“Theses for the Gospel”: Most of the Swiss Reformed churches have already joined the process.

Twenty Reformed cantonal churches of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches are already writing their new “Theses for the Gospel”: in 2015, 500 years after Martin Luther, the Swiss reformed churches is updating his famous theses.

In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg and thus sparked the Reformation in Europe. Now, 500 years later, it is high time for a fresh start. At this juncture, the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) launched the process “Our Theses for the Gospel” last year. As part of this process, the 26 Reformed churches received a brochure “40 Themes for the Road” (currently available in French “40 thèmes pour cheminer” and German “Mit 40 Themen auf dem Weg”) developed by the United Protestant Church of France.

Twenty churches have already begun the cantonal process, and the 40 themes are being discussed across Switzerland—from St. Gallen to Geneva, from Grisons to Freiburg. Parishioners, pastors and church leaders are sharing their thoughts, feelings and lives rooted in the common faith. The themes comprise a broad range of questions. For example, while it is asked whether God can be plural, answers to the question “Being free—yes, but how?” should be found. Questions to the Reformed notion of work ethics, Sunday, responsibilities towards the environment, poverty and ageing complement the spectrum.

Churches are invited to publish their theses to inspire others. A platform is available for that purpose on the web page of the Swiss Reformation Jubilee at www.ref-500.ch (French or German). The thematic brochure can be ordered and downloaded there. A postcard set invites you to invite others to this process. In a video presentation, Bettina Beer-Aebi, project manager, explains why the participation in this process is a rewarding experience.

The theses will be collected canton-wise until the summer of 2016. The FSPC will present the churches its first synthesis of the theses submitted on 7 November 2016 during its Autumn Assembly of Delegates in the presence of national and international guests. The synthesis will be then discussed in the churches in 2017 and presented as the keynote of the Swiss Reformed faith at international meetings from 2017 onwards.

NB: Individual theses are discussed publicly at ref.ch on Facebook. For participation, please go to: https://www.facebook.com/refpunktch.