Efforts to Unify the Church – Easter of 1943

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In view of the increasing pressure put on the church by the Nazi state and the worsening war situation bringing growing numbers of victims and destruction, even of church buildings, regional bishop Wurm seized the initiative at the end of 1941 to unite the fragmented Protestant church. According to Wurm, churches in an anti-church state could only survive if they held together.

On the one hand, this necessitated an understanding among the different wings of the Confessing Church as well as the involvement of the large “center”, which encompassed people who did not want to commit to either the Confessing Church or the German Christians.

After a lengthy deliberative process, a text was finally drafted, which was a basis acceptable to large segments in the church. The German Christians were excluded. Part of the Confessing Church, however, also failed to endorse the 13 Propositions on the Mission and Ministry of the Church. This working program was made public at Easter of 1943 and published with a list of eighty-six first signatories.

German pastors and parishes were called upon to study and discuss the text in church study groups. In this function, the “13 Propositions” served to gather together different groups, while simultaneously demarcating the church’s claim to give itself an independent organizational form vis-à-vis the state. Wurm supplied the impulse for the Protestant church to be able to assemble anew and thus also defy the state’s claim to totality.

Source / title

  • © Landeskirchliches Archiv Stuttgart, D1/147,1

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