EKBO Ecumenical Relations
Bearing in mind the Charta Oecumenica, published by the European churches in 2001, the EKBO considers itself to be called to bear witness to the unity of all Christians as a gift of God. Through baptism we belong to the one Body of Christ, just as well as Christians of other churches and other countries. Within the EKBO and all over the world, we form a community with Christians of all denominations, all nations, all languages and all cultures. To be Protestant is to be ecumenical-minded.
We experience that unity and that sense of belonging together locally with our sister churches of other denominations, other languages or other backgrounds. Over the last 100 years, the number of members of the EKBO has decreased. However, our church is aware of its roots and accepts its responsibility towards society as a whole. It is a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Ecumenical Council. At present, the council comprises 30 churches: the Roman Catholic Church, free churches such as the Methodist and the Baptist Church, EKBO, Orthodox churches and expatriate congregations established by our European neighbour churches. The first Ecumenical Kirchentag (‘church convention’) held in Berlin in 2003 created irreversible impulses towards growing unity. About every three years, the member churches of the Berlin-Brandenburg Ecumenical Council and the members of the Berlin-Brandenburg International Convention of Christian Congregations, a registered charity, stage the Berlin City Church Festival.
There are multi-faceted relations between EKBO and the congregations belonging to the International Convention of Christian Congregations which has its headquarters in Berlin. Many of these congregations regularly celebrate their services in churches belonging to EKBO parishes. Based on inter-church agreements, we cultivate good contacts especially with the Dutch, Finnish, Swedish, Anglican-Episcopal, Francophone Protestant, Chinese and Japanese congregations and with the Korean Han In congregation, all of them based in Berlin.
We are associated with Lutheran, Reformed and United churches in South Africa, Tanzania, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and the Holy Land due to a common history we share. The churches founded by missionaries of Berlin Mission became independent a long time ago. Today, our close relationship is expressed through many partnerships maintained by our regional church or by parishes. We work closely with the Lutheran Church in the Holy Land in the fields of school education and vocational training. We co-operate with the Gossner Evangelical Church in India in the fields of church music and theological education.
We maintain a close fellowship with the Protestant churches in our European neighbouring countries who are related to us through their confessions – particularly the Lutheran diocese Breslau / Wroc?aw in Poland, the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the Lutheran congregations on the Volga in Russia, the Anglican dioceses London and Chichester in the United Kingdom, the »Fédération protestante de France« and the Diocese of Gothenburg in the Church of Sweden. Truth and reconciliation after the end of World War II, peace and freedom after the end of the cold war, creation of a united Europe - these processes may also be traced back to an ecumenism reaching beyond the borders. By co-operating with churches and congregations in Poland and in the Czech Republic, we wish to set a common example for a living faith in the regions on both sides of the border. We also established a close church fellowship with the United Church of Christ in the USA.
Keeping in touch with the churches of the worldwide ecumenical movement, we support justice, peace and the integrity of creation. After the »Decade to Overcome Violence« was introduced by the World Council of Churches in Berlin in 2001, we entered, for instance, into a partnership with the Presbyterian Church in Cuba. Through intercession, practical assistance and ecumenical programmes, we try to contribute to the struggle against starvation and poverty and we participate in relief campaigns after major disasters – for example, the fight against the AIDS pandemic in South Africa, the famine in East Africa and the triple catastrophe of an earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear reactor accident in Japan.
Part of a Worldwide Christianity
EKBO concentrated its ecumenical and global missionary activities in the »Berlin Mission«. Both EKBO and Berlin Mission are situated at Georgenkirchstraße in the Berlin borough Friedrichshain, the site belonging to the former »Society for the Advancement of Evangelistic Missions amongst the Pagans«. Due to its missionary activities in the past, Berlin Mission cultivates relations with churches in the Holy Land, in India, Eastern Asia, South Africa and Tanzania. Of course, there are relations to the churches of the worldwide ecumenical movement and Christian churches and congregations in the vicinity as well. In this way, the integration of church and mission is being realized as it was suggested by the World Council of Churches at its general meeting in New Delhi. Berlin Mission is supported both by EKBO and the following institutions: the Evangelical Church of Anhalt, the »Jerusalemsverein« (Jerusalem Society), the German East-Asia Mission and, on a provisional basis, Gossner Mission. Besides, EKBO gathered other ecumenical services under the umbrella of Berlin Mission: the Churches’ Development Service, »Inter-Faith Dialogue« and »Migration and Integration«. In following this holistic approach, EKBO and Berlin Mission attempt to pay tribute to an insight which the theologian Eberhard Jüngel brought home to the German churches: that mission would have to be ecumenical in the future.