3 - 2003
Dear EKD Bulletin readers,
in Hanover, and indeed the whole of Germany, summer is passing gently into autumn. We have had a very special summer in Germany this year. After last year's flood of the century, still remembered painfully by many, this year it has not rained for months. The thermometer has climbed to undreamt of heights in Germany. Temperature records which have stood for many decades have been broken this year. People in other regions of the world are used to such temperatures, but for us in Germany it was rather unusual. Even those who normally long for every ray of sunshine groaned in the heat.
The current debate in German society has been and is still heated. All those involved are agreed on one point, that reform of the social system is urgently necessary. The EKD had pointed out in January through its Council Chairman, Manfred Kock, that courage was needed for the reforms. The political debate about which reforms are the right ones has continued during the recent months: the government and the opposition are searching - as is normal in good democratic process - for the right way. The Church is following this discussion critically. The leading churchmen intervene when they see the rights of the weakest in society threatened, and encourage the politicians to take unpopular steps.
Since June, the Churches have been discussing internally the proposals of a working group appointed by the regional Churches on changing the structure of the Evangelical Church. The former Bishop of Baden and EKD Council Chairman, Klaus Engelhardt, presented these proposals to the Conference of Churches in Berlin. Currently, the working group and the regional Churches are in a second phase of consultation, examining which practical steps to take.
This edition of the EKD Bulletin reports on this and many other matters. One thing is certain - life in the Church remains exciting and interesting.
In this sense, I greet you all,