“50 Years of Leuenberg. A European Agreement in Ecumenical Perspective” – a conference in Bensheim.
On February 17-18, 2023, the 67th European Conference on Ecumenical Studies was held at the Protestant Institute for Ecumenical Studies in Bensheim (Germany). Thematically, it was marked by the 50th anniversary of the “Agreement of Reformation Churches in Europe” (Leuenberg Agreement), which was signed on March 16, 1973.
The Scientific Advisory Board of the Institute planned the conference. It began with a keynote lecture on the history of the Leuenberg Agreement and on the theological and socio-political conditions under which it came into being. Another keynote lecture discussed the method of the Leuenberg Agreement with its goal of a living church communion between previously separated churches. Further presentations and subsequent discussions focused on the Leuenberg Agreement in its theological, but also political-societal significance, in its potentials and limitations. In this way the potentials and limits of the church communion which today is realized as the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE) were also discussed. This was done both from the perspective of various churches participating in CPCE (e.g. Waldensians in Italy or Methodists), but also from a more distanced viewpoint by participants from the Baptist, Anglican, Catholic or Orthodox churches. They asked about the understanding of the unity of the church implied in the Leuenberg Agreement and lived as CPCE and about the significance of that “model” for their tradition. An evening lecture by Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Gangloff-Parmentier (Geneva), former leading President of CPCE, discussed the role of CPCE as a political and societal actor on the European level. The final discussion was chaired by Prof. Dr. Miriam Rose, member of the present CPCE Presidium.
The conference attracted a high degree of interest. The participants came from seven countries, from Switzerland, Great Britain, France, Italy, Estonia, Austria and Germany). Among them was also the former CPCE General Secretary Dr Wilhelm Hüffmeier.
The contributions of the conference will be published in the Fall 2023 issue of the journal “Materialdienst des Konfessionskundlichen Instituts” (DeGruyter).
For more information see the website of the Protestant Institute of Ecumenical Studies in Bensheim: