The dialogue begins on “Theses on the 500th Reformation Anniversary”

The member churches of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) participated in the process of reflection concerning the “Theses on the 500th Reformation Anniversary”, the outcome of which was the subject of a panel discussion in Bern on November 7, 2016. Re-nowned representatives from the worlds of economics, culture, politics, and the churches took part.
Thomas Flügge, FSPC

from left to right:  Rudolf Wehrli, Guy Morin, Isabelle Chassot, Simon Weber (moderation) Laurent Schlumberger, Esther Schläpfer, Christina Aus der Au

Moderated by Rev. Simon Weber, the participants in the discussion included Isabelle Chassot, Director of the Swiss Federal Office of Culture, Guy Morin, President of the Executive Council of Canton Basel-Stadt, Esther Schläpfer, Pastor at the Bern Minster, Rudolf Wehrli, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Clariant AG, Laurent Schlumberger, President of the United Protestant Church of France, and Christina Aus der Au, President of the 2017 German Protestant Kirchentag Church Gathering.

The two-hour discussion was marked by a variety of strong positions.  The scope of the discussion quickly expanded to involve issues concerning the societal responsibility of churches as a whole. As Rudolf Wehrli observed: “We are part of a society in which the basic values that hold us together have been crumbling, values that have been strongly influenced by the Reformation.” Laurent Schlumberger countered that it was “not the role of the church to offer values but to bear witness to Jesus Christ.” Christina Aus der Au underscored that the Reformed churches have acted and positioned themselves in line with the Gospel.

The participants in the event called on the Reformed churches to speak out more on social issues in the public forum. Today’s panel discussion constituted the first step in a dialogue which will accompany the Reformation Anniversary over the next year.