The Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN) was founded in Friedberg on 1 October 1947. Three Regional Churches – the Churches of Hesse, of Nassau und of Frankfurt decided to stay together as on Church and brought together lutheran, reformed and united confessional tradions.
In the post-war turmoil, delegates from the regions of Hesse-Darmstadt, Nassau and Frankfurt met for a „church convention“ („Kirchentag“) on 30 September 1947. During that meeting the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau was founded in Friedberg. The first church president was Martin Niemöller, who opened his church to ecumenism and early on advocated reconciliation with the people of Eastern Europe and against the rearmament of Germany.
The day of celebration began with a service with the participation of guests from partner churches and Ukraine in the Friedberg City Church. In his sermon, Church President Jung emphasised that it was important „to keep asking what our tasks are in this world and how we can be there for others and this world.“ He said that the Church must work „so that people can continue to live on this earth – peacefully and justly“. As a church we also stand for diversity and tolerance: „being there for each other in diversity and serving each other is good and remains a daily task,“ said Jung.
On behalf of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck, Bishop Dr Beate Hofmann warmly congratulated her „younger sister church“ on its 75th birthday. As with many family relationships, things are always quite different, she explained in her greeting: Sometimes one feels culturally foreign, sometimes very familiar. Some cooperation works well and effortlessly, others need a lot of energy. But as in many families, „when the going gets tough, we stick together, whether it is a pandemic, a war or a headwind from politics or other groups. Then there are practised short paths and common mouthpieces.“ In the future, it is important to think even more about common tasks and to work more closely together – on the way to being a church together in this world.
In the afternoon, the five EKHN districts (Propsteien) presented their diversity in a colourful programme with music, contributions and presentations. With the song „We want to stand up, approach each other, learn from each other, deal with each other, …“ by Sven Schumacher, Provost Stefan Arras and songwriter Clemens Bittlinger set the motto for the Starkenburg district. A presentation of the district Rheinhessen und Nassauer Land led to unusual places of worship. The district Oberhessen presented the openness for fleeing people and a welcoming culture for migrants. The Rhine-Main district presented the congregation in Niederhöchststadt, a concept of a congregation that opens up into the social space and seeks alliance partners in civil society. In the end, the district Nordnassau inspired the audience with its diverse relationships with churches in the worldwide ecumenical movement.