16 September 2009

Honouring a forerunner of the peaceful revolution

The Council of Churches in the Netherlands has awarded its ecumenical prize for 2009 to Heino Falcke (press release here), for many years the dean of Erfurt and a voice in the GDR churches urging change in the GDR, and one of the key initiators of the Conciliar Process forJustice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation. Falcke first came to wide prominence in 1972 with an address to the synod of the Federation of Protestant Churches in the GDR in which he said the church would be a "church for others" in that it would take the side of the oppressed and offer a space for critical debate and free speech. "In the promise of Christ," Falcke stated in a phrase that angered the Community authorities, "we will tirelessly remind our society of our committed hope for a socialism that can be changed for the better."

To mark the award there is a ceremony in Utrecht on 2 October that will fcous on the conciliar process as a precursor of the peaceful revolution: "Even after German unification, Falcke has reflected critically on the position of the Church. He was thus a source of inspiration for many, even in the Netherlands." More details here.

This is the link to an article about Falcke that I wrote in 1989 before the peaceful revolution. And this is a link to an article (in English) by Falcke about the Conciliar Process in the GDR.


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