Gathering over 60,000 participants from Germany and beyond, over five days Kirchentag hosts 2,000 individual events covering a wide spectrum of topics in areas of spirituality, social politics, and culture. The “Market of Opportunities” is an integral part of the Kirchentag as a vital meeting place for groups working in church and society, with over 500 participants presenting their work.
The theme of the Kirchentag 2023 is chosen from Mark 1:15 - "Now is the time!" The WCC moderator and the outgoing regional bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm reflected on the theme in his opening sermon, calling on everyone to leave a world worth living in for future generations.
"All of you, mothers and fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, and all of you who care for children, join in the fight! For our children! They should live, live well, breathe pure air, drink clear water, enjoy butterflies. They should be able to enjoy sunshine and rain again and again," he said in his sermon.
In this context, he said, it is necessary to usher in a change in values and to participate in it as Christians. "We will no longer base our happiness on the growth of material prosperity, but on the growth of relational prosperity. We will no longer judge our freedom by how high the speedometer can go, but by whether we are moving in a way that is compatible with creation," Heinrich Bedford-Strohm explained.
WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay, the moderator of the WCC central committee bishop Bedford-Strohm, and Rev. Dr Susan Durber will lead the Bible studies on Saturday, 10 June, based on Luke 17:20-25. Rev. Dr Susan Durber, WCC president for the Europe region along with bishop Bedford-Strohm will also provide their inputs at the panel discussion “Ecumenism of heart” on 10 June.
The Kirchentag festival takes place every two years in a different German city, gathering participants of all age groups and personalities from political, economic, and national life. It also serves as a major forum for debates on a matters relevant to the society such as peace, human rights, and climate change. Alongside discussions, it offers opportunities for worship, music, and culture.