In Nuremberg on October 18, the slogan for the 38th German Evangelical Church Congress 2023 in Nuremberg (DEKT) was announced as "Now is the time" (Mk 1:15). The Presidium of the Kirchentag selected this Bible text in its session on October 16 from a number of proposals. The body also elected former Federal Minister Thomas de Maizière as the new President of the Kirchentag.
De Maizière succeeds Bettina Limperg, President of the Federal Supreme Court, who left office as scheduled. She also co-chaired as Protestant co-President the 3rd Ecumenical Church Congress in Frankfurt earlier this year.
The newly elected executive board of the DEKT is completed by the Thuringian Environment Minister Anja Siegesmund and the Mayor of Wittenberg Torsten Zugehre, who are also Presidents-elect of the 2025 Kirchentag in Hannover and the 2027 Kirchentag respectively. In addition to Bettina Limperg, the out-going Presidium presidency included the journalist Hans Leyendecker, the Swiss theologian Christina von der Au and the former CEO of Boehringer-Ingelheim AG, Andreas Barner.
With regard to this team, saying goodbye is easy, explained Bettina Limperg. "Presidents of the Kirchentage 2023, 2025 and 2027 come from the new federal states: This is also a sign of change and new paths." She also paid the following tribute to her immediate successor: "With Thomas de Maizière, it is not so much a former politician taking responsibility as a more hands-on person - someone with a clear eye for realities, who enjoys open discussion and quite a combative spirit, but above all someone with a good inner compass and certainty of belief."
At a press conference today, Thomas de Maizière was presented as President and, together with the Mayor of Nuremberg, Marcus König, and the Regional Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, announced the slogan for the Nuremberg Kirchentag, which will be celebrated from June 7th to 11th 2023 in the Franconian metropolitan region.
"Now is the time" (Mk 1:15) is the Kirchentag slogan.
The version of translation from Mark's Gospel can be understood as a clear signal of a fresh start, turning away from lifestyles and behaviour patterns that endanger the future.
In the light of the processes of massive global change and social upheaval, Kirchentag President Thomas de Maizière underlined the importance of the slogan like this: "We do not want to tell people at the Kirchentag what to do now. We rather invite them to do this reciprocally. Because we need an open, honest exchange with one another in order to respond to the times and take concerted action."
Regional Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm agreed: "Now is the time to set a fundamentally new course so that future generations can also live well." With reference to the Christian faith, he added: "And now is the time to rediscover the sources that can give our life strength and orientation. Now is the time to renew our church from this strength so that it becomes more open, more ecumenical and inviting, and itself radiates most of all the love of which it speaks."
The mayor of the host city, Marcus König, looked forward to the upcoming event: "Nuremberg is looking forward to the Kirchentag - our city is very happy to be host. Our employees, the entire city community, many volunteers and, last but not least, the churches - everyone is at work together so that the Kirchentag 2023 will be an event that is inspiring, marked by lively discussion and in any event atmospheric."
The mayor also pointed out the historical references: "Nuremberg has a great Protestant tradition that goes back to the beginnings of the Reformation. In 1525, Nuremberg was the first imperial city to carry out the Reformation and, as an important media centre, to spread Martin Luther's ideas. In the same way important ideas and signals will radiate from our Kirchentag."
Along with the slogan, decisions were taken about the accompanying biblical texts for church services and Bible studies at the Kirchentag in 2023 . The texts take up the slogan and augment it. They include the text for the closing service on June 11, 2023, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, and the Kirchentag Psalm, Ps 31:15-25.
With the establishment of the slogan, the concrete preparations for the Kirchentag programme from June 7th to 11th, 2023 will begin. This is the fifth time that the Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag will be hosted in Bavaria and the second time, after 1979, that it will take place in Nuremberg.