Ecumenical News International

Closing borders is not the political answer, says EKD Synod President

November 03, 2015

Berlin (epd).The General Synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) supports the policy of federal chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) in the current refugee debate. The Synod president, Irmgard Schwaetzer, announced this on Tuesday in Berlin. She notes with great approval that the German government has not accepted the demand to close the border and put up fences. She expects the refugee debate to be discussed at the upcoming session of Synod, too.

Schwaetzer said that Synod would support a policy that continued to welcome refugees. A former federal minister, she urged policy-makers to finally produce solutions in the current argument, so that measures could be put into practice. At present, we are disappointed at the slowness, said Schwaetzer. The grand coalition is currently debating about further policies in asylum policy. The main bone of contention is the transit zones the Christian Democratic Union wants to establish at the border in order to speed up the asylum procedures.

The EKD Synod is convening from 8 to 11 November in Bremen. Its main focus will be the election of a new EKD Council and its chair. The favourite for this office is the Lutheran bishop of Bavaria, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, who has held this position since 2014.

The main substantive issues on the agenda will be the preparations for the 500th Reformation anniversary in 2017. According to Schwaetzer, there are also plans to address the anti-Semitism of Martin Luther and other Reformers, which is unacceptable for the Protestant church today. She reported that a motion had been drafted containing a "clear statement". This agenda item is also relevant in view of the visit by Josef Schuster, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. On Sunday he will bring a greeting to Synod.



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