EKD - Evangelical Church in Württemberg*
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(Evangelische Landeskirche in Württemberg)
In the early 16th century the duke of Württemberg charged a Lutheran as well as a Reformed theologian with the introduction of the Reformation. Thus from the very beginning the church of Württemberg built a bridge between these two confessions. In the second half of the 16th century its life was shaped according to Lutheran orthodoxy, whereas the liturgy remained sermon-centred, that is, 'reformed'. Later on, doctrine and Christian life were influenced by pietism, the Enlightenment and liberalism. Especially pietism, which the church managed to keep within its boundaries, brought new depth and breadth to the faith and life of the church, especially in the fields of diakonia and mission.
The organizational structure of the church is synodal; it is governed by the synod, the bishop and the consistory. Bishop Theophil Wurm's (d. 1953) efforts on behalf of a confessing Christian unity typified the ecumenical and evangelical mission of Württemberg's Lutherans. Besides the Roman Catholic Church there exist also some smaller churches like the Methodists and Baptists, and some Orthodox congregations in Württemberg. All of them work together in the "Association of Christian Churches in Baden-Württemberg". Increasingly a multifaith situation is developing, mainly because of the presence of immigrants from Muslim countries. There has not been a "state church" since 1918. There is free partnership between state and church, e.g. the content of religious education at public schools is the responsibility of the churches. Tasks for the years to come are: evangelism in an increasingly secular context, strengthening of ecumenical cooperation, diaconal services to the underprivileged and the disabled (migrant workers, the sick, the handicapped and the unemployed), developmental services and assistance in missionary outreach with churches in other continents.
The Württemberg Church maintains close ties with the Evangelical Lutheran churches in Montbeliard (France), Slovakia (together with the Church of Thuringia), Serbia-Montenegro, Georgia and the district of Kronstadt (Brasov) in Romania. Through the Association of Churches and Missions in South-Western Germany there are also partnerships with churches in Ghana, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, the Near East and South Africa. There are also close relations to two dioceses of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
* The Evangelical Church in Württemberg has never directly applied for membership in the WCC and is therefore not counted as a member but is represented through the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD).