In English church history, a Nonconformist was a Protestant who did not "conform" to the governance and usages of the established Church of England. Broad use of the term was precipitated after the Restoration of the British monarchy in 1660, when the Act of Uniformity 1662 re-established the opponents of reform within the Church of England. By the late 19th century the term included the Reformed Christians, plus the Baptists and Methodists; the English Dissenters such as the Puritans who violated the Act of Uniformity 1559—typically by practising radical, sometimes separatist, dissent—were retrospectively labelled as Nonconformists. By law and social custom, Nonconformists were restricted from many spheres of public life—not least, from access to public office, civil service careers, or degrees at university—and were referred to as suffering from civil disabilities. In England and Wales in the late 19th century the new terms "free churchman" and "Free Church" started to replace "dissenter" or "Nonconformist".
One influential Nonconformist minister was Matthew Henry, who beginning in 1710 published his multi-volume Commentary, still used and available in the 21st century. Isaac Watts is an recognized Nonconformist minister whose hymns are still sung by Christians worldwide; the Act of Uniformity of 1662 required churchmen to use all rites and ceremonies as prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer. It required episcopal ordination of all ministers of the Church of England—a pronouncement most odious to the Puritans, the faction of the church which had come to dominance during the English Civil War and the Interregnum. Nearly 2,000 clergymen were "ejected" from the established church for refusing to comply with the provisions of the act, an event referred to as the Great Ejection; the Great Ejection created an abiding public consciousness of non-conformity. Thereafter, a Nonconformist was any English subject belonging to a non-Anglican church or a non-Christian religion. More broadly, any person who advocated religious liberty was called out as Nonconformist.
The strict religious tests embodied in the laws of the Clarendon code and other penal laws excluded a substantial section of English society from public affairs and benefits, including certification of university degrees, for well more than a century and a half. Culturally, in England and Wales, discrimination against Nonconformists endured longer. Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Calvinists, other "reformed" groups and less organized sects were identified as Nonconformists at the time of the 1662 Act of Uniformity. Following the act, other groups, including Methodists, Quakers, Plymouth Brethren, the English Moravians were labelled as Nonconformists as they became organized; the term dissenter came into particular use after the Act of Toleration, which exempted those Nonconformists who had taken oaths of allegiance from being penalized for certain acts, such as for non-attendance to Church of England services. A religious census in 1851 revealed Nonconformist comprised about half that of the people who attended church services on Sundays.
In the larger manufacturing areas, Nonconformists outnumbered members of the Church of England. In Wales in 1850, Nonconformist chapel attendance outnumbered Anglican church attendance, they were based in the fast-growing upwardly mobile urban middle class. Historians distinguish two categories of Dissenters, or Nonconformists, in addition to the evangelicals or "Low Church" element in the Church of England. "Old Dissenters", dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, included Baptists, Congregationalists, Quakers and Presbyterians outside Scotland. "New Dissenters" emerged in the 18th century and were Methodists. The "Nonconformist Conscience" was their moral sensibility which they tried to implement in British politics; the "Nonconformist conscience" of the Old group emphasized religious freedom and equality, pursuit of justice, opposition to discrimination and coercion. The New Dissenters stressed personal morality issues, including sexuality, family values, Sabbath-keeping. Both factions were politically active, but until mid-19th century the Old group supported Whigs and Liberals in politics, while the New—like most Anglicans—generally supported Conservatives.
In the late 19th the New Dissenters switched to the Liberal Party. The result was a merging of the two groups, strengthening their great weight as a political pressure group, they joined together on new issues regarding schools and temperance. By 1914 the linkage was weakening and by the 1920s it was dead. Nonconformists in the 18th and 19th century claimed a devotion to hard work, temperance and upward mobility, with which historians today agree. A major Unitarian magazine, the Christian Monthly Repository asserted in 1827: Throughout England a great part of the more active members of society, who have the most intercourse with the people have the most influence over them, are Protestant Dissenters; these are manufacturers and substantial tradesman, or persons who are in the enjoyment of a competency realized by trade and manufacturers, gentlemen of the professions of law and physic, agriculturalists, of that class who live upon their own freehold. The virtues of temperance, frugality and integrity promoted by religious Nonconformity...assist the temporal prosperity of these descriptions of persons, as they tend to lift others to the same rank in society.
The emerging middle-class norm for women was separate spheres, whereby women avoid the public sp
Presbyterianism is a part of the reformed tradition within Protestantism, which traces its origins to Britain Scotland. Presbyterian churches derive their name from the presbyterian form of church government, governed by representative assemblies of elders. A great number of Reformed churches are organized this way, but the word Presbyterian, when capitalized, is applied uniquely to churches that trace their roots to the Church of Scotland, as well as several English dissenter groups that formed during the English Civil War. Presbyterian theology emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures, the necessity of grace through faith in Christ. Presbyterian church government was ensured in Scotland by the Acts of Union in 1707, which created the Kingdom of Great Britain. In fact, most Presbyterians found in England can trace a Scottish connection, the Presbyterian denomination was taken to North America by Scots and Scots-Irish immigrants; the Presbyterian denominations in Scotland hold to the Reformed theology of John Calvin and his immediate successors, although there is a range of theological views within contemporary Presbyterianism.
Local congregations of churches which use presbyterian polity are governed by sessions made up of representatives of the congregation. The roots of Presbyterianism lie in the Reformation of the 16th century, the example of John Calvin's Republic of Geneva being influential. Most Reformed churches that trace their history back to Scotland are either presbyterian or congregationalist in government. In the twentieth century, some Presbyterians played an important role in the ecumenical movement, including the World Council of Churches. Many Presbyterian denominations have found ways of working together with other Reformed denominations and Christians of other traditions in the World Communion of Reformed Churches; some Presbyterian churches have entered into unions with other churches, such as Congregationalists, Lutherans and Methodists. Presbyterians in the United States came from Scottish immigrants, Scotch-Irish immigrants, from New England Yankee communities, Congregational but changed because of an agreed-upon Plan of Union of 1801 for frontier areas.
Along with Episcopalians, Presbyterians tend to be wealthier and better educated than most other religious groups in United States, are disproportionately represented in the upper reaches of American business and politics. Presbyterian tradition that of the Church of Scotland, traces its early roots to the Church founded by Saint Columba, through the 6th century Hiberno-Scottish mission. Tracing their apostolic origin to Saint John, the Culdees practiced Christian monasticism, a key feature of Celtic Christianity in the region, with a presbyter exercising "authority within the institution, while the different monastic institutions were independent of one another." The Church in Scotland kept the Christian feast of Easter at a date different from the See of Rome and its monks used a unique style of tonsure. The Synod of Whitby in 664, ended these distinctives as it ruled "that Easter would be celebrated according to the Roman date, not the Celtic date." Although Roman influence came to dominate the Church in Scotland, certain Celtic influences remained in the Scottish Church, such as "the singing of metrical psalms, many of them set to old Celtic Christianity Scottish traditional and folk tunes", which became a "distinctive part of Scottish Presbyterian worship".
Presbyterian history is part of the history of Christianity, but the beginning of Presbyterianism as a distinct movement occurred during the 16th-century Protestant Reformation. As the Catholic Church resisted the reformers, several different theological movements splintered from the Church and bore different denominations. Presbyterianism was influenced by the French theologian John Calvin, credited with the development of Reformed theology, the work of John Knox, a Scotsman and a Roman Catholic Priest, who studied with Calvin in Geneva, Switzerland, he brought back Reformed teachings to Scotland. The Presbyterian church traces its ancestry back to England and Scotland. In August 1560 the Parliament of Scotland adopted the Scots Confession as the creed of the Scottish Kingdom. In December 1560, the First Book of Discipline was published, outlining important doctrinal issues but establishing regulations for church government, including the creation of ten ecclesiastical districts with appointed superintendents which became known as presbyteries.
In time, the Scots Confession would be supplanted by the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, which were formulated by the Westminster Assembly between 1643 and 1649. Presbyterians distinguish themselves from other denominations by doctrine, institutional organization and worship; the origins of the Presbyterian churches are in Calvinism. Many branches of Presbyterianism are remnants of previous splits from larger groups; some of the splits have been due to doctrinal controversy, while some have been caused by disagreement concerning the degree to which those ordained to church office should be required to agree with the Westminster Confession of Faith, which serves as an important confessional document – second only to the Bible, yet directing particularities in the standardization and translation of the Bible – in Presbyterian churches. Presbyteria
The 2010s is the current decade in the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 2010, will end on December 31, 2019. The 2010s began amid a global financial crisis dating from the late 2000s; the European sovereign-debt crisis, which stemmed from these economic problems, became more pronounced and continued to affect the possibility of a global economic recovery. Austerity policies affected Greece, Ireland and Spain; such policies were among factors that led to the Occupy movements. Other economic issues, such as inflation and an increase in commodity prices, led to unrest in many lower-income countries. Unrest in some countries—particularly in the Arab world—evolved into socio-economic crises triggering revolutions in Kyrgyzstan, Egypt and Yemen, as well as civil war in Libya and Syria, in a widespread phenomenon—commonly referred to in the Western world as the Arab Spring—with the repercussions from the revolutions continuing as of April 2019. Sitting world leaders Hugo Chávez, Muammar Gaddafi and Kim Jong-il all died, as did former leaders Fidel Castro, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Helmut Kohl and George H. W. Bush.
Major natural disasters included the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, the Nepal earthquake of 2015, the devastating hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Sandy. Other major international events this decade include the Northern Iraq offensive and the Paris attacks of November 2015; the 2010s brought the continuation of US military involvement, both in direct combat and through foreign bases, in many parts of the world, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Sahara, the Horn of Africa, the Philippines, the Caribbean and Central America. In 2011, the U. S. Navy SEALS assassinated Osama bin Laden in a raid on his Abbottabad compound, bookmarking the continued War on Terror. Online nonprofit organization WikiLeaks gained international attention for publishing classified information on topics including Guantánamo Bay, the Afghan and Iraq wars, United States diplomacy; the website's editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, was granted political asylum by Ecuador, while the United States accused Chelsea Manning of leaking classified information and conducted a court-martial.
Elsewhere, Edward Snowden blew the whistle on NSA global surveillance. Widespread use and interconnectedness of mobile networked devices and mobile telephony, internet websites and resources, social networking became a de facto standard in digital communication during the 2010s. Beginning in 2016, much of the Western world began to experience a political backlash against globalization immigration policy and free-trade agreements; this trend grew more evident after the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. The increase in economic inequality in developed countries was an important discussion topic along the decade. Elsewhere, populist sentiment rose in Asian countries in the late 2010s in Southeast Asia and India; the prominent wars of the decade include: Coups d'état against ruling governments during the decade include: On 8 April 2010, the United States and Russia signed a treaty in Prague, Czech Republic to reduce the stockpiles of their nuclear weapons by half.
It is meant to replace the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, set to expire. The treaty went into force on 5 February 2011. In 2015, Iran and other world powers agreed to trade sanctions relief for explicit constraints on Iran's contentious nuclear program, including allowing the inspections of nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency. On 16 January 2016 the IAEA confirmed that Iran had complied with the agreement, allowing the United Nations to lift sanctions immediately. However, on May 8, 2018, United States President Donald Trump announced the United States was withdrawing from the deal. On 7 July 2017, the United Nations passed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the first binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons, with the goal of leading towards their total elimination, it has been signed by 58 nations. Throughout the decade, North Korea expanded its nuclear capabilities, performing alleged nuclear tests in 2013 and 2016, which governments responded by placing international sanctions on the country.
In response North Korea has threatened the United States, South Korea and Japan with pre-emptive nuclear strikes. However, in 2018, North Korea suggested that they may disarm their nuclear arsenal after negotiations with the United States; the most prominent terrorist attacks committed against civilian populations during the decade include: China was called a superpower in the early 2010s, including at the 2011 meeting between President Hu Jintao and United States President Barack Obama. China overtook the US as the world's largest trading nation, filing the most patents, expanding its military, landing its lunar rover Yutu on the moon and creating China's Oriental Movie Metropolis as a major film and cultural center. China was projected to have the world's largest economy by 2018 with an estimated GDP per capita equal to the US by the late 2050s. Political polarization increased as conservatives and social liberals clashed over the role of government and other social and environmental issues in the West.
In the United States, polls showed a divided electorate regarding healthcare reform, gun rights, job creation, debt reduction. In Europe, movements protesting increasing numbers of refugees from Islamic countries developed, such as the English D
Church of Sweden
The Church of Sweden is an Evangelical Lutheran national church in Sweden. A former state church, headquartered in Uppsala, with 6.0 million baptised members at year end 2017 it is the largest Christian denomination in Sweden. It is the largest Lutheran denomination in Europe and the third-largest in the world after the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. A member of the Porvoo Communion, the Church professes the Lutheran branch of Christianity, it is composed of thirteen dioceses, divided into parishes. It is an open national church which, working with a democratic organisation and through the ministry of the church, covers the whole nation; the Primate of the Church of Sweden is the Archbishop of Uppsala — Antje Jackelén, Sweden's first female archbishop. Today, the Church of Sweden is an Evangelical Lutheran church, it is liturgically and theologically "high church", having retained priests and the Mass during the Swedish Reformation. In common with other Evangelical Lutheran churches, the Church of Sweden maintains the historical episcopate.
Some Lutheran churches have congregational polity or modified episcopal polity without Apostolic succession, but the historic episcopate is maintained in Sweden and the other Lutheran nations of the Porvoo Communion. The Church of Sweden is known for its liberal position in theological issues the question of homosexuality; when Eva Brunne was consecrated as Bishop of Stockholm in 2009, she became the first lesbian bishop in the world. Despite a significant yearly loss of members, its membership of 5,993,368 people accounts for 59.3% of the Swedish population. Until 2000 it held the position of state church; the high membership numbers are because until 1996 all newborn children were made members, unless their parents had cancelled their membership. 2% of the church's members attend Sunday services. According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2009, 17% of the Swedish population considered religion as an important part of their daily life. King Gustav I Vasa instigated the Church of Sweden in 1536 during his reign as King of Sweden.
This act separated the church from its canon law. In 1571, the Swedish Church Ordinance became the first Swedish church order following the Reformation; the Church of Sweden became Lutheran at the Uppsala Synod in 1593 when it adopted the Augsburg Confession to which most Lutherans adhere. At this synod, it was decided that the church would retain the three original Christian creeds: the Apostles', the Athanasian, the Nicene. In 1686, the Riksdag of the Estates adopted the Book of Concord, although only certain parts, labelled Confessio fidei, were considered binding, the other texts explanatory. Confessio dei included the three aforementioned Creeds, the Augsburg Confession and two Uppsala Synod decisions from 1572 and 1593. During the 19th and 20th centuries, a variety of teachings were approved directed towards ecumenism: 1878 development of the Catechism the Uppsala Creed of 1909, preparing for Eucharistic communion with the Church of England the constitutions of World Council of Churches the constitutions of Lutheran World Federation Church of Sweden's official response to the "Lima document" a Council of the Bishops Letter in Important Theological Questions the 1995 Treaty of Communion with the Philippine Independent ChurchIn practice, the Lutheran creed texts play a minor role, instead the parishes rely on Lutheran tradition in coexistence with influences from other Christian denominations and diverse ecclesial movements such as Low Church, High Church and Laestadianism, which locally might be established, but which have little nationwide influence.
During the 20th century the Church of Sweden oriented itself towards liberal Christianity and human rights. In 1957, the church assembly rejected a proposal for ordination of women, but the Riksdag changed the law in spring 1958 and forced the church assembly to accept the new law in autumn 1958. Since 1960, women have been ordained as priests, since 1994, men who oppose collaboration with women priests have not been allowed ordination. A proposal to perform same-sex weddings was approved on October 22, 2009 by 176 of 249 voting members of the Church of Sweden Synod. In 2000 the Church of Sweden ceased to be a state church, but there remains a strong tradition of community connection with churches in relation to rites of passage, with many infants baptized and teenagers confirmed for families without formal church membership. While some Swedish areas had Christian minorities in the 9th century, Sweden was, because of its geographical location in northernmost Europe, not Christianized until around AD 1000, around the same time as the other Nordic countries, when the Swedish King Olof was baptized.
This left only a modest gap between the Christianization of Scandinavia and the Great Schism, however there are some Scandinavian/Swedish saints who are venerated eagerly by many Orthodox Christians, such as St. Olaf. However, Norse paganism and other pre-Christian religious systems survived in the territory of what is now Sweden than that; the Christian church in Scandinavia was governed by the archdiocese of Bremen. In 1104 an archbishop for all Scandinavia was installed in Lund. Uppsala was
Free Church of England
The Free Church of England is an episcopal church based in England. The church was founded when a number of congregations separated from the established Church of England in the middle of the 19th century; the doctrinal basis of the FCE, together with its episcopal structures, worship and ethos are recognisably "Anglican" although it is not a member of the Anglican Communion. Its worship style follows that of the Book of Common Prayer or conservative modern-language forms that belong to the Anglican tradition; the Church of England acknowledges the FCE as a church with valid Orders and its canons permit a range of shared liturgical and ministerial activities. The Free Church of England was founded principally by Evangelical or Low Church clergy and congregations in response to what were perceived as attempts to re-introduce mediaeval Roman Catholic dogmas and practices into the Established Church; the first congregations were formed in 1844. In the early years clergy were provided by the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion which had its origins in the 18th century Evangelical Revival.
By the middle of the 19th century the Connexion still retained many Anglican features such as the use of the surplice and the Book of Common Prayer. In 1863 the annual conference of the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion created a constitution for the new congregations under the title "The Free Church of England"; the constitution made provision for the creation of dioceses, each to be under the oversight of a bishop. The first bishop was Benjamin Price, who had oversight of all the new congregations. In 1874 the FCE made contact with the newly organised Reformed Episcopal Church in North America; the founding bishop of the REC, George David Cummins, had been influenced by William Augustus Muhlenberg, who advocated "Evangelical Catholicism" as a means of combining the best of both the Evangelical and Catholic traditions. In 1876 an REC bishop from Canada, Edward Cridge, came to the United Kingdom and consecrated Benjamin Price and John Sugden in the historic succession; the following year a branch of the REC was founded in the UK.
The two churches lived in parallel until 1927, when the Free Church of England united with the UK branch of the Reformed Episcopal Church. The full name of the united church since 1927 is "The Free Church of England, otherwise called the Reformed Episcopal Church in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland"; the Free Church of England is a conventional Anglican church body, worshipping in the Low Church tradition and holding to the principles of the Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty-Nine Articles. Presbyters and deacons wear surplice and hood; the church has created the category of "associate congregations". These are pre-existing groups of Christians who have come under the oversight of the FCE bishops but continue their existing liturgical practice; some of the parishes have youth activities of various kinds. Each congregation elects churchwardens and delegates who, together with the clergy, constitute the diocesan synod and annual convocation; the provision of contemporary language liturgies has been approved by convocation and a process of drafting and authorisation has begun.
The church has continued to ordain bishops in the apostolic succession, with Moravian, Church of England and Indian Orthodox bishops taking part on occasion. The presiding bishop is chosen annually by convocation and has the title "Bishop Primus". Only baptised males are ordained to Holy Orders as bishops and deacons, or admitted to the public teaching office of Reader. In 2017, there were around 900 members of the FCE in England; the Central Board of Trustees for the denomination, The Free Church of England Central Trust, operates as a registered UK charity and is a company limited by guarantee with no share capital. It holds as loans funds deposited by the churches for investment and lends money and makes grants to further the objects and work of the FCE; the united church enjoyed modest growth in the first part of the 20th century, having at one point 90 congregations, but after the Second World War, like most other denominations in the UK, suffered a decline in numbers, though there has been a modest increase in the number of congregations in recent years.
The Free Church of England has two dioceses in England and one in South America, comprising congregations in Brazil and Venezuela. There are twenty churches in England, divided between the two dioceses; the Northern Diocese bishop is John Fenwick. The twenty UK churches are located as follows: Diocesan website: Bishops: –1917: William Troughton 1927–1958: Frank Vaughan 1958–1967: Thomas Cameron 1967–1973: James Burrell 1973–1998: Cyril Milner 1999–2003: Arthur Bentley-Taylor 2003–2006: John McLean 2006–: John Fenwick Diocesan website: Bishops: 1889–1896: Benjamin Price 1896–1901: Samuel Dicksee 1904–1927: Richard Brook Lander 1927–1934: Joseph Fenn 1934–1955: John Magee 1955–1968: George Forbes-Smith 1968–1971: Ambrose Bodfish 1972–1976: William Watkins 1977–1990: Arthur Ward 1990–2006: Kenneth Powell 2007–: Paul HuntChurches: The work in South America, comprising 25 congregations, was recognised as an Overseas Diocese by the Convocation held in June 2018; the 16 Brazilian congregations are registered as the Anglican Reformed Church of Brazil, with the other 9 located in Venezuela.
The Bishop of the Diocese is the Right Revd. Josep Rossello.
Independent Evangelical-Lutheran Church
The Independent Evangelical-Lutheran Church is a confessional Lutheran church body of Germany. It is a member of the European Lutheran Conference and of the International Lutheran Council; the SELK has about 33,000 members in 174 congregations. The seat of SELK is in Hanover. In 1817, King Frederick William III of Prussia ordered the Lutheran and Reformed churches in his territory to unite, forming the Evangelical Church of the Prussian Union, a predecessor to today's Union of Evangelical Churches; as the uniting of Lutheran and Reformed Christians in Germany proceeded, some Lutheran groups dissented and formed independent churches in Prussia, Saxony and Hesse. These Lutherans held that Reformed doctrine and Lutheran doctrine are contradictory on many points, that such doctrinal differences precluded altar fellowship. So in the 1820s and 1830s Lutherans in Prussia and their congregations formed a new Lutheran church, recognised by the king in 1845 as the Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Preußen.
It presided over by the Oberkirchenkollegium. The confessional Lutherans were persecuted during the first half of 19th century by the state. Many of them were not allowed to hold church services or have their children baptized or confirmed according to the liturgy of the Lutheran Church. In some areas of Germany, it took decades until the Confessional Lutherans were granted religious freedom. In 1972 most of the Confessional Lutheran Church bodies in West Germany united to form the SELK. In 1991 the East German Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche joined the SELK; the SELK bases its teaching on the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, which it confesses to be God's inerrant and infallible Word. The specific doctrines taught in the SELK are contained in the Book of Concord, to which SELK pastors profess a "quia" subscription, meaning that they subscribe to them, "quia" they correspond to the Bible; these Confessions are: The Apostles' Creed The Nicene Creed The Athanasian Creed The Augsburg Confession The Apology of the Augsburg Confession The Smalcald Articles The Small Catechism of Dr. Martin Luther The Large Catechism of Dr. Martin Luther The Formula of ConcordThe SELK has declined to join the Lutheran World Federation, viewing that body as theologically too liberal.
The Evangelical Lutheran Free Church in communion with the SELK, suspended relations in 1987 over perceived doctrinal laxity within SELK. The SELK does not ordain women as pastors, is against the blessing of gay couples; this is in contrast to the German mainline Protestant churches, which do ordain women to ministry and allow the blessing of gay couples. The mainline Protestant churches are organized as the Evangelical Church in Germany; the bishop of the SELK is elected by the synod. The current bishop is Hans-Jörg Voigt; the main office of the SELK is in Hannover, is managed by the executive dean Michael Schätzel. The SELK is divided with a provost heading each one; these four districts are divided again in sub-districts, each in turn led by a superintendent. North district: Provost Johannes Rehr Sub-districts: Lower Saxony West, Lower Saxony East, Lower Saxony South. East district: Provost Gert Kelter Sub-districts: Berlin-Brandenburg, Saxony-Thuringia, Lausitz West district: Provost Klaus Pahlen Sub-districts: Westphalia and Rhineland South district: Provost Klaus-Peter Czwikla Sub-districts: Hesse North, Hesse South, South Germany 1972 - 1985: Most Reverend Bishop Dr. theol.
Gerhard Rost, LL. D. 1985 - 1997: Most Reverend Bishop Dr. theol. Jobst Schöne, D. D. 1997 - 2006: Most Reverend Bishop Dr. theol. Diethardt Roth since 2006: Most Reverend Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt, D. D; the mission outreach of SELK is led by its mission society in Bleckmar in Lower Saxony near Celle, called Lutherische Kirchenmission e. V, it has missionaries and projects in South-Africa, Botswana and Brazil. The theological seminary is near Frankurt/Main. All SELK pastors take part of their studies there; the professors are pastors of SELK. The seminary is accredited by the German state. For different aspects of church life the SELK has a number of other institutions, such as an institution for youth, church music, worship service for children, a liturgy commission, a commission for church education; the SELK has full communion and fellowship with several Lutheran churches that have the same teaching and Lutheran doctrine, for example: Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod Lutheran Church–Canada Free Evangelical-Lutheran Church in South Africa Evangelical Lutheran Church of England Lutheran Church in Southern Africa The SELK has a contract about partnership relations with several Lutheran churches in Eastern Europe: Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lithuania Prussian Union of churches Old Lutherans Official website
India known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia; the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Gupta empires. In the medieval era, Zoroastrianism and Islam arrived, Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947. In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
A pluralistic and multi-ethnic society, it is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historical local appellation for the Indus River; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "The people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations, it is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India, it was introduced into India by the Mughals and used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety; the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan; these developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Kalibangan, relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones; the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.
Most historians consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, craft traditions. In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas; the emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of Mahavira.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle