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The Church often neglects reaching out because “mission” for her ended at the time of the apostles and has received a negative connotation. Part One of this doctoral project presents the development in one parish, as well as some of the relevant demographic realities in and around Kirchberg/BE. Cultural changes will be discussed as well, such as the change from farmer community to sleeping community, the development of a shoppingmile, the distance between the people and the Church. Then, the parish of Kirchberg is presented, looking back on thirty years. Numbers show that more and more people are leaving the church; baptisms, confirmations, and the total number of members have been on the decline.
Theological reflections in Part Two will review an essay, “Reformation Views of the Church,” by Paul Basden and David S. Dockery; a book, Church in the Power of the Spirit, by Jürgen Moltmann; and a report by the General Synod of the Church of England, Mission-Shaped Church. The state parish system will be discussed and the relation of mission and Church is examined. Mission is shown as flowing from God and therefore essential to the Church. Mission is relational and Jesus’ life proves that reality, as evident in Matthew 16:13-20: in a heathen setting the Church is built. Finally, this section will examine what is indispensible for Jesus and therefore for the Church.
In Part Three, an art project and a theme for the year is described. Detailed planning and evaluation is set out to help the whole church and every subgroup in it to reach out into the community. All of this has started on the basis of relationships and friendships that are still growing, which should be the basis for any outreach. They point beyond, to the essence of God’s perfect relationship in the Trinity.
Theological Mentor: Kurt Fredrickson, PhD
Material is subject to copyright.
Stern, Richard, "A Way of Reaching out to the Community for a Swiss Reformed State Church" (2014). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 135.