Speaking at the traditional St John’s Day reception (22 June) of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) at Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin, EKD Council Chair Heinrich Bedford-Strohm argued strongly for a „rediscovery of Christian hope“.
He said that 2017 had so far been a year in which large numbers of people had celebrated the anniversary of the Reformation as a happy, peaceful occasion, including well over a hundred thousand participants at the Kirchentag. And yet other images had constantly etched themselves on our memories as well – showing attacks on innocent people, violence and persecution.
„The Reformers rediscovered the world as a place in which God is at work,“ Bedford-Strohm recalled. Hence Christians, 500 years after the Reformation, have to counter pictures of horror with pictures of hope, peace and reconciliation. „Where God is at work there is hope“, he said. „Today, in many places in the world, this hope is a hope against all appearances.“
The EKD Council Chair noted that hope was particularly relevant where there were setbacks. „Such a setback for global climate protection is the announcement of the US administration that it intends to withdraw from the Paris Agreement,“ Bedford-Strohm declared. He hoped, though, that this might „lead to all-the-more resolute action by the international community. Before the Hamburg G20 summit it is paramount to do our utmost to keep climate protection top of the international agenda.“
The theme of this year‘s St John’s Day address by the EKD Council Chair was „Faith, hope, love – sources of strength for society“. Many guests from politics, churches, culture and business accepted the invitation of the Council plenipotentiary to attend the annual reception at Gendarmenmarkt.
Among them were Norbert Lammert, the speaker of the German federal parliament, Thomas Oppermann (CDU) and Katrin Göring-Eckardt (The Greens), chairs of their parliamentary groups, as well as cabinet ministers Thomas de Maizière, Wolfgang Schäuble, Andrea Nahles, Barbara Hendricks and Hermann Gröhe.
The address of the EKD Council Chair at the St John’s Day reception will be available for download (in English and German) as soon as the event starts (6pm) at www.ekd.de/en/speech_st_john_2017
It will also be streamed live (in German) via Facebook: facebook.com/ekd.de
Hanover, 22 June 2017
EKD Press Office