Tag Archives: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Barmen Declaration 1934

75 Jahre Barmer Erklärung

A sculpure in remembrance of the Barmen Declaration in Wuppertal-Barmen.

https://www.ekd.de/en/The-Barmen-Declaration-133.htm

 1. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” (John 14.6). “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. . . . I am the door; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved.” (John 10:1, 9.)
8.11 Jesus Christ, as he is attested for us in Holy Scripture, is the one Word of God which we have to hear and which we have to trust and obey in life and in death. 


8.12 We reiect the false doctrine, as though the church could and would have to acknowledge as a source of its proclamation, apart from and besides this one Word of God, still other events and powers, figures and truths, as God’s revelation.

  1. The source of revelation is only the Word of God — Jesus Christ. Any other possible sources (earthly powers, for example) will not be accepted – Wiki

 

8.13 – 2. “Christ Jesus, whom God has made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” (1 Cor. 1:30.)
8.14 As Jesus Christ is God’s assurance of the forgiveness of all our sins, so, in the same way and with the same seriousness he is also God’s mighty claim upon our whole life. Through him befalls us a joyful deliverance from the godless fetters of this world for a free, grateful service to his creatures.

8.15 We reiect the false doctrine, as though there were areas of our life in which we would not belong to Jesus Christ, but to other lords–areas in which we would not need justification and sanctification through him.

  1. Jesus Christ is the only Lord of all aspects of personal life. There should be no other authority – Wiki

 

8.16 – 3. “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body [is] joined and knit together.” (Eph. 4:15,16.)
8.17 The Christian Church is the congregation of the brethren in which Jesus Christ acts presently as the Lord in Word and sacrament through the Holy Spirit. As the Church of pardoned sinners, it has to testify in the midst of a sinful world, with its faith as with its obedience, with its message as with its order, that it is solely his property, and that it lives and wants to live solely from his comfort and from his direction in the expectation of his appearance.

8.18 We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church were permitted to abandon the form of its message and order to its own pleasure or to changes in prevailing ideological and political convictions.

  1. The message and order of the church should not be influenced by the current political convictions – Wiki

 

8.19 – 4. “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men excercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your srvant.” (Matt. 20:25,26.)
8.20 The various offices in the Church do not establish a dominion of some over the others; on the contrary, they are for the excercise of the ministry entrusted to and enjoined upon the whole congregation.

8.21 We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church, apart from this ministry, could and were permitted to give itself, or allow to be given to it, special leaders vested with ruling powers.

  1. The church should not be ruled by a leader (“Führer”). There is no hierarchy in the church (Mt 20, 25f) – Wiki

 

8.22 – 5. “Fear God. Honor the emperor.” (1 Peter 2:17.)
Scripture tells us that, in the as yet unredeemed world in which the Church also exists, the State has by divine appointment the task of providing for justice and peace. [It fulfills this task] by means of the threat and exercise of force, according to the measure of human judgment and human ability. The Church acknowledges the benefit of this divine appointment in gratitude and reverence before him. It calls to mind the Kingdom of God, God’s commandment and righteousness, and thereby the responsibility both of rulers and of the ruled. It trusts and obeys the power of the Word by which God upholds all things.
8.23 We reject the false doctrine, as though the State, over and beyond its special commision, should and could become the single and totalitarian order of human life, thus fulfilling the Church’s vocation as well.

8.24 We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church, over and beyond its special commission, should and could appropriate the characteristics, the tasks, and the dignity of the State, thus itself becoming an organ of the State.

  1. The state should not fulfill the task of the church and vice versa. State and church are both limited to their own business – Wiki

 

 

8.25 – 6. “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matt. 28:20.) “The word of God is not fettered.” (2 Tim. 2:9.)
8.26 The Church’s commission, upon which its freedom is founded, consists in delivering the message of th free grace of God to all people in Christ’s stead, and therefore in the ministry of his own Word and work through sermon and sacrament.

8.27 We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church in human arrogance could place the Word and work of the Lord in the service of any arbitrarily chosen desires, purposes, and plans.
8.28 The Confessional Synod of the German Evangelical Church declares that it sees in the acknowledgment of these truths and in the rejection of these errors the indispensable theological basis of the German Evangelical Church as a federation of Confessional Churches. It invites all who are able to accept its declaration to be mindful of these theological principles in their decisions in Church politics. It entreats all whom it concerns to return to the unity of faith, love, and hope.

  1. Therefore, the Barmen Declaration rejects (i) the subordination of the Church to the state (8.22–3) and (ii) the subordination of the Word and Spirit to the Church – Wiki

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

  1. WHY BONHOEFFER STILL MATTERS
  2. THE BARMEN DECLARATION 1934 [End] 

    Verbum Dei manet in aeternum.

    The Word of God will last for ever.

    Martin Niemöller preached a sermon titled, “Christus ist mein Führer,” or “Christ Is My Leader.” The use of the term “Führer” was intentional, since everybody in Germany referred to Hitler by that title. For Niemöller, “Christ is my Führer” implied its negation, “Hitler is not my Führer,” and for stating this Niemöller spent seven years in Dachau prison camp.

    Later, Niemoller spoke about his own witness and said,

    First they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out – because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out -because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out -because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me!

    The “Confessing Church” had a short life. They managed to protest and resist Hitler and the German state. They helped over 2000 Jews escape. Many of the pastors were arrested and held in prison. Of significant lasting value is their legacy to the larger church in the Barman Declaration. Indeed, by that statement, we can remain strong and standing.

    We live in a broken and fearful world. Let us ask the Spirit to encourage us to pray, to unmask idolatries in Church and culture and to remember how important it is to work with others for justice, freedom and peace. Let us neither be afraid, nor cowardly.

May 27 2019 – The Brexit Party: “There are also, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Bishop Bell argued, moral questions to be addressed here” – Paddy Ashdown [1941-2018]

May 27 2019 – “There are also, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Bishop Bell argued, moral questions to be addressed here” – Paddy Ashdown [1941-2018]

9780008257040

“There are also, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Bishop Bell argued, moral questions to be addressed here…Dietrich Bonhoeffer…said…’Responsible action must decide not just between right and wrong, but between right and right and wrong and wrong’.

“So it is, exactly, here. There are no blacks and whites, just choices between blacker blacks and whiter whites. There are no triumphal personal qualities, and no triumphant outcomes. Just flawed individuals, who, at a time of what Bonhoeffer referred to as ‘moral twilight’, felt compelled to do the right thing as they saw it…

“In reading this book you may be struck, as I was in writing it, by the similarities between what happened in the build-up to World War II and the age in which we now live. Then as now, nationalism and protectionism were on the rise, and democracies were seen to have failed; people hungered for the government of strong men; those who suffered most from the pain of economic collapse felt alienated and turned towards simplistic solutions and strident voices; public institutions, conventional politics and the old establishments were everywhere mistrusted and disbelieved; compromise was out of fashion; the centre collapsed in favour of the extremes; the normal order of things didn’t function; change – even revolution – was more appealing than the status quo; and ‘fake news’ built around the convincing untruth carried more weight in the public discourse than rational arguments and provable facts.

IMG_7462

Painting a lie on the side of a bus and driving it around the country would have seemed perfectly normal in those days”.

~ Paddy Ashdown [“Nein! Standing Up To Hitler 1939-1944” – Collins 2018 – Introduction and Page 301]

 

LAST TWITTER ENTRIES – 2018

This Brexit shambles exposes how far the Conservatives Party has degenerated. For all her faults, Mrs May remains the only adult in the room. At the top, the rest are just a bunch of self obsessed pygmies, charlatans and incompetents who should not be allowed to run a whelk stall
A good PM she is most emphatically not. But listening – and more specifically – watching Theresa May’s speech today, there are three qualities not even her worst enemies would deny her. Duty, Determination and Desperation.

May statement at 2.30. Undermined by her Party at home, humiliated by her friends in Europe, the PM has no credibility left. She should resign. And as a woman of duty, I think she will.

 9 Jul 2018 

More
And so our beloved country is once again held to ransom by squabbles in a Tory Party who give rats in a sack a bad name

May 25 2019 – “Today’s disturbing echoes of the build up to the second world war” – Guardian – Letters 

Bernie Evans and Michael Meadowcroft respond to Martin Kettle’s article on the alarming similarities of Weimar Germany and Brexit Britain
Chancellor Adolf Hitler in Berlin on 24 March 1933

Chancellor Adolf Hitler in Berlin on 24 March 1933. ‘Hitler’s rise initially was through democratic votes in general elections, with the Nazis becoming the biggest party in the Reichstag after the July 1932 election,’ writes Bernie Evans. Photograph: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Letters

As Martin Kettle says (Brexit Britain and Weimar Germany are perilously alike, 16 May), there exist in the UK at the moment far too many similarities with Weimar Germany for comfort. It is easy to see parallels in the falling out of love with parliament, the lack of cooperation between parties and the far right’s repeated message of national betrayal, and to link them with a possible surge in support for a rightwing autocracy.

It is worth mentioning, however, that Adolf Hitler’s rise initially was through democratic votes in general elections, with the Nazis becoming the biggest party in the Reichstag after the July 1932 election. It was after the November election of that year when they actually lost ground, when it was decided to offer Hitler the chancellorship, leading to the Enabling Act and the destruction of opposition parties.

Divisions on the left, with the inevitable lack of viable policies to challenge the promise of a strong Germany coming from Hitler, were an important factor in the rise of fascism, and must not be repeated here. The Labour leadership has a duty to provide a united opposition to the threat from the right; if Labour loses the support of its remain voters and their votes are shared around smaller parties, a significant and dangerous similarity could be created, with terrible consequences.
Bernie Evans
Liverpool

 Martin Kettle points to today’s echoes of 1920s and 1930s Germany. He is far from the only observer to make the point: in his final book, containing riveting biographical essays on individuals who stood up to Hitler, the late Paddy Ashdown wrote: “In reading this book you may be struck, as I was in writing it, by the similarities between what happened in the build-up to World War II and the age in which we now live. Then as now, nationalism and protectionism were on the rise and democracies were seen to have failed, people hungered for the government of strong men; those who suffered most from the pain of economic collapse felt alienated and turned towards simplistic solutions and strident voices … ‘fake news’ built around the convincing untruth carried more weight in the public discourse than rational arguments and provable facts.”Paddy comments wryly: “Painting a lie on the side of a bus and driving it around the country would have seemed perfectly normal in those days.”

Teaching the uncomfortable facts of history is crucially important and we neglect it at our peril.
Michael Meadowcroft
Leeds

Michael Meadowcroft concludes, after quoting from Paddy Ashdown’s last book before his death “Nein! Standing Up To Hitler 1935-1944” (‘Today’s disturbing echoes of the buildup to the second world war’, Letters, May 19):
 
“Teaching the uncomfortable facts of history is crucially important and we neglect it at our peril”
 
Also tucked away on page 301 of “Nein!” – not referenced in the extensive Index –  is this prescient ‘gem of thought’ by the former Intelligence Officer and Liberal Democrat leader:
 
“There are also, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Bishop Bell, moral questions to be addressed here”
~ Richard W. Symonds
Ralph Lloyd-Jones of Nottingham is seriously mistaken in thinking George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four “was intended as a warning of what would become of Britain under socialists” (‘Orwell’s Dystopia is with us today’, Observer Letters, May 26).
As Orwell himself said in June 1949 – ‘Statement on Nineteen Eighty-Four’ – seven months before his untimely death aged 46 :
“But danger lies also in the acceptance of a totalitarian outlook by intellectuals of all colours. The moral to be drawn from this dangerous nightmare situation is a simple one: Don’t let it happen. It depends on you” [underlining in original Statement].
~ Richard W. Symonds
“Orwell perhaps lacked poetry, but, looking at our modern world of ideologies and wars, he echoes the message of Wilfred Owen, the greatest poet of the First World War: ‘All a poet can do today is to warn’. 1984 remains, by and large, a necessary warning”
~ Stephen Spender
“Brexit? We are being swept up, and swept away, in a wave of nationalistic fervour and hysteria. We have been there before. Let history speak: There is no happy ending. As Orwell said: ‘Don’t let it happen. It depends on you'”
~ Richard W. Symonds

 

“The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with faith to fight for it”

May 15 2019 – “There are also, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Bishop Bell argued, moral questions to be addressed here” ~ Paddy Ashdown [“Nein! Standing Up To Hitler 1939-1944” – Collins 2018 – Page 301 – Epilogue]

9780008257040

“There are also, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Bishop Bell argued, moral questions to be addressed here”

~ Paddy Ashdown

[Source: “Nein! Standing Up To Hitler 1939-1944” – Collins 2018 – Page 301 – Epilogue]

 

April 10 2019 -“Never forget: Recalling the Death of Bonhoeffer” – Deacon Greg Kandra

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2019/04/never-forget-recalling-the-death-of-bonhoeffer/

Never Forget: Recalling the Death of Bonhoeffer

German Federal Archives/Wikipedia

The great preacher, writer, theologian and witness to the faith, Dietrich Bonhoeffer,was executed on April 9, 1945, just days before the Nazi camp where he was held, Flossenbürg, was liberated. He was 39.

Here’s what happened: 

On 4 April 1945, the diaries of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of the Abwehr, were discovered, and in a rage upon reading them, Hitler ordered that the Abwehr conspirators [those who had plotted for Hitler’s assassination] be destroyed. 

Bonhoeffer was led away just as he concluded his final Sunday service and asked an English prisoner, Payne Best, to remember him to Bishop George Bell of Chichester if he should ever reach his home: “This is the end—for me the beginning of life.”

Bonhoeffer was condemned to death on 8 April 1945 by SS judge Otto Thorbeck at a drumhead court-martial without witnesses, records of proceedings or a defense in Flossenbürg concentration camp.  He was executed there by hanging at dawn on 9 April 1945, just two weeks before soldiers from the United States 90th and 97th Infantry Divisions liberated the camp,  three weeks before the Soviet capture of Berlin and a month before the surrender of Nazi Germany.

Bonhoeffer was stripped of his clothing and led naked into the execution yard where he was hanged, along with fellow conspirators Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, Canaris’s deputy General Hans Oster, military jurist General Karl Sack, General Friedrich von Rabenau, businessman Theodor Strünck, and German resistance fighter Ludwig Gehre.

Eberhard Bethge, a student and friend of Bonhoeffer’s, writes of a man who saw the execution: “I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer… kneeling on the floor praying fervently to God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer…In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.”

His legacy has been profound:

Bonhoeffer’s life as a pastor and theologian of great intellect and spirituality who lived as he preached—and his being killed because of his opposition to Nazism—exerted great influence and inspiration for Christians across broad denominations and ideologies, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, the anti-communist democratic movement in Eastern Europe during the Cold War, and the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa.

Bonhoeffer is commemorated in the liturgical calendars of several Christian denominations on the anniversary of his death, 9 April. This includes many parts of the Anglican Communion, where he is sometimes identified as a martyr.

In our own troubled time, Bonhoeffer’s courage in the face of evil, and his suffering in the face of persecution, stand as a testament to true Christian witness — the very essence of what it means to be a “martyr.”

His likeness is preserved in Westminster Abbey, alongside other martyrs, including St. Oscar Romero and Martin Luther King, Jr.

He continues to teach and inspire Christians today.

“The first service one owes to others in a community involves listening to them,” he wrote. “Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for others is learning to listen to them. God’s love for us is shown by the fact that God not only gives God’s Word but also lends us God’s ear. . . . We do God’s work for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them.”

He also urged us to be open to God’s will in our lives, whatever that may be.

“We must be ready,” he said, “to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pray for us.

April 7 2019 – Coburg Conference 2011″ – Chichester and Arundel Cathedrals – ‘The Parish Proclaimer’

download (1)

Arundel Cathedral

https://www.arundelcathedral.org/proclaimer/Proclaimer%20Lent%202012_2.pdf

ECUMENICAL COBURG CONFERENCE XIV

By Anne Dunkley & Sherien Morgan

Since the 1980s, delegates from the Anglican Cathedral of Chichester, the
Evangelical Church of Bayreuth, the Lutheran Church of Berlin, and the Roman
Catholic Cathedral of Bamberg, have met every two years to discuss current topics
which affect them.

The 25th anniversary of the first conference was held in Chichester on 16 – 19
October last year, the delegation being led by the Dean of Chichester, the Very Revd.
Nicholas Frayling and attended by the Bishop of Chichester, the Rt. Revd. John Hind.
There were thirty-four delegates present and the conference took place largely within
the Cathedral Close, using Vicars’ Hall and George Bell House.

The Chichester delegation consisted of eight members, one of whom had not attended before. The theme was ‘The Challenge of Secularism in the New Europe’. Once again, summaries of the texts of the two keynote presentations had been translated and circulated in advance, and this was a great help in enabling delegates to discuss points arising from the presentations, both with the speakers, and with each other in the group
sessions.

This year’s theme was ‘The Challenge of Secularism in the New Europe’.
Daily worship was led in turn by the different delegations, whether in the Bishop’s
private chapel, the Lady Chapel of Chichester Cathedral or Arundel Cathedral; also
the delegates had the opportunity to attend Evensong in Chichester Cathedral sung
by the Cathedral choir.

The second day of the conference was held in the local parish of Arundel. Bishop
David Farrer, vicar of St. Nicholas Church, welcomed the delegates to the parish
church, itself unique in being an Anglican church which is attached to the Roman
Catholic Fitzalan Chapel, property of the Duke of Norfolk, and resting place of
deceased members of the Fitzalan Howard family for many hundreds of years. Only a
glass screen separates the two places of worship. Arundel parish has an active
ecumenical partnership with the town of Stegaurach in Franconia, where the Roman
Catholic congregation shares its church building with the Lutheran community, and
both communities jointly support an Indian aid project in Tamil Nadu.

Here, seated in the Anglican pews, the delegates heard the second keynote speaker
of the conference, Bishop Kieran Conry, Roman Catholic Bishop of Arundel and
Brighton, in a stimulating paper on ‘The Challenge of Secularism for the Churches in
Europe today’.
4
Bishop Kieran explained that if secularism means the appropriation by the state of
things which formerly belonged to the church – amongst them authority, property
and social function, including teaching and nursing – it is not entirely negative. The
media expected the Pope’s visit to England and Scotland last year to be very
unpopular, in that he is Head of a Church that is seen to be contrary to values
promoted by society today, when in fact they were quite wrong and he was
received with great enthusiasm.
Society is not openly hostile, but the problem lies with the separation of the sacred
and what might be termed ‘secular’. The natural world is governed by reason, and
the Church can no longer claim its ancient authority as being the voice of God, as
this is not open to scientific scrutiny. Modern civilisation must be tolerant of
religion, but it is preferred that it is practised in private. The great threat is the
indifference of the great majority in society for whom religion is irrelevant, and the
danger is that we start to believe it and lose our nerve. But one of the most positive
aspects of the response to the Pope’s visit is a renewed sense of confidence amongst
Catholics and other Christians, and this must be one of the first responses to the
challenge. Dialogue between religions must be promoted and deepened, enabling us
to understand their ‘otherness’ as well as transcendent ‘otherness’ of God. This
dialogue will promote living together, working together for peace and justice, mutual
understanding and sharing of spiritual riches. And finally the need for humility is
very important, with Christ as our model. The church will not be heard today if she
shouts more loudly, but may be heard if she speaks more quietly.

Delegates divided up into small discussion groups to examine questions Bishop
Kieran had suggested. Meanwhile, it was indeed heart-warming to see Anglican
Dean Nicholas Frayling, Roman Catholic Bishop Kieran, Lutheran Bishop Dorothea
Greiner, and Anglican Bishop David Farrer deeply engrossed in discussion standing
in the chancel of St. Nicholas parish church.

Then to Arundel Cathedral, where the Dean, Canon Tim Madeley, introduced both
the building and the shrine of St. Philip Howard, son of the 4th Duke of Norfolk. The
daily conference worship was led here by the Bamberg delegation, and again was felt
to be particularly relevant, as it was the feast of St. Luke, who himself brought many
secular, positive elements into the church. The delegates were warmly welcomed by
the Mayor of Arundel, Mrs Wendy Eve, to Arundel Town Hall where lunch was
provided and served by the ladies of St. Nicholas church and Arundel Cathedral
together. Both Bishop Kieran and Canon Tim were able to join the conference
5
delegates for lunch and also later for dinner. After lunch there was a visit of Arundel
Castle, by courtesy of His Grace, the Duke of Norfolk. During the tour of the Castle
the delegates learnt more about Arundel as the seat of the Earl Marshal of England,
and the home of the leading Roman Catholic family. It was remarked that many of
the portraits on the walls were of the same people whose portraits were seen in
Schloss Coburg during the last conference, and that they did not look any more
cheerful at Arundel!
The evening was dedicated to an Anniversary Dinner to celebrate 25 years of the
Coburg conferences, with the all-Sussex food being generously donated by local
producers. Guests of Honour were His Excellency Mr Georg Boomgaarden, the
Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany and Mrs Boomgaarden.

The Ambassador made reference to his own keen interest in Bishop George Bell and his
work with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. There were many present with long-standing and
close links with the Coburg conferences both past and present, in particular Bishop
John Hind and Canon of Honour Wolfgang Klausnitzer, and it was a very happy
occasion.

St. Nicholas Church founded a thriving and enthusiastic link in 2002 with the
Roman Catholic Parish Church of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, sited in
Stegaurach, a small town on the outskirts of the World Heritage medieval city of
Bamburg in Bavaria, southern Germany. Many friendships have been formed with
the people of Stegaurach as a result of visits both ways, in which everyone, young
and not so young, is invited to take part. This link is of particular importance, as it is
a truly ecumenical link, St. Nicholas is the first Anglican Church in their diocese to
twin with a Catholic Church, which itself is shared with the Lutheran community of
Stegaurach, and the partnership is shared with us, the parishioners of the Cathedral.

Many visits have taken place since the summer of 2003, during the summer of 2010
thirty seven of us went again, when we visited Flossenburg concentration camp with
our friends – a deeply moving experience – and it was there that Dietrich
Bonhoeffer, great friend of Bishop George Bell, was executed in 1945. Indeed we
look forward to the next visit of our German friends this summer; they will arrive on
Wednesday 15 August and remain with us until Monday 20 August.
Whilst they are here, there will be a full programme of social activities, trips out and
many opportunities to join with them and our friends from St. Nicholas in acts of
worship, and you will also have a chance to meet with them after Mass at the
Cathedral.
6
They are a very friendly group who speak English well. We have many host families
who already welcome visitors into their homes, however, this year we are looking for
even more volunteers to help with this side of the undertaking.

All we need is people to offer, for the most part, bed and breakfast. We would be
particularly delighted to hear from people who could host a young family.

If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please keep an eye on the
weekly parish newsletter for further details.

Editor’s Note

You can look at many photos and use the Google Translator (or similar) on the
website for Stegaurach: visit http://www.stegaurach.de

If you want to read more about ecumenism at work, you can visit a special page on
the Diocese of Chichester’s website: from their home page at http://www.diochi.org.uk
visit the ‘Activities’ section and then click on ‘European Ecumenical Committee’

IMG_1814

Chichester Cathedral

April 7 2019 – The Coburg Conferences – “From Wuppertal 1934 to Chichester 2019” – Peter Crosskey

George Bell, Bishop of Chichester

“From Wuppertal 1934 to Chichester 2019” by Peter Crosskey

The end of May 2019 will mark the 85th anniversary of the Barmen Declaration, which expressed the commitment of a small but determined group of Lutheran pastors to oppose the rise of Hitler and the National Socialists.

Meeting in the Gemarke Church, Wuppertal-Barmen, more than 130 delegates including pastors, committed Christians and theologians, issued a six-part declaration opposing mainstream German Christian acceptance of national socialism.

A full account of the historic 1934 Barmen Declaration can be found on the website of the Lutheran evangelist EKD church [ https://www.ekd.de/en/The-Barmen-Declaration-133.htm ]

Half a century later, in October 1984, an ecumenical conference in Chichester brought together German church leaders from both the FRG and GDR. Alongside Anglican theologians, they gathered to discuss practical aspects of rapprochement and Christian unity.

The event also celebrated the lives and work of Bishop George Bell and Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The latter had been ministering to German-speaking congregations in London at the time of the Barmen Declaration, before returning to Germany in 1935.

The 1984 Chichester conference prepared the way for the first of the Coburg conferences in 1985, which has since been established as a rolling biennial series of ecumenical conferences hosted in rotation by three German churches  and the Diocese of Chichester.

A process that started in the wake of the 500th anniversary celebrations of Martin Luther’s birth, generated both ecumenical conferences and the 1987 Meissen Statement [ https://www.ekd.de/ekd_en/ds_doc/meissen_engl_.pdf ] – a six-article ‘road map’ for Christian unity.

The first article opens with the words: “God’s plan … is to reconcile all things in Christ…” and the second article discusses the nature of communion. The third article is a call for unity: “…to fulfil its mission the Church itself must be united.” The fourth article talks about communion as a shared act of faith, while the fifth article records a number of points of agreement and the sixth sets out the next steps for mutual acknowledgement. The final paragraph concludes with the words: “We know that beyond this commitment lies a move from recognition to the reconciliation of churches and ministries within the wider fellowship of the universal Church.”

This autumn will see Chichester hosting the next Coburg conference [ https://www.chichester.anglican.org/european-ecumenical-committee/ 

At the time of writing, Chichester cathedral’s European ecumenical 

committee had this to say about the Coburg conferences:

“The first ecumenical conference held in Chichester in 1984 to celebrate Bishop George Bell proved so valuable that the regular ‘Coburg conferences’ were born. Held every other year, delegates from the Diocese of Chichester, the Evangelical Kirchenkreis Bayreuth, the Lutheran church in Berlin-Brandenburg, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bamberg meet for discussions, lectures and workshops on a variety of topics and current issues. It is an opportunity to share and solve problems together and exchange news of parish links. A very strong bond of support, fellowship and understanding has developed.”

In his 2018 Easter sermon [https://www.chichester.anglican.org/news/2018/04/01/bishop-martins-easter-day-sermon/ ], Bishop Martin Warner talked of his conference trip to Germany in 2017, when the Lutherans were celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran reformation. His visit was preceded by (Re)imagining Europe, a conference held in Rome and organised by churches across the EU. 

Bishop Martin observed: “They were drawing from a vision that was formed at the very moment when Europe was descending into the second world war, indeed when Bishop George Bell was seeking to support Christians who were separated from us by that conflict, but not in faith.”

The 2019 Chichester leg of the Coburg Conferences programme will open in October.

March 12 2019 – Popes, Bishops, Character Assassins – and The Beatitudes

Wartime Pope Pius XII, maligned by some for alleged lack of condemnation of Hitler’s Nazi regime, considered the Beatitudes precious.
 
In his 1939 Christmas Eve address [known as ‘The Pope’s Five Peace Points’], Pius XII stated:
 
“They [the warring nations] must cultivate that hunger and thirst after justice which is claimed as a beatitude in the Sermon on the Mount, and which supposes as its natural foundation the moral virtue of justice…”  
 
Wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell, maligned by some for alleged child sexual abuse, also shared the Pope’s love of the Beatitudes – highlighting his ‘Five Peace Points’ in 1940*.
 
In a letter to his close friend Dietrich Bonhoeffer, imprisoned and later executed by the Nazis, Bishop Bell wrote:
 
“May God guide you and keep you. Let us pray together by reading the Beatitudes”
Richard W. Symonds