Protestant Reformed Church of Alsace and Lorraine
The Protestant Reformed Church of Alsace and Lorraine is a Reformed denomination in Alsace and Northeastern Lorraine, France. As a church body it enjoys the status as an établissement public du culte; the EPRAL adheres to the Apostles Creed, Nicene Creed, Heidelberg Catechism and the Second Helvetic Confession. The EPRAL has 33,000 members in 52 congregations served by 50 pastors. Congregations holding services in German language use the current German Protestant hymnal Evangelisches Gesangbuch issued by the Protestant church bodies in Austria, France and Luxembourg, in a regional edition including traditional hymns from Alsace and Moselle. In 2006 the EPRAL formed with the EPCAAL the Union of Protestant Churches of Lorraine; this is no united body. However, the two churches maintain their own organisation; the EPRAL is member of the Protestant Federation of France and of the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the World Council of Churches. The EPRAL was a founding member of the Conference of Churches on the Rhine in 1961, which now functions as a regional group of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe.
The EPRAL has close fellowship with the Reformed Church of France. The first Reformed congregation in the area was founded by John Calvin in Strasbourg in Alsace, it has its origin in the early times of the Reformation. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the populations in a number of small imperial estates or free imperial cities including their governments had adopted the Reformed confession. Reformed confession spread in the northern and eastern part of the area with concentration in Mulhouse and Metz. In Strasbourg and some enclaves in northern Alsace and the Vosges, Reformed Christians form only small minority communities, but the Republic in Mulhouse was reformed at the time of the French Revolution, when all the area had become a part of France. After the conclusion of the Concordat of 1801 with the Vatican applying to French Roman Catholicism, in 1802 Napoleon I decreed the organic articles which constituted the other then-existing major religious groups in France, the Calvinists and Lutherans, as recognised public religious bodies.
These bodies all followed a similar model with semigovernmental leading bodies, such as the Reformed Central Council in Paris, the Lutheran General Consistory in Strasbourg and the Israelite Central Consistory in Paris. Subordinate to the chief bodies there were regional consistories each comprising several congregations altogether counting at least 6,000 souls; the organic articles shaped the constitution of the pre-1905 Reformed Church of France. The representatives of the Reformed church accepted the governmentally imposed structure, since it did not put the Reformed church in a worse position than the other creeds. However, Napoleon's model of hierarchical parastatal governance was a harsh breach with many crucial Reformed presbyterial and synodal traditions. Pastors were not employed and paid by the church people, constituted in the congregations, but were chosen and paid by the government and subordinate to the government-appointed members of the consistories. Napoleon's law did not provide for a general synod, the only body relevant in taking decisions in matters of doctrine and teaching for all the church, while the law de jure provided for regional synods combining representatives of at least five consistorial ambits the government de facto never allowed their convocation.
Lacking a general synod, last convened in 1659, with no provincial synods convoked, the Reformed congregations formed the only decision-taking body, though restricted to local church matters, legitimised by the Reformed doctrine. Until 1852 the law did not recognise Reformed congregations but considered them as indistinct local outposts of the parastatal consistories. On 26 March 1852 Napoleon III signed a decree, influenced by Charles Read, which still did not provide for a general synod, but at least made the Reformed congregations distinct legal entities, whose governing bodies - according to Reformed doctrine - were elected by the male adult members; the new Central Council established in 1852, the supreme executive body of the Reformed Church of France, was staffed with incumbents appointed by the government, a practice contradicting the presbyterial and synodal doctrine of Calvinism. In the course of the 19th century, Calvinists in France clung to different theological movements, such as traditionalist Calvinism, rationalist theology, Christian revival or Liberal Christianity.
So the pre-1905 Reformed Church of France entered into heavy controversies on doctrinal and teaching matters which could not be resolved due to the lacking general synod. Many Calvinists were adherents of the Christian revival movement colliding with proponents of religious liberalism; the congregations still could not employ the pastors, since the advowson was with the parastatal consistories. When the consistories appointed pastors of a particular theological leaning to a congregation whose members and elected bodies clung to another opinion, it created hefty quarrels. Two pastoral conferences were convened each by proponents of one of the two main currents in Fren
Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches
The Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches is a federation of 26 member churches — 24 cantonal churches and two free churches. The SEK-FEPS is not a church in a theological understanding, because every member is independent with their own theological and formal organisation, it serves as a legal umbrella before the federal government and represents the church in international relations. Except for the Evangelical-Methodist Church, which covers all of Switzerland, the member churches are restricted to a certain territory; the president of the Federation is Gottfried Locher. As with most mainline European denominations, the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches has many member churches that permit prayer services or blessings for same-sex civil unions; as early as 1999, the Reformed churches in St. Gallen and Lucerne had allowed church celebration services for same-sex couples; the Reformed Church in Aargau has permitted prayer services of thanksgiving to celebrate a same-sex civil union. The Reformed Church of Vaud, in 2013 permitted prayer services as a way for same-sex couples to celebrate their civil union.
Other member churches that allow either prayer services or blessings for same-sex union are the churches in Bern-Jura-Solothurn, Tessin, Zürich. Reformed Church of Aargau Evangelical-Reformed Church of Appenzell Evangelical Reformed Church of the Canton Basel-Landschaft Evangelical-Reformed Church of the Canton Basel-Stadt Reformed Churches of the Canton Bern-Jura-Solothurn Evangelical Reformed Church of the Canton Freiburg Protestant Church of Geneva Evangelical Free Church of Geneva Evangelical-Reformed Church of the Canton of Glarus Evangelical-Reformed Church of Graubünden Evangelical Reformed Church of the Canton of Lucerne Reformed Church of the Canton of Neuchâtel Evangelical-Reformed Church of Nidwalen Association of Evangelical-Reformed Churches in the Canton of Obwalden Evangelical-Reformed Church of the Canton of St. Gallen Evangalical-Reformed Church of the Canton of Schaffhausen Evangelical-Reformed Church of the Canton of Schwyz Evangelical-Reformed Church of the Canton of Solothurn Evangelical Reformed Church of Ticino Evangelical Church of the Canton of Thurgau Evangelical-Reformed Church of Uri Evangelical Reformed Church of the Canton of Vaud Evangelical Reformed Church in Valais Evangelical-Reformed Church of the Canton of Zürich Evangelical-Reformed Church of the Canton of Zug United Methodist Church Swiss Reformed Church Religion in Switzerland Official website
Protestant Church in Baden
The Protestant Church in Baden is a United Protestant member church of the Evangelical Church in Germany, member of the Conference of Churches on the Rhine, which now functions as a regional group of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe. The Evangelical Church in Baden is a united Protestant church, its headquarter, the Evangelical Superior Church Council is located in Karlsruhe. The church is not confused with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Baden, based in Freiburg im Breisgau. In 1821 the Evangelical Church in Baden was founded by uniting Lutheran and Reformed churches in the Grand Duchy of Baden, thus its name United Evangelical Protestant Church of the Grand Duchy of Baden; the church body comprises only congregations of united Protestant confession. After the grand duchy had become the Republic of Baden in 1918 and after the separation of religion and state by the Weimar Constitution in 1919 the church adopted a new constitution in December 1919 accounting for these changes, renaming as the United Evangelical Protestant Regional Church of Baden.
In 1922 the church counted 821,000 parishioners. Nazi-aligned Protestant activists, emerging from the 1931-founded Nazi Federation of pastors of Baden, candidated for the nominating group called the German Christians and some won in the ordinary election for synodals and presbyters in late 1932, they still formed a minority in the legislating assembly of the Landessynode. After the Nazi takeover the synodals standing for the nominating group of the Ecclesiastical Liberal Union jumped ship and joined the German Christians' faction. On 1 June 1933, together with the votes of further other sympathisers of the Nazi takeover among the synodals a new majority led by the German Christians voted in a new episcopal church constitution, doing away with most of the say of the Landessynode for the future. Instead the new office of the Landesbischof was formed bundling the spiritual and executive church leadership in the hands of one single man, as typical for the concept of the Führerprinzip, in harsh contradiction to the Protestant tradition of synodal legislation and collegiality in the consistorial executive.
This adulteration of Protestant church governance started the Kirchenkampf in Baden. On 24 June 1933 the Landessynode elected the incumbent Prelate Julius Kühlewein the new powerful Landesbischof regnant, being ex officio the head of the EOK, downsized in members. On 23 July 1933, the day of the unconstitutional premature reelection of synodals and presbyters imposed by Hitler, the Nazi-submissive German Christians gained a majority of 32 seats against the only remaining opposition of 25 members of the conservative Ecclesiastical Positive Association in the self-disenfranchised Landessynode. On 5 April 1934 the various opposing church groups merged in the Badischer Bekennerbund, the Confessing Church branch in Baden, considering the official church body as a destroyed church, since it had been taken over by Nazi-submissive leaders. Representatives of the Baden Covenant of Confessors participated in the first Reich's Synod of Confession and voted in, with others, the Barmen Declaration. On 19 June 1934 the Baden Covenant of Confessors and more intra-church opponents formed the Regional Brethren Council, considered the new parallel church leadership in opposition to the official church led by Kühlewein.
After polling the pastors of the Church of Baden, resulting in a majority of supporters for a merger of the church into the new Protestant Reich Church, on 13 July Kühlewein declared the merger of his church into the new streamlined Reich church. The Baden Confessors protested that self-aggrandising act of Kühlewein. By the end of 1934 Kühlewein changed his mind, reversed the merger, after the biggest destroyed regional Protestant church in Germany, the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union with more than 19 million members, was reestablished as a separate legal entity by a sentence contended by an old-Prussian German Christian faction fighting the authoritative leadership of the old-Prussian Landesbischof, a German Christian too; this again split Kühlewein's previous supporters in two, those following his new course, those who did not. When the Reich bishop, claiming leadership over Baden as part of the Reich church, in April 1935 visited his supporters in Baden, he was welcomed by local Nazi party leaders and local German Christians, but ignored by any representative of the official Baden church under Kühlewein.
In May 1936 Kühlewein in a meeting with the Nazi Gauleiter for Baden, explained that the members of his church clung by 50% to the Confessing Church, 25% were undecided and maximally 25% followed the German Christians. His task would be to protect church members when attacked as subversive Confessing Christians by the Nazi government; this shift of behaviour and opinion opened the way for reconciliation of many Baden Confessors with the official church leader. In 1937 Kühlewein joined with the Baden church the moderately Nazi-opposing block of the so-called intact
Protestant Church in the Netherlands
The Protestant Church in the Netherlands is the largest Protestant denomination in the Netherlands, being both Reformed and Lutheran. It was founded 1 May 2004 as the merger of the vast majority of Dutch Reformed Church, the vast majority of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the merger was the culmination of an organizational process started in 1961. Several orthodox Reformed and liberal churches did not merge into the new church; the Protestant Church in the Netherlands forms the second largest Christian denomination after the Roman Catholic Church, with 1.6 million members as per the church official statistics or some 9.1% of the population in 2016. It is the traditional faith of the Dutch Royal Family – a remnant of historical dominance of the Dutch Reformed Church, the main predecessor of the Protestant Church; the doctrine of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands is expressed in its creeds. In addition to holding the Apostles', the Nicene and the Athanasian Creeds of the universal church, it holds to the confessions of its predecessor bodies.
From the Lutheran tradition are the unaltered Augsburg Confession and Luther's Catechism. From the Reformed, the Heidelberg and Genevan Catechisms along with the Belgic Confession with the Canons of Dordt; the Church acknowledges the Theological Declaration of Barmen and the Leuenberg Agreement. Ordination of women and blessings of same-sex marriages are allowed; the PKN contains both conservative movements. Local congregations have far-reaching powers concerning "controversial" matters; the polity of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands is a hybrid of presbyterian and congregationalist church governance. Church governance is organised along local and national lines. At the local level is the congregation. An individual congregation is led by a church council made of the minister along with elders and deacons elected by the congregation. At the regional level were 75 classical assemblies whose members are chosen by the church councils; as of 1st May 2018, these 75 classical assemblies are reorganised into 11 larger ones.
At the national level is the General Synod which directs areas of common interest, such as theological education, ministry training and ecumenical co-operation. The PKN has four different types of congregations: Protestant congregations: local congregations from different church bodies that have merged Dutch Reformed congregations Reformed congregations Lutheran congregations Lutherans are a minority of the PKN's membership. To ensure that Lutherans are represented in the Church, the Lutheran congregations have their own synod; the Lutheran Synod has representatives in the General Synod. The Protestant Church in the Netherlands issues yearly reports regarding its membership and finances, its make-up by former affiliation of its congregations was as follows in 2017: Trend shows that since 2011 identification with former denominations has been falling in favor of identifying as "Protestant". Secularization, or the decline in religiosity, first became noticeable after 1960 in the Protestant rural areas of Friesland and Groningen.
It spread to Amsterdam and the other large cities in the west. The Catholic southern areas showed religious declines. A countervailing trend is produced by a religious revival in the Protestant Bible Belt, the growth of Muslims and Hindu communities resulting from immigration and high birth rates. Research in 2007 concluded. Furthermore, in the PKN and several other smaller denominations of the Netherlands, one in six clergy were either agnostic or atheist. A minister of the PKN, Klaas Hendrikse once described God as "a word for experience, or human experience" and said that Jesus may have never existed. Only those congregations belonging to the former Reformed Churches in the Netherlands have the legal right to secede from the PKN without losing its property and church during a transition period of 10 years. Seven congregations have so far decided to form the Continued Reformed Churches in the Netherlands. Two congregations have joined one of the other smaller Reformed churches in the Netherlands.
Some minorities within congregations that joined the PKN decided to leave the church and associated themselves individually with one of the other Reformed churches. Some congregations and members in the Dutch Reformed Church did not agree with the merger and have separated, they have organized themselves in the Restored Reformed Church. Estimations of their membership vary from 35,000 up to 70,000 people in about 120 local congregations, they disagree with the pluralism of the merged church which maintains, as they see it, contradicting Reformed and Lutheran confessions. This group considers same-sex marriages and female clergy unbiblical. In a meeting of eight Jewish and eight Protestant Dutch leaders in Israel in May 2011, a statement of cooperation was issued, for the most part, that the Protestant Church recognizes the issues involved with the Palestinian Christians and that this is sometimes at odds with support for the State of Israel, but standing up for the rights of the Palestinians does not detract from the emphasis on the safety of the State of Israel and vice versa.
Bible Belt History of religion in th
Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau
The Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau is a United Protestant church body in the German states of Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate. There is no bishop and therefore no cathedral. One of its most prominent churches is Katharinenkirche in Frankfurt am Main. Dating back to the union in the Duchy of Nassau in August 1817, before the Prussian Union of September 1817, it is the first United and uniting church in the world; the EKHN is a full member of the Evangelical Church in Germany, is based on the teachings brought forward by Martin Luther during the Reformation. The Church President is Volker Jung, it is a united church, combining both Lutheran traditions. Member of the Reformed Alliance in Germany; the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau is one of 22 churches in the EKD, has 1,549,255 members in 1,184 parishes. The territory of the EKHN includes the territories of the former People's State of Hesse and the Prussian Wiesbaden Region, which now form the southern and western part of the German state of Hesse and portions of the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
It's the most important Protestant denomination in this area. The church is a member of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe. Institutions of the EKHN are the Church Synod, the church leadership and the church president, elected by the General Synod for eight years. 1947–1964: Martin Niemöller 1964–1968: Wolfgang Sucker 1969–1985: Helmut Hild 1985–1992: Helmut Spengler 1993–2008: Peter Steinacker 2009–2017: Volker Jung The Protestant Church of Hesse and Nassau was founded in 1946 and 1947 through a merger of three other independent churches: Protestant Church in Hesse, Protestant Church in Nassau, Protestant Church in Frankfurt. The church ran an Evangelische Akademie in Arnoldshain, moved to Frankfurt in 2013. Ordination of women and blessing of same-sex unions were allowed in 2013. Official website The Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau Evangelical Church in Germany
Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Austria
The Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Austria is a Lutheran denomination in Austria. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, which it joined in 1947, it is a member of the World Council of Churches, the Conference of European Churches and the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe as well as the Conference of Churches on the Rhine. The Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Austria is headed by a Bishop – the Reverend Dr Michael Bünker; the church consists of each headed by a Superintendent. These superintendencies are broadly aligned territorially with the federal states of the Republic of Austria. Since 2009, the Evangelical Church in Austria has been an advocate of gay rights and endorsed the introduction of civil partnerships for same-sex couples. Additionally, the church permits and supports blessing services for same-sex couples to celebrate their civil union. Official website Lutheran World Federation listing
Protestant Church of Augsburg Confession of Alsace and Lorraine
The Protestant Church of the Augsburg Confession of Alsace and Lorraine is a Lutheran church of public-law corporation status in France. The ambit of the EPCAAL comprises congregations in the Lorrain Moselle department; the EPCAAL adheres to the Apostles Creed, Nicene Creed, Luther's Small and Large Catechisms, the Formula of Concord, the Tetrapolitan Confession. The EPCAAL has 210,000 members in 208 congregations. Congregations holding services in German language use the current German Protestant hymnal Evangelisches Gesangbuch in a regional edition that includes traditional hymns from Alsace and Moselle. In 1961 the EPCAAL was a founding member of the Conference of Churches on the Rhine, which now functions as a regional group of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe; the first conference took place in EPCAAL's conference centre, the former convent of Liebfrauenberg near Gœrsdorf. Since 2006, the EPCAAL has been a member of the Union of Protestant Churches of Alsace and Lorraine, an administrative umbrella with the Protestant Reformed Church of Alsace and Lorraine.
This is not a united body, but it provides a common decision-making structure and a common body of pastors. However, the two churches maintain their own organisation; the EPCAAL is a member of the Fédération protestante de France and of the Lutheran World Federation, the World Council of Churches. The EPCAAL had close fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of France. In the early 16th century Alsace and northeastern Lorraine were part of the Holy Roman Empire with the region being partitioned into many different imperial states. Most were monarchies, but several republics and portions of certain ecclesiastical principalities. While the prince-bishops tried to suppress any change towards the Reformation, the monarchies either adopted it or fought it, depending on the positions of their lords; the free imperial cities went through a process of discussion and conflict, winning over a majority of the burghers for the Reformation or not. The Free Imperial City of Mulhouse adopted Calvinism and joined the Swiss Confederation until the French blockade forced the city to accept French supremacy in 1795.
In 1523 and 1524, the Free Imperial City of Strasbourg became the next state in Alsace to adopt Lutheranism. Most publishers in Strasbourg agreed to diffuse new ideas by issuing Reformers' tracts and numerous pamphlets; this allowed well-known preachers such as Matthäus Zell, priest at the Strasbourg Cathedral, to propagate Reformatory theses to a large, enthusiastic community. In the same year theologians and exegetes including Wolfgang Capito, Caspar Hedio, Martin Bucer and built up the Reformatory movement amongst craftsmen and the moderately well to do of Strasbourg. In 1524, St. Aurelia, the market gardeners' parish, asked Bucer to become its preacher. Bucer adopted his ideas, he helped implement the Reformation in the Free Imperial City of Wissembourg in Alsace, which resulted in his excommunication by George of the Palatinate, the bishop of Speyer, his conviction as outlaw. In 1523 he found asylum in Strasbourg, where he set up Bible reading classes and in 1529, presented the Reformation.
He received John Calvin, expelled from Geneva in 1538. Bucer tried to safeguard the unity of the Church, but failed in reconciling Luther and Zwingli, or bringing Catholics and Protestants to agree at least on some points. At his urging, the city of Strasbourg granted asylum to the persecuted anabaptists. By 1525 the Reformation was spreading not only into the countryside possessions of Strasbourg, but into territories of other overlords. Although most capitular canons in the Great Chapter, the chapters of Strasbourg's Old St. Peter's and Young St. Peter's, like much of the traditional clergy, rejected the Reformation, the prince-bishop of Strasbourg, William III of Hohnstein, failed to satisfy the demand for change. Before the start of the Reformation, adherents of the Bundschuh movement in Alsace had demanded the right to elect their pastors on their own; the Lutheran church was the state church in the Free Imperial City of Strasbourg, administered by the city government. The city government passed laws on preaching and appropriated the Strasbourg Cathedral for the Lutheran state church in 1524.
It granted the Lutheran church the right to induct pastors in the seven parishes in the town and took the responsibility attributed to deacons, of supporting the poor. In 1529 the city government, supported by a large part of the population, decided that the Holy Mass should be abolished. Violent iconoclasm spread – notably among craftsmen – destroying many religious images; the Church of Strasbourg built up its liturgical and ecclesiastical structures. The church authorities instituted a bimonthly meeting of the pastors and three representatives of the Magistrate, in order to deal with all matters concerning teaching and doctrine. Upon more reflection, some liturgical aspects of iconographic nature as well as other abolished traditions of church life were reintroduced. On the occasion of the Diet of Augsburg in 1530, where Lu