16 December 2009

The End of Holy Disorder?

The Evangelical Church in Central Germany has officially closed its 20th anniverary year Holy Disorder to mark the peaceful revolution of 1989, with the statement below. But this blog will continue:
The Protestant Church in East Germany still has a reason to be grateful for the peaceful revolution of autumn 1989 in the GDR. It is a sign of the workings of God's Spirit and about which we were surprised - surpassing all human reason and probability.

In the autumn of 1989 people were drawn from the churches into the streets and squares. The prayers for peace contributed to make the revolution non-violent. Many people - Christians and non-Christians - saw a church that was alive. It created an open space. People were able to speak up and demand changes for their country.

In many congregations and grassroots groups and individual Christians were engaged in the decade before the revolution and in the autumn of 1989 encouraged and organized prayers for peace. They stood up in an ecumenical community for justice, peace and the integrity of creation. They had to be prepared to be persecuted by the state,and many were persecuted. However, many did not allow themselves to be intimidated and deliberately violated state regulations. They drew attention to the dictatorial conditions.

The Protestant Church in Central Germany praises the brave and consistent action by people in parishes and grassroots groups. This commitment invigorated both society and the church.

This remembrance and gratitude means that we in our Protestant Church also critically reflect on our own role.

On several occasions grassroots groups in the church has to confront church leaders. We recognise today that they were not always considered as a natural part of our church. At the same time we thank those in the church who supported these groups. The arguments about openness and political interference of the church repeatedly helped to determine the relationship of the church to the GDR state.

In the Protestant church, in the synod, the ecumenical assemblies and grassroots groups, people realised that they were citizens. They lived out democracy. After autumn 1989, these experiences helped develop a democratic culture in state and society.

We encourage all Christians and citizens even today to work for justice, peace and integrity of creation. The issues of life and survival today require a bold and consistent commitment. The experiences from autumn 1989 help this.

We need to continue our critical reflection about autumn 1989 and the two decades that follows even after the anniversary year and the campaign 1989-2009 Holy Disorder. Before us is the path of our church in the conciliar process. We see many people inside and outside our church with unresolved frustrations and unanswered expectations. We hope that we can make a contribution that can lead to an open and healing discussion. From this can grown an encouragement to our commitment now.


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