bulletin 1/2013

- Gottfried Locher, Council President

Why unity?

Unity in diversity: this obviously makes sense and meets with general approval. But the devil is in the details: how exactly does this alleged unity relate to diversity?

- Gabriel Bader, Synod Council President of the Église réformée évangélique du canton de Neuchâtel

An uncomfortable question …

“And how is the Protestant church in Switzerland doing?” a Spanish colleague asks me during a meeting of European church representatives. I find myself stammering.

- Dölf Weder, President of the St. Gallen Cantonal Church Council

A diffusion of identity

Diversity is not a detriment but an essential characteristic of Protestant churches, as attested by the theme of the 2006 International Bodenseekirchentag (Lake Constance Church Meeting): “In diversity at home”.

- As different as our churches…

Take a guess!

Reformed Christians love to work, it is said. We looked into this matter for you. And since work spaces tell a lot about the person who works there, we just knew where to start. Which desk belongs to which head? Take a guess!

- On Ecumenism

Gottfried Locher

The beginning of a spirited debate about ecumenism: excerpts from Council President Gottfried Locher’s address at the FSPC Fall Assembly of Delegates held in November 2012 in Berne.

– On Ecumenism

Martin Werlen

Through baptism we belong to Jesus Christ. It is not the smallest common denominator but indeed the widest possible foundation, states Martin Werlen, the Abbott of Einsiedeln Abbey, in his guest contribution.

– The option of life

On the dangers of being an embryo

Modern medicine is increasingly adept at controlling the danger of falling sick and dying thereof, and incurring disabilities or severe injuries. Where we live, our lives are hardly in danger anymore. However, they are now a lot more at risk.

– “Verdingkinder”

Indentured Child Laborers

In the period between 1800 and 1960, it was a common practice in Switzerland for local authorities to take children from poor backgrounds – including orphans and children of divorce, or children from very large families – and relocate or ‘indenture’ them to foster homes or to families operating farms.

– Standing by those in trouble

The referendum “Financing for abortions is a private matter”

This year, the Swiss people are expected to vote on a federal referendum entitled “Financing for abortions is a private matter”. This will be a vote on whether the financing of abortions should be eliminated as a benefit provided in mandatory health insurance plans.

– An ecumenical milestone

Marking 40 years of the Leuenberg Agreement

Membership in the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe is crucial to the Protestant churches of Switzerland.

– Protection of the persecuted a topic of political debate

Referendum against “urgent measures” introduced in Swiss asylum policy

Without a doubt, the topic of asylum has been a matter of heated debate over the past several years. When placed in perspective, however, the situation can be seen to be quite straightforward, as the protection of the persecuted is still an international obligation to be upheld. For Switzerland, it is thus a question of the degree to which it can contribute toward this goal. The “urgent measures” introduced to change Swiss asylum law have, however, only served to distract the country from this central issue, instead making the law more restrictive.

– Diakonia, restructured

Who does what for whom in Switzerland’s diaconal organizations?

The diaconal structures at the Swiss national level underwent a considerable shakeup in 2010, when the organization Diakonieverband Schweiz (Swiss Diaconal Association) was disbanded, with its training center closed down at the Greifensee diaconal center. Things had become increasingly unclear as to how the remaining diaconal associations would be connected to training organizations and diaconal agencies.

– Sunday Alliance

Sunday – a matter of worldly spirituality?

In Switzerland, Sunday rest is protected by law. This is not the case in all European countries. Section 18 para 1 of the Federal Labor Code states that “between Saturday 11 p. m. and Sunday 11 p. m. […] employees shall not be put to work.”

– Reformation Jubilee

Keeping the Movement Alive

 In November, Margot Kässmann, the former Chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany, attended the synod of the Zurich national church, where she met with Gottfried Locher, the Council President of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches.

– Basic theological questions on climate and the environment

My home is in heaven? or on earth?

The importance of religion and spirituality for developmental aid efforts has received increased attention over the past several years. While this does not diminish the importance of the economic, social, and political contexts, these cannot account for the religious and spiritual aspects of developmental aims and projects.

– Host of the Summer AD 2013

The Protestant- Reformed Church of the Canton of Glarus

Fridolin, Ireland, Landolf and Urso, a mysterious skeleton, secret ties to Germany, and a stolen inheritance: Are these highlights from a murder mystery or a supermarket tabloid story? No, but a look into the history of the Swiss canton of Glarus can help to explain …