Since 1996 Church of England chaplaincies and The American Episcopal Church parishes in Germany have been officially joined in the Council of
Anglican Episcopal Churches in Germany (CAECG).
The Church of England parishes were formed or re-constituted in the former British Zone of Occupation in north Germany after the Second World War. The American Anglican parishes similarly in their Occupation Zone, in southern Germany. In the forties and fifties there were many forces chaplains serving large garrisons. Today military chaplains are far fewer but still a feature of Christian service here. Nowadays though, Anglicans together have moved on from mainly being churches for ex-patriates, whether military or civil. We have the privilege of being regarded as mission partners with the two Volkskirchen, the Evangelisch and Roman Catholic Churches, as further illustrated below.
As defined in the Articles of Association of the CAECG our mission is to: “.. assist its members in the performance of their missionary task in co-operation with the other churches in Germany, proclaiming the Word of God, administering the Sacraments, pastoral work, religious education, charitable activity and participation in ecumenical endeavours, according to the principles of the Anglican Church.”
Since formation we have
- enjoyed close fellowship in the partnership of the Gospel,
- exchanged pulpits and shared worship together,
- led retreats and study weekends for each other,
- shared in growing the Anglican presence in Germany,
- acted as the official Anglican voice in Germany, as a full member of
the German Council of Churches (both nationally and locally), through our presence at Kirchentag and at other meetings and events and
- helped each other to spread the Good News – not just to expatriates.
This has been an inspiring and spirit-filled experience for us all. We have profited from each other’s ideas, cultures and resources – the whole breadth of the Anglican Communion is alive and well at our bi-annual meetings – and we have learnt that we are more effective together than apart. Our meetings and our whole co-operation are defined by a spirit of mutual understanding and support and by a willingness to combine in our shared mission to the world without power games or competition.
Even if the wider issues of the Communion have not completely passed us by and we have suffered the pain of the withdrawal from our miniature “Communion” of one chaplaincy, the vast majority of Anglicans (people and congregations) in Germany actively supports the CAECG. If we disagree, we do so in dialogue trying to follow the rule “In the primary things, unity; in the secondary things, liberality; in all things, charity” (St. Augustine).
Therefore we would like to commend this “grass-roots” Anglican Communion as a model for the whole Church.