The World Communion of Reformed Churches has found a new home. On Sunday, 12 January, a service of welcome took place in the Reformed Church of Hanover, followed by a reception and the dedication of the new WCRC offices.
In his sermon, Rev. Dr. Jerry Pillay, President of the WCRC told the congregation that “the decision to move out of Geneva was not an easy one” and that “fears, concerns and anxieties had been expressed during the time of decision”. He stressed that “God, the initiator of new things, was present with Abraham, who was dislocated from his place of familiarity and comfort and relocated to what was supposedly an unknown destination”. Jerry Pillay ended with the words: ”I know in my spirit that as we see this as God’s new location for us now as we continue the work of the WCRC, it is only a matter of time that we will be able to say ‘This is our home’. This is the new WCRC home from which we will continue to write the new chapters in the life, work and witness of the WCRC.”
The sanctuary of the Reformed Church in Hanover was packed full with guests from far and near. Among those present were Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, as well as German church leaders, and government officials at federal, provincial and local levels.
In a symbolic act, representatives of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), the German Reformed Alliance, the Evangelical Reformed Church of Germany and the local Reformed Church presented bread and salt to the President, General Secretary and executive staff of WCRC, expressing their wish that WCRC should never lose its saltiness (Matthew 5:13).
Warm words of greetings were given by the chairperson of the EKD Synod, Dr. Irmgard Schwaetzer, by Rev. Annette Kurschus on behalf of the Union of Protestant Churches of Germany and by Dr. Stephanie Springer on behalf of the Lutheran Church of Hanover, expressing their intention to co-operate closely with the World Communion of Reformed Churches. The minister of culture of the State of Lower Saxony, Frauke Heiligenstadt, promised to be helpful in every possible manner, underlining the traditionally good relations that exist between the State and the various religions in Germany. The mayor of the city of Hanover, Stefan Schostock, invited the “brothers and sisters” to discover the international flavor of the city which hosts the world’s largest industrial fair and welcomes hundreds of thousands of guests from all over the world every year.
The WCC General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, who had come from Geneva to wish the WCRC a good start at its new location, noted that it was important both for the WCC and the WCRC to continue to be in close contact as they need each other in their commitment to the causes of justice, peace and the quest for greater unity between Christians.
The dedication of the new offices led by General Secretary Rev. Dr. Setri Nyomi focused on the many new possibilities and perspectives at the new location. The WCRC will be sharing the building with the German Reformed Alliance and other ecclesial agencies within the “Calvin Center” in the vicinity of central offices of the Lutheran Church and the national headquarter of the Evangelical Church in Germany. While praying for God’s blessing at the beginning of a new chapter in the life, work and witness of WCRC, officers and staff carried a candle to symbolize that the light of Christ continues to shine, that it cannot be contained and must be shared with all throughout the world.