From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany celebrates 50 years
FRANK_IMHOFF.firstname.lastname@example.org (FRANK IMHOFF)
17 Apr 1998 11:11:35
Preparations for July festivities in full swing
HANOVER, Germany/GENEVA, 16 April 1998 (lwi) - The United Evangelical
Lutheran Church of Germany (VELKD), founded July 8, 1948 in Eisenach, is
preparing to celebrate its jubilee. Among the important events are the
meeting of the VELKD governing board July 3-4 in Eisenach, the special
exhibition "50 Years of the VELKD" in the Luther House, Eisenach, to be
opened July 4 by VELKD presiding bishop, Horst Hirschler, and a worship
celebration July 5 in St. George's Church, Eisenach, followed by a
reception attended by former Lutheran World Federation (LWF) president,
At present, eight Lutheran churches in Germany belong to the VELKD: the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, Evangelical Lutheran Church in
Brunswick, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover, Evangelical Lutheran
Church of Mecklenburg, North Elbian Evangelical Lutheran Church,
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saxony, Evangelical Lutheran Church of
Schaumburg-Lippe and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thuringia. All are
LWF member churches.
The VELKD was founded in the year 1948 in the context of the worldwide
Lutheran efforts toward unity which were manifested in the founding of the
LWF in 1947, as well as of the struggle of the churches in Germany under
National Socialism. The VELKD also aimed to help overcome church boundaries
which still existed in Germany from the time when the churches were under
the regime of the territorial landlords, up to 1918. "A church body came
into being which was not territorial, but was constituted on the basis of
the common Lutheran confession, so that it represented a whole whose parts
belonged together. From the beginning, the VELKD was a stable element in
the wider community which was formed, a few days after the VELKD's
founding, as the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD)," says an official
leaflet on the VELKD's history.
Political circumstances forced the eastern member churches to join together
in 1969 as the independent United Evangelical Lutheran Church in the GDR.
But this church concluded its work in the course of 1988, and in 1990,
after the change, the eastern member churches returned to the VELKD.
The VELKD characterizes its mission as follows:
"1.It is our theological task to recall the living fundamental insights of
2.It is our ecumenical task to be together with other churches in
strengthening awareness of the unity of the church: In Jesus Christ, the
many churches are one church.
3.The mission of the VELKD, finally, is congregationally defined. Thus it
provides orientation and help for congregational life: for worship, for the
transmission of the faith through teaching and mission, for pastoral care
and for congregational development."
On this basis, the VELKD over the years has evolved such areas of action as
a common order for worship, work toward common decisions on theological
issues, promotion of congregational development, associations with Lutheran
churches around the world, ecumenical conversations, and common legal
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