Grußwort von Präses Kock zum 75.Jubiläum von "Glaube und Kirche" in Lausanne

25. August 2002

Dear brothers and sisters,

it is a lucky coincidence that the celebration of the 75th anniversary of Faith and Order is taking place during my visit to the Federation of Protestant Churches in Switzerland. This gives me the opportunity to greet you on behalf of the EKD, the Protestant Church in Germany.

75 years - for human beings this is an age far beyond the beginning of retirement. For churches it is quite a young age. For church related movements I am not quite sure, but it seems to me, that for a movement like the Faith and Order movement it is not the age that is important, but what has been achieved during that time. It is quite clear that Faith and Order has given important impulses to the Ecumenical Movement. And without Faith and Order we would not stand where we are today in our efforts towards unity. I would just like to mention that in a few days in Germany we will have a conference, organized by our national council of churches, in remembrance of the Lima document on "Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry". It was  published 20 years ago and is widely known throughout our protestant Churches .

But an anniversary is not only an opportunity to look back into the past, but also an opportunity to look forward into the future. I think we have reached a stage in our theological ecumenical discussions, where we  have discovered what we have in common and that we are closer together than our forefathers and -mothers thought. But we see also that the remaining differences are more difficult to overcome than we had assumed . We are at a stage, where we need the work of Faith and Order - maybe even more urgently than ever, if we want to stay together in the ecumenical movement. And it seems to me, that we need  to try out new ways and methods - exactly as those people did, who prepared the first World Conference on Faith and Order in 1927. Therefore I hope and wish, that Faith and Order will receive new impulses for its future work through this celebration in remembrance of its beginning. The EKD in its specific ecumenical situation with the Roman Catholic Church as its oldest and largest  ecumenical partner is grateful for the impulses it received from the multilateral discussions of Faith and Order and at the same time hopes to be able to contribute to these discussions through  its own experience.     

Hannover, den 26. August 2002
Pressestelle der EKD