Six (territorial) churches and the v. Bodelschwingh Foundations Bethel are the German members of the United Evangelical Mission. Their membership is coordinated by the department of the German Region, which supports encounters and cooperation between congregations, church circuits, regional churches and their institutions in all UEM member churches. Partnerships are of main importance. The German region assists them through trainings and networking and by supporting the preparation and evaluation of delegation travels and visiting programmes.
The German region offers its members knowledge and experiences concerning the current situation in the member churches in Africa and Asia - not only regarding the churches themselves, but also regarding the political, economical, cultural and social situation of the countries. We also have special knowledge about topics like Mission, Oikumene, development, human rights or HIV/Aids. We are happy to share our knowledge, e.g. in seminars in our Centre for Mission and Diakonia or in our Centre for Mission and Leadership Studies.
Alle our member churches face great challenges when it comes to mission work. We can contribute impulses from our african and asian member churches. We help our German members with their work for justice, peace and the integrity of Creation. For this reason we are activly engaged in lobby and advocacy work and are active members in different networks on an national and international level.
We are in close cooperation with the respective departments, teams or contact persons in our German member churches:
The Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN) is located in the middle of the Federal Republic of Germany. It includes the southern part of the Federal States of Hesse and Rheinland-Pfalz including the Rhein-Main area and its vibrant center, Frankfurt, as well as the rural areas of Vogelsberg, Taunus and Odenwald.
Some five million people live in the cities and towns within the church boundaries. Nearly two million are members of the EKHN. An additional 1,5 million people belong to other denominations within the Christian church. Vital to the church is the inseparability of faith and social responsibility. No less important than a lively spirituality are the fair distribution of wealth and work within the country, a future-oriented economic policy, and the stewardship of Godâ€™s creation. â€śThe decline in the number of church members challenges us anew to give witness to the living hope within us as Christiansâ€ť (1. Peter 3:15b).
The Protestant Church of Hesse and Nassau has a "Center ecumenism", where the staff-members organize the close contact to christian and other religious groups worldwide:
The EKHN, together with 23 other regional churches, forms the Protestant Church in Germany, the EKD. This in turn is a member of the World Council of Churches which was founded in 1948. Its members, having committed themselves to the concerns of this worldwide fellowship, work together with other churches in spite of denominational differences. A living example of this is the annual World Day of Prayer.
The EKHN extends its connections and partnerships to churches and congregations abroad- to Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy, the Republic of South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, India, Indonesia and South Korea.We share experiences with these people, participate in the joy and concern of the partners and work together on issues of â€śpeace, justice and the integrity of creationâ€ť.
Every year the â€śGustav-Adolf-Werk e.V.â€ť, Diaspora Organization of the Protestant Church in Germany, grants 14 scholarships to theology students from partner-churches. During one year they will learn German and go on with their studies at a German university.
The EKHN supports the work of â€śBread for the Worldâ€ť and finances projects in developing countries. In addition, it contributes to making people at large aware that poverty is created â€“ and may be alleviated â€“ by human beings.
The Evangelical Church of Hesse-Waldeck traces its origin to the mission of Boniface in the 8th century. In 1524 the Reformation was introduced. A confessional contrast has been expressed by the fact that an Upper-Hessian Lutheranism around the city of Marburg acknowledged the Confessio Augustana and not the Formula of Concord. The Lower-Hessian Reformed region around Kassel adopted the Confessio Augustana. The ecumenical openness of the Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck goes back to the time when Waldensian and Huguenot refugees asked for asylum. Today it is in continuous dialogue with the Roman Catholic bishopric of Fulda in its territory. In 1934 the Evangelical Church of Hessen-Kassel and the former principality of Waldeck-Pyrmont were united in the Evangelical Church of KurhessenWaldeck.
Its primary objective is the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Its further emphases are pastoral care, education, mission and diakonia. The church struggles to find the right answers to problems of political and social peace, overcoming violence, ecology and issues of economy and technology.
Particular contacts are maintained with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Africa (Western Diocese), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia, the Estonian Evangelical-Lutheran Church, the diocese of North-Karnataka of the Church of South India, the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East, the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in the Republic of Kyrgyztan, the synod of North Brabant of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands and the Roman Catholic bishopric in the same territory of the Netherlands.
From 1524 onwards the Reformation spread through the territory of Westphalia, particularly in the cities. Besides the Lutheran congregations, a few Reformed communities also came into being. A few churches remained Roman Catholic. A presbyterian-synodal church order was devised in 1835.
In 1945 the Evangelical Church of Westphalia became independent as a church of the Union and joined the Evangelical Church in Germany. Since the second world war the church has remained a "folk church". This implies that the overwhelming majority of the population in Westphalia belongs to the church. Since 1968 (year of the WCC's fourth assembly in Uppsala) the EKW has taken up the challenge of the manifold relations between confessions and churches in the ecumenical movement and the social engagement of the world community of Christians and churches. Of the annual church income 3.5 percent is invested in ecumenical missionary and development projects. The church maintains numerous contacts with congregations and synods of churches in Africa, South-East Asia, Eastern Europe and the Evangelical Church of the River Plate in Latin America.
The Evangelical reformed Church serves mainly the area of Lower Saxony, especially in East Friesland, the county of Bentheim, and the regions of Gottingen, Osnabruck and Bremerhaven. In addition, it has a number of isolated congregations. Most of its congregations originated in Reformation times. Through the work of John a Lasco (at Emden 1540-49), these congregations were led to adopt the Reformed faith. Reformed congregations in the county of Bentheim (since 1588) were influenced by Strasburg, in the county of Lingen, by the Netherlands House of Orange at the end of the 17th century. In 1882, 114 of these congregations united to form the church. Other congregations subsequently attached themselves to it, for example those of Huguenot origin. In 1925 the church adopted its present form of government.
The church is governed on presbyterian lines. The supreme court is the synod. The Evangelical Reformed Church in North-West Germany is one of the smaller members of the EKD. On the basis of the Concord of Leuenberg the church is in eucharistic communion with all EKD member churches. It maintains particular relations with partner churches in Sumatra/Indonesia, Togo, Ghana and South Africa, especially with the "Belijdende Kring" in that country, and with churches in Hungary, Romania and former Yugoslavia.
The Hansa city of Lemgo opened itself to the Reformation in 1533. But only after the Religious Peace of Augsburg in 1555 did the synod of Cappel (1556) openly embrace the Lutheran Reformation. In 1571, the consistory of the Church of Lippe was established. Count Simon VI helped to confirm the Reformation in the spirit of Melanchthon's theology. In 1605 in Detmold the last supper was for the first time celebrated in the Reformed way. From then on the Lutheran and Reformed confessional streams developed in the church. In 1931 a new presbyterian-synodal constitution was given to the Church of Lippe which has proved adequate to this day.
The small Church of Lippe attaches great importance to a renewed partnership with Presbyterian churches in Ghana and Togo. This solidarity, a result of the missionary efforts of the last century, is now being cultivated through an exchange of delegates and theological ideas through the Northern German Mission. After the end of the cold war the Church of Lippe strengthened its relations by signing an official partnership contract with the Evangelical Reformed Church in the Republic of Poland (1997), the Reformed Church of Hungary (1999) and with the Reformed Church of Romania, Transylvanian district (1999). Intensive contacts are also maintained with the Reformed and the Lutheran churches in Lithuania. Together with the Evangelical Reformed Church and the Reformed Alliance in Germany it maintains a partnership with the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA) since 1998. The Church of Lippe continues to stress the missionary structure of the congregation and is engaged in the search for world peace.
The v. Bodelschwingh Foundations Bethel started as a home for persons with epilepsy, founded in 1867 by the Home Mission in Bielefeld. Its objective was to provide a home for persons with â€śseizure afflictionsâ€ť at a time when persons with mental or physical weakness were increasingly being pushed to the edge of society. Friedrich Simon came to Bethel as the institutionâ€™s first managing director. Friedrich von Bodelschwingh, who significantly influenced the institution, succeeded Simon in 1872. Under his managementâ€”and the management of his successorsâ€”Bethel developed into Europeâ€™s largest Christian social welfare service entity.
Approximately 15,000 employees at the v. Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel are committed to these persons. Every day, they put the Christian mandate of brotherly love into practice in Berlin, in Bielefeld and at many other locations. The word â€śBethelâ€ť is derived from Hebrew and means â€śHouse of Godâ€ť. This name forms the basis of the agenda at the v. Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel in its capacity as Europeâ€™s largest Christian social welfare services facility.
Assistance programs for persons with epilepsy are one example of Bethelâ€™s endeavor, from its founding to the present, to develop advanced services for persons in need, i.e. persons in need who were previously left alone to fend for themselves. Our main fields of work, in addition to the treatment of epilepsy, cover care for disabled individuals, senior citizensâ€™ care, assistance for young people, assistance for the homeless, work and rehabilitation, psychiatry and providing medical care at hospitals for the acutely ill. We have recently expanded our range of services to include persons with acquired brain damage, therapy programs for persons with autistic disturbances and hospice work. A total of approximately 100,000 persons are treated, supported, trained or counseled each year via Bethelâ€™s range of services.