Ecumenical Summit Meeting – Moving toward more common ground

A meeting of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference (SBC) and the Council of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) took place on September 6 and 7, 2016 at Fischingen Abbey in Canton Thurgau. The talks focused on the significance that an international ecumenical study has for Switzerland. Two ecumenical projects were also discussed in the run-up to the 2017 Reformation celebrations.
Walter Müller, SBC

God has a mission for us in this world to heal it in all of its brokenness and problems, and he has called the church to participate in this mission. This is the core message of the document “The Church: Towards a Common Vision” which was prepared by the World Council of Churches (WCC) with representatives of the Roman Catholic Church.

“Thinking together about this has rekindled our awareness for our need to overcome divides among Christians if we are to fulfill God’s mission for us,” said FSPC President Gottfried Locher. He added that we are helped in this with our “view to common challenges in sharing the Christian faith and to the problems of the world.”

In the worship service, the President of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference, Charles Morerod, held a sermon on the day’s Bible reading, in which he reminded those gathered “that we are not only there to organize the world better but to recognize God’s presence by listening to his word, even as it can sometimes sting us.”

Two ecumenical projects for the 2017 Reformation celebrations were also a topic of discussion at the meeting. On April 1, an ecumenical celebration will be held in Zug to mark the 600th anniversary of the birth of Nicholas of Flüe and the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, an event co-organized by the Bishops’ Conference and the FSPC in cooperation with other partner organizations. The second event planned by the FSPC and SBC involves a joint pavilion at the World Reformation Exhibition in Wittenberg, Germany from May 20 - September 10, 2017.

This was the third joint closed session of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference and the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches. The first took place in December 2001 and the second in December 2008. The retreats have taken place over the course of a few days at a remote location, providing  a space for discussions on ecumenical matters and the opportunity to improve on the two organizations’ fruitful cooperation.