Ecumenical News International

World Communion of Reformed Churches to move its headquarters to Hanover

November 5, 2012

The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) plans to move its offices from Geneva to Hanover, the capital of the German federal state of Lower Saxony. Its general secretary, Setri Nyomi, announced this on Monday during the Synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) in the Baltic Sea resort Timmendorfer Strand. Prior to that, the governing body of the WCRC had, in a secret ballot, approved the decision by a three-quarter majority.

The reason for relocating is the strained financial situation of the WCRC. The member churches pay their contributions mainly in euro and US dollars. High exchange rate losses against the strong Swiss franc have swallowed up a large chunk of its income in the last few years. "We could not have continued to live with these continual losses," said President Jerry Pillay from South Africa. General Secretary Nyomi calculated the savings to be made through the move at EUR 166,000 per year, within an overall budget of EUR 1.4 million.

Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) welcomed the decision of the WCRC to come to Hanover. "I am pleased that the Lower Saxon capital will, through this development, become an international centre of Protestantism," she said in Berlin, before leaving to speak at the Synod on Monday afternoon. The decision underlined the positive relationship between the state and churches in the Federal Republic of Germany, that had been recognized internationally, she added.

EKD Council Chair Nikolaus Schneider also welcomed the change of location. He was delighted the WCRC would have its offices almost "next door" to the EKD Church Office, in just over a year. Now, he said, the Protestant Church could step up its preparations for the Reformation quincentenary in 2014 in cooperation with the WCRC.

The removal from Geneva to Hanover is scheduled for 1 January 2014.
The WCRC represents over 80 million Reformed Christians, and has a staff of seven. The WCRC was established in 2010 from a merging of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the more conservative Reformed Ecumenical Council. It now comprises almost 230 churches in 108 countries. German members are the Evangelical Reformed Church and the Church of Lippe.

Reformed churches follow the tradition of John Calvin, John Knox, Huldrych Zwingli and other Reformers of the 16th century. Reformed congregations are organized with great respect for the opinion of their members; their governance is based on presbyteries and synods, by contrast with episcopal churches.  Reformed churches and services are notable for their plain, unceremonial style. (epd)



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