The Meissen Service

This second ecumenical Kirchentag, which took place in Munich from Wednesday 12 to Sunday 16 May, brought to light a strong participation from the UK and the continuing interest of its people in the Kirchentag. In all there were over 250 participants from the UK including bishops from the Church of England. The theme for the gathering was 'That you may have hope'. It was an ecumenical feast making visible the diversity of Churches and Christian fellowship. Munich was transformed into a city in which the old and young met in order to pray and worship together and to engage with current political and theological issues. At the inaugural service the President of Germany spoke of the importance of ecumenical unity at a time of challenge - noting particularly the abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church. One of the key theological issues under discussion was the Eucharist and why Protestants and Roman Catholics cannot share together in it. There were several appeals to begin practising common Eucharist wherever possible in order to then put in place the appropriate theory (first praxis then theory).

The Meissen Service was hosted by the Anglican/Episcopal Church of the Ascension and the Evangelisch-Lutherische Emmauskirche and held on Thursday May 13. The Munich Concert Choir added to the festive atmosphere in a church filled to capacity. 7 Anglican and 7 Lutheran bishops were present. The Church of England Co-Chair of the Meissen Commission and Bishop of Croydon, The Rt Revd Nick Baines was the celebrant and the EKD Co-Chair, Bishop Friedrich Weber preached.

At what is called the 'Marketplace' the partnership and links were on display. There was a specific Meissen-Stall with displays highlighting a number of the links and partnerships between the Church of England and the EKD. In addition to this the EKD-Stall provided constant information on Meissen.

On the whole this was a Kirchentag which made visible the fruits of almost 20 years of Meissen Commission work.

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