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Introduction to the Dortmund Kirchentag

The slogan for Dortmund was announced earlier this morning. It is part of 2 Kings 18:19: "Was für ein Vertrauen". These words are part of the dialogue between King Hezekiah's fearful officials and the cupbearer-in-chief of the King of Assyria. It is variously translated in English-language Bibles as "What makes you so confident?" (NJB), "What ground have you for this confidence of yours?" (REB ), "On what do you base this confidence of yours?" (NRSV - RSV and NIV are very similar). The official translation is "What confidence is this?"

For the Kirchentag president Hans Leyendecker, confidence is an antidote to the feeling of doom in the world: "Not only since Trump has there been a feeling of great uncertainty. Often young people no longer have any confidence in the future, while the old mistrust elites. All of them, time and again, experience a world which is marked by a breath-taking lust for power, a recklessness. Together we must overcome this crisis of confidence. Only those who are ready to trust others can also develop confidence. This slogan is ideal as a basis for talking about the kind of world we want to live and the kind of world we don't."

General Secretary Julia Helmke stressed: "As the Kirchentag it is important for us to show how confidence helps people to live - confidence as an activating strength. 'What makes you so confident' is a slogan which offers trust and encouragement without ignoring questions and doubt. Amazing. Happy. Resistant."

Annette Kurschus, Präses of the Evangelische Kirche von Westfalen, added: "Contrast and difference are part of the essence of our Evangelische Kirche von Westfalen with its extraordinary variety of landscapes, traditions and ways of thinking. As in the city of Dortmund, there are also in this Landeskirche changes, endings and tensions. That's why this slogan with its various possibilities for speaking right into the heart of abundant life, fits us well as the host church of the 2019 Kirchentag."

Alongside the slogan the Kirchentag Praesidium has fixed the biblical texts for services and bible studies. The texts are related to the slogan and enlarge it. The closing service on 23rd June 2019 takes as its text "Do not abandon that confidence of yours" (Hebr. 10,35). The Kirchentag psalm is Psalm 23, the psalm of confidence.

This is the sixth time that the Kirchentag has been a guest in the Rhein-Ruhr metropolitan region, following 1950, 1963, 1973, 1985 and 1991. It is the second time it has been hosted in Dortmund.

Tony Dickinson - 16 October 2017.