Protestant Churches of France and Switzerland present joint project in the context of the “500 Years of Reformation” Jubilee

In 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg, setting off the Reformation in Europe. Now, the churches in 35 European countries are preparing to celebrate 500 years of Reformation in 2017. Inspired by Luther, the United Protestant Church of France (EPUdF) and the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) want to encourage their parishes to draft their own “Theses for the Gospel” in today’s world by 2017.

During a meeting in Paris on September 26, 2014, the representatives of the Protestant Churches in France and Switzerland presented to each other their respective versions of the brochure “Mit 40 Themen auf dem Weg” (“On our way with 40 topics”). The EPUdF was represented by President Laurent Schlumberger, Jan-Albert Roetman, the coordinator of the interregional organization team for 2017, and Claire Sixt-Gateuille, who is in charge of international relations. The FSPC’s representative was Serge Fornerod, head of the “500 Years of Reformation” project. “We let ourselves be inspired by Martin Luther and wonder: What are our ‘theses,’ our convictions regarding the Gospel, today?” explains Jan-Albert Roetman. He is responsible for the concept design of the brochure.

The material compiled by the EPUdF was adapted and translated into German by the FSPC. The folio brochure “Mit 40 Themen auf dem Weg” contains 40 topics and invites readers to contemplate one question at a time, to immerse themselves in images and to reread passages from the Bible. On 40 pages, we can come face to face with faith – and there’s also a good bit of humor involved. The brochure, which was widely distributed in France in late 2013, can be ordered in Switzerland and the other German-speaking countries from November 2014 at www.ref-500.ch.

With this project, the FSPC is building an intercultural bridge, giving almost 100 million German speakers access to a brochure full of questions and food for thought “made in France.” Regarding the Reformation Jubilee in 2017, more products are in the works, including a smartphone app that will be available soon in Switzerland and Europe. “We are looking forward to our collaboration with the French church. Regarding the Reformation celebrations, this collaboration illustrates two key aspects. First, that the Reformation is a European and an international concern. And that in the Protestant idea of church, the parishes are the heart and center,” Serge Fornerod emphasizes.

The EPUdF is organizing a day on the topic of “Protester pour Dieu et protester pour l’Homme” (“Affirming God and affirming human beings”) in the individual regions and in numerous consistories and will establish a Twitter feed for this occasion (#theses2017) – an opportunity to talk about and discuss the values and convictions of Protestant Christians in our society today. The contributions to this awareness day will be compiled in a White Paper at www.theses2017.fr.