Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches: Summer Assembly of Delegates in Winterthur

The summer Assembly of Delegates of 2019 (AoD) took place in Winterthur on the invitation of the Evangelical Methodist Church. Pastor Stefan Zolliker welcomed the delegates from the 26 member churches of the FSPC to his church in Winterthur.

Speech of the Council President: “Communion is a matter of will“

In his speech at the opening of the AoD, Council President Gottfried Locher appealed to the sense of togetherness and the will to communion within the upcoming Protestant Church in Switzerland (PCS). “We are elaborating goals and measures together; we are planning the areas of action together. And we treat each other like brothers and sisters,“ said Locher. In times when many people are turning their backs on the church, the Protestant Church in Switzerland (PCS) should be a community (communion) that offers a home in the Gospel to those searching for meaning. “I invite all of us to understand and shape the PCS as a place where people seek meaning and we also seek meaning.” Following the adoption of the new constitution, continuity and new beginnings are now important. “The first step has been taken; now it is time to implement together – in a participative, brotherly and sisterly way. This is a unique opportunity.”

The Initiative “Diakonia”

In 2014, the delegates decided on an initiative for “Combining diakonia organizations”. The three existing structures at the time were merged into the newly created “Swiss Diakonia Conference“, which began its work on 1 January 2017. Both the executive members, who are responsible for diakonia in the cantonal churches, as well as experts from churches, training and diakonia institutions participate in the conference’s bodies. The internet portal diakonie.ch, which has been online since June 2017, is another fruit of this merger. The Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches will assume responsibility for its funding beginning on 1 January 2020. The delegates took note of the implementation report and discontinued the initiative.

The Initiative “Respect for the Constitution and International Law”

The Council of the FSPC presented to the delegates its response to the initiative “Respect for the Constitution and International Law“, which was adopted in 2014. The initiative produced the study “Care for the Law” and two other texts. The initiative was discontinued.

Interpellation of the Church of Zurich on “Climate Change”

The interpellation of the Zurich church on climate change was accepted. It calls for the Council to deepen its commitment to climate change theologically and to decide whether and how it will deal with the issue. With its new constitution, the new Protestant Church in Switzerland has tasked itself with the “preservation of creation”.

Report on the Initiative “Family – Marriage – Partnership – Sexuality from the Reformed Perspective”

“God wants us the way we were created. We cannot choose our sexual orientation. We see it as an expression of created abundance.” This view of the Council has been met with broad support among the delegates, and the Assembly of Delegates endorses this position. After nuanced and respectful debates, the assembly decided that it is too early to discontinue this initiative. The narrow focus on marriage for all does only partial justice to the initiative. The Council was invited to continue dealing with the issue in its entirety in a participatory manner.

Annual and Financial Reports

The 2018 financial report closed with a revenue surplus of CHF 56,564. The delegates unanimously approved both the annual financial report and the activity report. The initiative of the Conférence des Églises réformées romandes was also adopted: since some member churches have been facing financial difficulties for years, in the future the Council should submit a financial plan for each project and establish financial priorities for the new Protestant Church in Switzerland (PCS).

Photos: Flickr SEK