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Authors

Christa Grengel

Abstract

The Evangelical Regional Churches in the GDR had to deal with the problem that they experienced directly living on the borderline between East and West which divided their own country. They understood this situation to be the result of National-Socialism and World War II, confessed to having been partly responsible for it and became convinced, therefore, that they had a unique responsibility for reconciliation and for overcoming this division on the borderline between the great power blocs. Based on the shared notion of “Christianity in Germany” all Evangelical Regional Churches remained parts of a pan-German institution, the “Evangelical Church in Germany” (EKD), until 1969. They organized a solid system of partnerships between East and West on all levels and all institutions of church-life. This system also remained when, in 1969, the Regional Churches in the GDR separated organizationally from the EKD and grappled more intensely with the problems of GDR society. The awareness of Christians being part of worldwide Christianity overcame the feeling of isolation created especially by the Berlin Wall. The highly creative mutual cooperation within the ecumenical movement came home to especially clearly in the “conciliar process for justice, peace and integrity of creation” in the GDR which contributed to the “peaceful revolution” in 1989. Ecumenism for us was an experience of Christian engagement for peace.

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