The Confessing Church Service in Ulm

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Im Widerstand gegen die „Deutschen Christen“ und gegen die Gleichschaltungsbestrebungen des Reichsbischofs und seiner Berater schlossen sich Anfang 1934 unterschiedliche Gruppierungen in der evangelischen Kirche zur Bekennenden Kirche zusammen.

Different factions in der Protestant church united in the Confessing Church in early 1934 to resist the “German Christians” and the efforts of the Reich Bishop and his advisors to implement Gleichschaltung.

Essentially, the Confessing Church had two wings. On the one hand, there were the oppositional Councils of Brethren from the so-called “destroyed regional churches” – among others, the large Old Prussian regional church with its eight church provinces – in which German Christian church governments had been installed. On the other hand, the episcopal, there were the so-called “intact regional churches” of Bavaria, Hannover and Württemberg in which the church governments had been able to hold their ground against the “German Christians’” claims to power.

While the first wing was predominantly Union and heavily influenced by the Reformed theologian Karl Barth’s “theology of the Word of God”, the second wing, also joined by Councils of Brethren of various “destroyed” Lutheran regional churches, was solidly Lutheran.

The amalgamation of the various oppositional factions was made manifest for the first time on April 22, 1934 during a service in Ulm Minster attended by some 5,000 people, during which the Bavarian Regional Bishop Hans Meiser read aloud an “Declaration of the Confessing German Evangelical Church” on behalf of over thirty high ranking representatives of the church from all over Germany.

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