Baden-Württemberg: International Christian Congress begins with Steinmeier

Thousands of church leaders from all over the world made the pilgrimage to Karlsruhe to attend the World Council of Churches General Assembly.

Baden-Württemberg: International Christian Congress begins with Steinmeier

Thousands of church leaders from all over the world made the pilgrimage to Karlsruhe to attend the World Council of Churches General Assembly. The Christian committee meets for more than a week. In addition to prominent visitors, serious issues are also on the agenda.

Karlsruhe (dpa/lsw) - The most important gathering of thousands of Christians from all over the world begins on Wednesday in Karlsruhe. More than 4,000 participants are expected at the World Council of Churches (WCC) assembly. It is the highest decision-making body of the WCC.

In addition to a report by WCC General Secretary Ioan Sauca (2.30 p.m.), the program will begin with a speech by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and words of welcome by Baden-Württemberg Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) (from 4 p.m.). Debates by church representatives and trend-setting position papers on topics such as climate justice, the war in Ukraine and the Middle East conflict are expected by September 8th. In addition, there are many occasions for joint prayers and a supporting program in the city center.

The WCC sees itself as a fellowship of around 350 churches representing more than 580 million people worldwide. These include Orthodox, Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, and Reformed and Independent churches. Representatives of both the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has been detached from the Moscow Patriarchate for several years, are expected in Karlsruhe. The Catholic Church, in turn, is not a member of the WCC. She only attends the General Assembly as a guest.

The WCC describes the assembly as "the most inclusive gathering of Christians in the world". It usually takes place every eight years. She is now making a guest appearance in Germany for the first time. The motto for the eleventh edition is: "The love of Christ moves, reconciles and unites the world."

Among other things, there is a 17 meter high so-called Magic Sky with a diameter of 42 meters on the fairground. It is intended to create an open space for prayer and encounters. According to Messe Karlsruhe, it has prepared a total of around 45,000 square meters of event space, including several festival halls and large tents specially erected, for example for catering.

Interested parties who do not belong to any delegation can either follow live streams on the Internet or participate for a day ticket worth 64 euros. This also includes meals.

According to the Evangelical State Church of Baden, around 250 events are planned in the city for citizens, such as concerts, workshops, lectures, discussion rounds - all of them free of charge. Most of the events are planned to be in English. Where possible, a German translation should be offered.

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