FSPC Fall Assembly of Delegates

The member churches of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) met November 7-8, 2016, at Bern City Hall for their Fall Assembly of Delegates. The 67 Delegates made some groundbreaking decisions for the time following the Reformation celebrations.
Foto: Thomas Flügge, SEK

Inauguration of “500 Years of Reformation” Jubilee

On a national level, the Reformation Year was launched on November 3, 2016, in the presence of Federal Councilor Alain Berset. Various projects will mark the following year, including a synod meeting of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE) held March 2017 in Bern, a national ecumenical day of remembrance and celebration on April 1, 2017, in Zug, a national ceremonial act on June 18 at the Bern Minster, the “ReformAction” youth festival in Geneva (November 3-5) and the Swiss presence at the “World Reformation Exhibition” in Wittenberg from May to September 2017.

Pooling of church communication

The delegates acknowledged the report “Pooling of church communication in Switzerland.”  The FSPC Council is mandated to document its implementation in detail, including objectives, schedule and organization, and to regularly report to the Assembly of Delegates.

Message of the Council President

In his traditional message to the Delegates, Council President Gottfried Locher expanded on the gathering’s connection to the basic principles of the Reformation. “Sola fide,” by faith alone, we allow our lives to be guided by God, Locher stated.  The public practice of faith is part of the principle of religious freedom in a constitutional democracy:  “We owe this testimony to our fellow citizens, as well as to persecuted Christians in other countries,” the President emphasized.

2017 Budget 

The 2017 budget, which was approved by the Delegates, earmarks some more exceptional funds in the context of the Reformation celebrations. The contributions of the member churches will remain at their current level.

Funds for Swiss churches abroad and pastoral care for asylum seekers in the federal asylum centers

The Assembly of Delegates decided to forgo the 2017 collection in favor of the fund for Swiss churches abroad. The Council’s motion to assign uncommitted funds to the fund for pastoral care in the federal asylum centers was adopted. In addition, an exceptional contribution of CHF 350,000 for pastoral care in the intake and registrations centers for asylum seekers was approved.

Four liturgies

The President of the Reformed Church of Aargau, Christoph Weber-Berg, presented AD President Jean-Marc Schmid with four liturgies for the benefit of the Swiss churches. They were written on the occasion of the Reformation celebrations for various musical styles ranging from pop and traditional folk music to classical music.

Elections for foundation councils of HEKS and fondia

Rolf Berweger (Church Council President of the Reformed Church of Zug) was elected to serve on the foundation council of Swiss Interchurch Aid (HEKS) for the remainder of the 2014-2017 term.  Esther Gaillard (member of the FSPC Council) and Roland Frey (BE) were elected to the foundation council of fondia for the remainder of the 2015-2018 term.