World Council of Churches chooses Karlsruhe as 2021 venue

Germany to host WCC Assembly for the first time

The 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) will take place in Karlsruhe, Germany, in 2021. That was decided today by the WCC Central Committee at its meeting in Geneva. The majority of the approx. 150 delegates voted for Karlsruhe. The other contender was Cape Town in South Africa.

The assembly will take place in Germany for the first time in the WCC’s 70-year history. Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), welcomed the Central Committee’s decision. “I am delighted that we in Germany can have the privilege of being the hosts,” he said.

Bedford-Strohm, who presented Karlsruhe‘s application in Geneva last weekend, underlined the significance of the assembly for Europe. “It will be the first time for 50 years that Christians from all over the world gather in Europe in the context of the World Council of Churches. I expect this experience to be very stimulating for our churches here, testifying to a living, happy and outward-looking faith,” he commented. Since its founding in 1948 in Amsterdam the WCC has held its Assembly in Europe on only one other occasion - in 1968 in Uppsala, Sweden.

The WCC represents over 500 million Christians worldwide from 350 different Protestant, Anglican/Old Catholic and Orthodox church families. The Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the World Council and decides on the policies guiding its work. It takes place every eight years with about 4000 official participants and international guests, and also provides a varied programme for local visitors.

The invitation to Karlsruhe was extended jointly by the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), the Council of Christian Churches in Germany (ACK) and the Protestant Church in Baden (EKIBA). It was supported by the Protestant Church of the Palatinate, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Württemberg, the Catholic Archdiocese of Freiburg, the ACK in Baden-Württemberg, the local Christian churches in Karlsruhe and the Union of Protestant Churches of Alsace and Lorraine (UEPAL).

The events will take place both in Karlsruhe and Strasbourg, France, making this the WCC’s first cross-border assembly.


Hanover, 20 June 2018

EKD Press Office
Carsten Splitt