World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Resources / Documents / WCC general secretary / Speeches / Healing memories – 11 March 2017, Hildesheim

Healing memories – 11 March 2017, Hildesheim

The Reconciliation Service in Hildesheim, 11 March 2017, jointly held by the Chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, and the Chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Landesbischof Dr. Heinrich Bedford-Strohm.

11 March 2017

Healing memories – 11 March 2017, Hildesheim

President Gauck, Chancellor Merkel, Your Eminence Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, chairperson of the EKD Council, dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

This moment of truth is a decisive step towards the unity of the church. In the prayer of Jesus in John 17, we read that the unity of the disciples with one another is needed that the world may believe. The world needs to recognize that we have seen and heard in Christ the presence of the true God. The unity of the church is there to witness to the truth of God's grace and love. The world needs to know that God so loves this earth and all living things that he has sent his Son into its very midst.

This truth sets us free to walk together towards the future and to witness with one another with still greater determination to the triune God of life.

Christians and churches in Germany witnessed to this truth of the love of God when, with the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt, they sought out the fellowship of churches in the World Council of Churches after the Second World War. Christians and churches in Germany witnessed to the truth of the one humanity created by God, when they made possible the reconciliation of Europe and the fall of the Wall. Christians and churches in Germany witnessed to this truth of love when in our times they supported the historic and necessary opening up of Germany to refugees. The Christians and the churches in Germany witness to this truth of God’s grace and love when today they seek reconciliation with one another and to cooperate in common service for the world. This is an encouraging sign of unity and fellowship for all churches in the world.

The power of forgiveness opens up the way for the common witness that the world so desperately needs. In our times, faith in one God and one humanity has very tangible relevance and consequences, amid the reality of sin, amid the reality of injustice and the polarization of society that we experience, amid the reality of arrogant nationalism, discrimination and ignorance, of violence in the name of religion, and of war.

Therefore, dear friends, we rejoice with you about this day which is a great step forward on the path towards the unity of the church, as a sign and a sacrament for the unity of the world in justice and peace. I bring the greetings and blessings of the fellowship of the member churches of the World Council of Churches and our ecumenical partners. We will accompany you on your common path towards the future. Our hope is turned towards the day of God that is dawning and with it the light that is renewing and transforming this world. Today we are experiencing a sign of the truth of this hope.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

General Secretary of the World Council of Churches

Filed under: