Erfurt Link Advisor - Rosie Tudge, email Rosie
Erfurt is the capital city of Thuringia - one of the German States. The partnership between the Diocese of Bradford and the church in Erfurt was formalised in 1997, although initial contacts go back almost 20 years in the DDR era. The 10th anniversary was celebrated in Erfurt in July 2007.
Since the Protestant Reformation the largest religion in Thuringia has been Lutheranism. Under Communist rule church membership was strongly discouraged and today over half of the population is religiously unaffiliated. The Evangelical Church in Germany remains the largest faith in the state, adhered to by 25% of the population.
It's sometimes nicknamed "the green heart of Germany" owing to the dense forest that covers the area. In 2010 Erfurt had a population of over 200,000 and is part of the Erfurt-Weimar-Jena metropolitan area with a population of about 500,000. Erfurt is easy to get to so is excellent for training and study visits as well as Diocesan exchanges.
Why a connection with the Diocese of Bradford?
The link with Erfurt became particularly appropriate after the Meissen Declaration in 1991.
Meissen is a town in Saxony which gave its name to an agreement in January 1991 between the Church of England, the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and the Federation of the Evangelical Churches in the German Democratic Republic (to which Meissen then belonged). The Meissen Declaration was affirmed in an Act of Synod and was signed on the altar of Westminster Abbey by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Chairmen of the EKD Council and the Church Leaders’ Conference of the Federation. A similar service was held in Berlin on 2 February.
One way in which the mutual commitments are being fulfilled is through links between English Dioceses and German Landeskirchen (regional churches). These involve exchanges between clergy and hundreds of people at parish level. These links are important as part of the churches’ commitment to advance towards full visible unity.
There'll be a visit to Erfurt in Autumn 2012 and a visit to Hamburg May 2013 for the Kirchentag bi-annual event - a massive gathering of the German Protestant Church and their friends - and a choir exchange visit to Erfurt in 2013. If you're interested in any of these events or you would like to help with future exchanges please contact Rosie Tudge (see above).
Where is Erfurt?
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