategies for the Reformation celebrations in the individual churches and cantons.

An international theology conference on the Reformation jubilees together with the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD) will be held next year. The conference is meants to strengthen the international dimension of the jubilees.