Intensify cooperation

Intensify cooperation

Ecumenism – lived here at the Kirchentag © dpa

In keeping with the Reformation commemoration year 2017, the Archdiocese of Paderborn, the Evangelical Church of Westphalia and the Lippische Landeskirche agree on stronger ecumenical cooperation.

The Archbishop of Paderborn, Hans-Josef Becker, the President of Westphalia, Annette Kurschus, and the Regional Dean of Lippe, Dietmar Arends, signed an agreement in Dortmund on Friday to strengthen ecumenism. The dioceses of Aachen, Essen and Munster had concluded similar cooperation agreements with the Rhenish and Westphalian regional churches.

Emphasize ecumenical action

"At the end of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, or Reformation commemoration, we would like to once again explicitly emphasize the sustainability of ecumenical action and the common path into the future," Becker explained. For many years now, he said, a movement has been underway among the churches "that has led us toward each other and gives us courage to take further steps.".

Kurschus referred to the ecumenical practice in the Protestant and Catholic congregations. "500 years after the Reformation, it is time for the many small steps in many different places to become an agreed and binding common way forward."

Witnessing faith together

The paper states that the churches together face the challenge of presenting themselves with their offerings in a secular, pluralistic and multi-religious society and of witnessing to the faith together. The diocese and the regional churches agreed to work together "for a solidary, peaceful, tolerant and environmentally aware society" and to combat anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism.

They also want to intensify their spiritual cooperation, for example through ecumenical services or joint accents during Advent and Lent. There should be ecumenical encounters in the preparation for confirmation.

Sharing churches

Ecumenical parish partnerships and the joint use of churches and parish halls are also sensible and possible, the paper says. It is also recommended that pastoral priorities be agreed upon locally. They also agreed to exchange information about the reform and development processes in the respective churches and to invite observers to synods or diocesan forums.

Cooperation should also be intensified in religious education.

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