Tuesday, September 14, 2010

German Protestant Church Faces Vocations Crisis

Editor: But wait, the Evangelical "churches" in Germany haven't had clerical celibacy, and have Pastoresses. Surely they can't be having a vocations crisis.... Their preoccupation with "social justice" is certainly part of the problem, but a wry lone comment was made on the page which points to the utterly man-centered orientation of protestantism, which is its downfall:

"When liberal Protestantism demands religious reverence for the man Jesus, it is disgusting and shocking. They cannot themselves believe that the respect in which Jesus is held by the people and which they have made use of in such an unprotestant manner, can be maintained for any length of time after the nimbus of divinity has been destroyed, and they may reflect on the insufficiency of the momentary subterfuge. The Protestant principle in its last consequences, disposes of all kinds of dogmatic authority in a remorseless manner, and its supporters must, whether they like it or not, dispense with the authority of Christ."

The Protestant Church has secondary growth concerns: The number of students for Evangelical Theology is in decline since the beginning of the nineties.

[Die Zeit: Online] 10-15 years it will still go well, then however, Germany will be threatened by a shortage of ministers, fear the Union of Evangelical Pastors and Pastoresses. The number of young men, who want to be Pastor, has been declining for years: 1992 still had 8500 young people studying for the ministry, at the present there are only 2300, said Union President Klaus Weber. From 2020 on the Pastor-boom will fall into silence.

Not only is the number of candidates sinking, but simultaneously the number of members of the Evangelical church as well. These were estimated by 2030 to be a quarter of what they are today, said Weber. For this reason Pastor's positions are being closed. Already is a Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Pastor responsible for a dozen communities. The all-important personal contact is broken down. The church relies more on volunteers to hold its divine services.

Simultaneously, the requests of the Pastor grow, says Weber. In order to manage the requests, the ministers must be put in center points. These are for him as before the carefully prepared accompaniment of people in the turning points of their lives, like baptism, confirmation and marriage. "There is no other occupation, in which the doors of homes are so open."

Weber criticized also, he missed the engagement, to find a new way to people. It is also hard not to recognize, that in the country churches there is much effort to invest in the construction of financially sustainable structures.

From the 20th to 22nd September more than four hundred Theologians will meet for German Pastoress and Paster-day. The Germany-wide largest theological professional congress stands beneath the motto "The Evangelical Church and the Social Question".

Link to original, Zeit.

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