World Churches celebrate Reformation in Bern

In a national worship service, more than 700 guests from the fields of religion, politics and civil society celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in Bern today. Participants include Federal Councilor Johann Schneider-Ammann, FSPC President Gottfried Locher, Curial Cardinal Kurt Koch, German Reformation Ambassador Margot Käßmann and the Archbishop of Canter-bury, Justin Welby.

For the first time, a worship service that encompasses all of Reformed Switzerland: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Gospel of Matthew) – this is the motto of the National Service “500 Years of Reformation” hosted by the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches in Bern. At the Bernese Münster, Andreas Zeller, Synod Council President of the Reformed Churches of Bern-Jura-Solothurn, will welcome the members of the Assembly of Delegates, synod members and church leaders of the FSPC member churches, representatives of the aid and relief organizations and educational institutions, as well as guests from South Africa, China, the USA, France, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom.

“500 years of the Gospel for everyone in word and deed: this is what we celebrate today. Generations of Christians have found and continue to find solace, strength and guidance in the Protestant-Reformed Church,” said FSPC President Gottfried Locher. 500 years of inspiration and spiritual healing for all those who expect more of life than only material things. 500 years of following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, together and as individuals, trusting and committed.”

To kick off the subsequent celebrations on the Münsterplatz, speeches will be held by Federal Councilor Johann Schneider-Ammann, who is also Co-President of the Patronage Committee of the Reformation Jubilee in Switzerland, as well as Margot Käßmann, Reformation Ambassador of the Evangelical Church in Germany.

“During its 500-year history, which we celebrate together today, the Reformation has contributed greatly to keeping the Christian spirit alive: the willingness to make sacrifices, of lending support to the weakest in our society,” said Federal Councilor Schneider-Ammann. “Zwingli’s commitment to education and individual autonomy played a crucial role in the emancipation of our citizens. Being Reformed means taking on responsibility in freedom.”

Participants of the worship service include Olav Fykse Tveit, Secretary General of the World Council of Churches (WCC); the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby; Kurt Koch, Curial Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church; and Jerry Pillay, President of the World Communion of Reformed Churches. The hour of celebration will be enriched by the “Reformation Shadow Play” projection by light artist Gerry Hofstetter and a brass quartet of the Bern Symphony Orchestra.