Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldenburg
|Area :||approx. 5380 km²|
|Leading clergyman:||Bishop Thomas Adomeit|
Konf.ev.Ki.Nds as well as
UEK and VELKD
each only guest status
|Church districts :||6th|
|Parishioners:||405,253 (December 31, 2018)|
|Share of the
|37.8% (December 31, 2018)|
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldenburg , based in Oldenburg (Oldenburg), is one of 20 regional churches that make up the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). Like all regional churches, it is a corporation under public law . 405,253 evangelicals (as of 12/2018) in 116 parishes are members of the church. It belongs to the Lutheran churches within the EKD; nevertheless it is not a member of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany (VELKD), but in the Lutheran World Federation . She has guest status at VELKD. The regional church also belongs to the Confederation of Protestant Churches in Lower Saxony and the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe .
The regional church maintains an Evangelical Academy in Oldenburg (Oldb), a folk high school in Rastede and a conference and guest house in Ahlhorn , a Bible Society and other institutions, including the Pastoral College in Loccum together with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover .
Territory of the regional church
The area of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldenburg essentially comprises the main part of the former state of Oldenburg , i.e. the heartland without the former parts of Lübeck and Birkenfeld. The former state of Oldenburg became part of the state of Lower Saxony in 1946 . Changes to the parish and district boundaries that were made after 1946 did not affect the area of the Oldenburg regional church.
Today the independent cities of Oldenburg (Oldb), Delmenhorst and Wilhelmshaven as well as the districts of Ammerland , Cloppenburg and Wesermarsch belong completely to the territory of the regional church .
Not belonging to the Landeskirche Oldenburg:
- in the district of Vechta, the district of Vörden of the municipality of Neuenkirchen-Vörden
- in the district of Friesland the district of Gödens of the municipality of Sande (Friesland) and
- in the district of Oldenburg , the Samtgemeinde Harpstedt .
The following parts of the Landeskirche Oldenburg were assigned to other districts after 1946:
- the district of Idafehn of the municipality of Ostrhauderfehn in the district of Leer
- part of the community Loxstedt in the district of Cuxhaven and
- part of the municipality of Stuhr in the district of Diepholz .
The history of the regional church is inextricably linked with the history of the state of Oldenburg. In the area of the County of Oldenburg , the Reformation probably dates back to 1527. Although the Lutheran Reformation continued to prevail, there were no legal regulations. This only changed with the introduction of the first Oldenburg church ordinance in 1573 by Hermann Hamelmann . A consistory set up to lead the church tried to monitor doctrine and life in the congregations with the help of visitation regulations. In 1590, the Small Catechism of Martin Luther was printed in Low German as the first book in Oldenburg .
From 1667 to 1773 the area was under Danish administration. Thereafter, the counties of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst came by contract to the Prince Diocese of Lübeck , which had been administered by administrators based in Eutin since the beginning of the 16th century . In 1774 the prince-bishops were elevated to dukes. In 1803 the prince-bishopric of Lübeck was secularized and connected as a secular principality of Lübeck with the duchy of Oldenburg , which now consisted of two separate areas; later the principality of Birkenfeld an der Nahe was added as a further exclave. From 1810 to 1814 it was occupied by the French. The church of the Duchy of Oldenburg was subordinate to the respective Duke or Grand Duke of Oldenburg as summus episcopus.
After the First World War and the elimination of the sovereign church regiment after the collapse of the monarchies in Germany, the state of Oldenburg became a free state while retaining its three-part area. The Oldenburg regional church, which had been uniform until then, was divided into two independent regional churches, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Oldenburg region in the Free State of Oldenburg and the Evangelical Lutheran regional church of the Lübeck region in the Free State of Oldenburg (later the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eutin ). In the principality or part of the state of Birkenfeld there was an independent Birkenfeld regional church from the very beginning , as a union with the Oldenburg regional church was not possible due to denominational concerns - in Birkenfeld there were some Reformed parishes.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Oldenburg part of the Free State of Oldenburg received a new constitution in 1920. After that, the head of the regional church was the president of the upper church council, who in 1934 received the title of "bishop". To this day, a merger of the regional churches in Lower Saxony to form a common regional church has occasionally been discussed.
The ordination of women and the blessing of same-sex couples are allowed in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldenburg. In November 2018, the synod of the regional church decided that same-sex couples can also be married in church in future. Bishop Adomeit apologized for past injuries gay couples have suffered from not being married.
Head of the regional church
There are four church governing organs of the Ev.-Luth. Church in Oldenburg: the bishop, the synod , the upper church council and the joint church committee.
The bishop ( president of the Oberkirchenrat until 1934 , general superintendent from 1640 to 1853 , before that superintendent ), who is elected by the synod, is the first pastor of the church through preaching and pastoral care to act as pastor and guardian. He has his official seat in Oldenburg (Oldb) . Episcopal Church of Ev.-Luth. Church in Oldenburg is the St. Lamberti Church in Oldenburg (Oldb). Unlike in other Protestant regional churches, the term of office is not limited. As a rule, after the age of 68, the bishop retires.
Leading clergy of the Oldenburg Church
- 1573–1595: Hermann Hamelmann , Superintendent (County of Oldenburg)
- 1599–1603: Daniel Stange, Superintendent (Grafschaft Oldenburg)
- 1609–1637: Gottfried Schlüter , Superintendent (County of Oldenburg)
- 1637–1638: Anton Buscher, acting superintendent (Grafschaft Oldenburg)
- 1638–1639: Gerhard Langhorst, acting superintendent (County of Oldenburg)
- 1640–1651: Nikolaus Vismar , general superintendent
- 1655–1657: Martin Strackerjan , General Superintendent
- 1657–1667: Matthias Cadovius , General Superintendent
- 1680–1686: Gregorius Michael, General Superintendent
- 1686–1699: Nikolaus Alardus , General Superintendent
- 1701–1709: Bonaventure Krahe, general superintendent
- 1709–1732: Caspar Bussing , general superintendent
- 1753–1750: Rudolf Ibbeken , General Superintendent
- 1751–1775: Johann Adam Flessa , General Superintendent
- 1776–1788: Gustav Ludwig Janson , General Superintendent
- 1789–1801: Esdras Heinrich Mutzenbecher , general superintendent
- 1805–1831: Anton Georg Hollmann, General Superintendent
- 1836–1853: Ernst Gottfried Adolf Böckel , General Superintendent
- 1893–1904: Theodor Hansen , first clerical member of the upper church council; Martin Bernhard Schomann, (legal) President of the Upper Church Council
- 1904–1920: Theodor Hansen , first clerical member of the upper church council; Eugen von Finckh , (legal) President of the Upper Church Council
- 1920–1934: Heinrich Tilemann , President of the Upper Church Council
- 1934–1944: Johannes Volkers , Bishop
- 1945–1952: Wilhelm Stählin , Bishop
- 1952–1953: Bishop's Crisis: elected but not introduced: Wilhelm Hahn
- 1954–1967: Gerhard Jacobi , bishop
- 1967–1985: Hans-Heinrich Harms , Bishop
- 1985–1998: Wilhelm Sievers , Bishop
- 1998–2008: Peter Krug , Bishop
- 2008 - November 2017 (resignation): Jan Janssen , Bishop
- November 2017 - January 2018: Jan Janssen , representative in the episcopate
- February 2018 - September 2018 Thomas Adomeit , representative in the episcopate, part-time senior church councilor
- September 2018 - ongoing: Thomas Adomeit, Bishop
The Synod, which is elected for six years, is the highest church governing body of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Church in Oldenburg and takes care of the spiritual and legal life of the church on behalf of the congregations. The 60 synod members, the synodals, are mainly elected by the district synods, but some are also appointed by the upper church council. Its chairman is the "President of the Synod", currently Sabine Blütchen. The synod usually meets twice a year. In the rest of the time, the joint church committee takes responsibility for fundamental decisions of the church. This body is chaired by the bishop and the synod president is his deputy. The committee also includes the college of the upper church council and other synodals.
The collegial body Oberkirchenrat has to lead and administer the church on behalf of the synod. In addition to the bishop as chairman of the upper church council, it includes other members who have the title "upper church council" or "upper church councilor", which means that the term "upper church council" has its second meaning. Up to October 31, 2007, three senior church councilors were theologians. With the retirement of Dietmar Pohlmann, a saving resolution of the 46th Synod was implemented and the vacated position was canceled. Since then, in addition to the bishop, only two theologians have been appointed as senior church councilors. Another senior church councilor has a legal education. Like the bishop, the senior church councilors are also elected by the synod. In the last elections, the Synod made use of an exemption from the Upper Church Council Act and elected the theological Upper Church Councils for a ten-year term, with re-election possible. The legal member, however, like the bishop or bishop, is elected for life (i.e. until retirement). The College of the Upper Church Council represents the Evangelical Lutheran Church in all legal matters. The bishop acts in his capacity as chairman of the upper church council for the college. Documents with external legal effect and powers of attorney may only be signed and sealed by the bishop or his representative in administrative matters, the legal member of the Oberkirchenrat, including in particular documents relating to church officials and pastoral services. In theological questions, the bishop, as chairman of the senior church council, is represented by the most senior theological member. The College of the Upper Church Council works together with the employees of the regional church in the administrative authority "Upper Church Council", which gives the term "Upper Church Council" its third meaning.
Currently (as of 9/2018) the college of the upper church council consists of the following people:
- Bishop Thomas Adomeit
- Senior Church Councilor Gudrun Mawick (term of office from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2029);
- Oberkirchenrat Detlef Mucks-Büker (term of office from October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2021), also from April 1, 2019, representative of the bishop on theological issues;
- Senior church councilor Susanne Teichmanis , also the bishop's representative in administrative and legal matters.
At the moment the positions of the members of the College of the Upper Church Council are structured differently. While the office of bishop as well as the office of the legal senior church councilor are designed as church officials for life, the other two theological members of the upper church council are appointed church officials for a period of 10 years. Although the regulation is intended as an exception, it has been applied regularly to the theological members of the Oberkirchenrat in all subsequent elections since 2001. With his resignation from the episcopate, Jan Janssen raised the question of time limits for the episcopate as well. The 48th Synod thereupon instructed the Upper Church Council to submit a church law on this question by the 7th session of the 49th Synod (May 2023), both in relation to the office of bishop and the Office of Church Council of the Synod. Thus, the choice of his successor Adomeits remains with an unlimited appointment, since the future regulation can only affect the subsequent election.
The regional church is structured from bottom to top as follows:
- Who are at the base church communities as public corporations with elected parish councils, the "parish church councils" and the parish priests or pastors. The parish councils are elected by the parishioners.
- Several parishes together form a “church district”, at the head of which is a district pastor. The church districts are also corporations under public law and have the district synod with a district church council as bodies. The members of the district synod are elected by the respective parish councils of the parishes in the parish.
- The 116 parishes in the six church districts together form the regional church, the “Ev.-luth. Church in Oldenburg ”. There is a middle level of administration and management in Ev.-Luth. Church in Oldenburg does not.
Since January 1, 2008, all administrative levels of the regional church, i.e. upper church council, church districts and parishes have been using the so-called joint church administration established by the church law of November 16, 2007, which is divided into a central office and six regional departments located in the church districts. The Oldenburg Church tries to organizationally map the state principle of the separation of powers in its legal system. Therefore, the Upper Church Council only uses the joint church administration for self-administration; for the areas of church supervision and church auditing, the Upper Church Council falls back on organizationally distinct organizational units based on their own church law. It should be noted that it was only in the course of the administrative structural reform that a synodal separation was made and a separate audit committee was appointed. Until then, the Finance Committee has carried out budget planning, reservations for decisions during the current budget implementation (e.g. lifting of blocking notes) and the discharge recommendation to the Synod.
Until a few years ago there were 14 church districts. Former church districts were z. B. Brake, Elsfleth, Ganderkesee and Wildeshausen. Through the merger and reorganization, the number has been reduced to six church districts since 2007:
- Delmenhorst / Oldenburg Land
- Oldenburger Münsterland
- Oldenburg city
There is a regional office in each church district.
The 116 parishes are very different in size and structure. The parish of Wulfenau in the parish of Vechta, for example, has 139 parishioners, the parish of Osternburg in the parish of Oldenburg-Stadt has 24,110. The parishes maintain church offices as contact points for direct local contact.
The budget of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldenburg amounts to 90.2 million euros in 2016. For 2016, with an income of approx. 73.5 million euros from church taxes . The church's reserves amounted to approx. 143.9 million euros. For 2017, the budget grew slightly to 91 million euros. For the first time, at the autumn meeting of the Synod in November 2016, with the change in housekeeping from cameralistics to double, an opening balance sheet was presented showing total assets of € 330,130,067.84. At the end of 2016, the Oldenburg Church had reserves of approx. € 143 million, of which € 3.3 million are freely available.
The focus is on spending on:
- Parish service and religious instruction
- general church work and inter-church work with children and young people, church music
- Day care centers
- diaconal work including the diaconal stations
- Hospital pastoral care, holiday pastoral care, telephone counseling, prison ministry
- Educational work
- Ecumenism and World Mission
- Maintenance and care of church buildings
In 2010, the Diakonisches Werk Oldenburg filed for bankruptcy for three of its old people's homes . The reason given was the low nursing care rates in Lower Saxony. These are the lowest in West Germany and are 9 percent below the national average. In addition, more than half of the old people's homes in Lower Saxony are operated by private providers. They paid their employees up to 35 percent below the collective wage. Given its own precarious financial situation, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldenburg could not give any further subsidies in this situation. The old people's homes are now being continued as Diakonie facilities after the insolvency proceedings prompted the employees to sign new employment contracts in which they waived, in particular, the church additional benefits and other salary components. The management was not affected by these measures.
In 2008 the news that the Evangelical Church of Oldenburg had invested 4.3 million euros of its reserves with the bank " Lehman Brothers " caused a stir . However, Thomas Anbich, head of the finance department of the EKD, stated in May 2009: "It is pure coincidence that we did not have any Lehman certificates". Because many regional churches invest in the capital market in order to increase their returns. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldenburg had invested money with Lehman Brothers since mid-2005.
In the "Deutsches Pfarrerblatt", Andreas Dreyer warned: "Unfortunately, [...] above all the other two churches fail in their memoranda to critically question their own actions in their so-called social words or to draft a theory of their own economic activity; society or the economy is always seemingly objectified as a counterpart that one believes to be allowed to criticize as a church without even having to self-critically reflect on 'doing business' with one's own finances and admitting one's own integration into the system. "
Ten years after the losses, senior church councilor Susanne Teichmanis , who is responsible for finances , stated that a loss like the one in 2008 would be ruled out due to the significantly expanded internal control system and new, particularly security-conscious investment criteria, especially since the church's assets are now distributed among several banks.
Joint institutions with the Confederation of Protestant Churches in Lower Saxony
Together with other churches in Lower Saxony, the Regional Church of Oldenburg is responsible for the Evangelical Adult Education Lower Saxony (EEB), the Lower Saxony Village Helpers and the Church Service in Police and Customs of the Confederation of Protestant Churches in Lower Saxony . The facilities are assigned to the house of ecclesiastical services of the Hanover regional church. Under the umbrella of the Confederation of Protestant Churches in Lower Saxony, the Ev.-Luth. Church in Oldenburg, together with the Evangelical Lutheran Regional Church of Hanover, set up a seminary and pastoral college. As a joint institution of the confederation, the four Lutheran churches in Lower Saxony, to which Oldenburg belongs, also operate an examination office for the first and second theological examination. The Reformed Church is not involved in this for denominational reasons. The Ev.-Luth. Church in Oldenburg is also together with the Ev.-luth. Regional Church in Braunschweig as well as the Evangelical Lutheran. Regional Church of Hanover is also involved in the labor and service law commission of the confederation, which serves to establish church labor law for the area of the participating churches in the so-called " third way ".
- Oldenburgisches Gesang-Buch / Inside old and new / but all in all to find louder melodies and witty songs ; Oldenburg 1690.
- Hymnal for public and domestic devotion for the Duchy of Oldenburg, with an appendix of prayers ; Oldenburg, from 1791 edition in the Internet Archive
- Hymn book for the Evangelical Lutheran parishes of the Duchy of Oldenburg ; Oldenburg, 1868; later with the title hymn book for the Evangelical Lutheran parishes of the Oldenburg regional church
- Evangelical Church Hymns - Edition for the Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Lower Saxony ; Oldenburg / Hanover, from around 1950
- Evangelical hymn book - edition for the Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Lower Saxony and for the Evangelical Church in Bremen ; Hanover / Göttingen, introduced in Advent 1994; ISBN 3-87706-437-X
- Official website of the Ev.-Luth. Church in Oldenburg
- Structural reform transparent: perspective process and steering group in the ELKO
- See Ernst Rolffs: Evangelical Church Studies in Lower Saxony. 2nd Edition. Göttingen 1938, p. 17.
- Evangelical Church in Germany - Church membership figures as of December 31, 2018 , ekd.de, accessed on February 28, 2020.
- Archived copy ( Memento of the original dated November 12, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ,
- See Hermann Hamelmann: Oldenburgisch Chronicon. Oldenburg 1599, p. 363.
- Martin Luther: De klene Catechismus vor de gemenen Parheren / vnde Hussveder, edited as a facsimile edition by Armin Dietzel: De klene Catechismus, Oldenburg 1970.
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldenburg: 5th session of the 46th Synod ,
- NDR: Oldenburg Church resolves "marriage for everyone" . ( ndr.de [accessed November 25, 2018]).
- z. B. Hannover 10 years with the option to extend; North Church 10 years with the possibility of re-election; Westphalia 8 years,
- State of emergency of belief . In: Der Spiegel 08/1953 of February 18, 1953, p. 12.
- Synod elects Thomas Adomeit as part-time senior church councilor  .
- - Report from the special meeting of the Synod of Ev.-Luth. Church in Oldenburg, accessed on September 29, 2018
- Farewell to Pohlmann .
- Synod resolves far-reaching changes .
- Church regulations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldenburg from February 20, 1950 (GVBl. Ev.-Luth. Church in Oldenburg 13th vol., P. 135), as amended on May 14, 2011 (GVBl. Ev.-Luth Church in Oldenburg 27th vol., P. 51) .
- College of the Upper Church Council .
- https://www.kirche-oldenburg.de/kirche-gemeinden/synode/bischofswahl.html Report on the bishop's election on the homepage of the Ev.-Luth. Church in Oldenburg - accessed on September 29, 2018
- https://www.nwzonline.de/kultur/weser-ems/rastede-synode-kirchenleitung-neu-besetzt_a_50,3,1226948038.html Report on the election as senior church councilor - accessed on March 15, 2019
- Personal statement by Pastor Jan Janssen https://www.kirche-oldenburg.de/kirche-gemeinden/synode/848-synode/donnerstag-23112017.html .
- Resolutions on the bishops https://www.kirche-oldenburg.de/kirche-gemeinden/synode/ausserordialen-tagung-der-48-synode.html .
- Church Law on the Formation of a Joint Church Administration - Church Administration Act of November 16, 2007 (GVBl. 26th volume, p. 112), last amended by Church Law of November 20, 2014 (GVBl. 27th volume, p. 201).
- Church Law on Church Oversight (Church Oversight Act - KAG) of May 14, 2011 (GVBl. 27th volume, p. 51)
- Church law for auditing of November 20, 2009 (GVBl. Volume 27, p. 4).
- Rules of procedure for the Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldenburg from May 5, 1954 (GVBl. Volume 14, p. 65), revised on May 23, 2013 (GVBl. Volume 27, p. 149).
- Regional offices
- Church .
- 4th session of the 48th Synod, cf. also templates 66 (2014 annual accounts) and 67 (plan for church work 2016) on items 15 and 16 of the 4th conference ( page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Report from the 1st and 3rd day of negotiations of the 6th session of the 48th Synod of the Oldenburg Church ( page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Report of the 1st day of negotiations of the 6th session of the 48th Synod of the Oldenburg Church .
- Report from the 2nd day of negotiations of the 6th meeting of the 48th Synod of the Oldenburg Church ( page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Report from the 3rd day of negotiations of the 6th session of the 48th Synod of the Oldenburg Church .
- Dieter Schrader: Budget speech 2005 on the occasion of the 8th session of the 46th Synod from 24.-25. November 2005 (PDF; 82 kB)
- Melanie Pust: Oldenburg: Church supports bankruptcy application. Radio jade . March 25, 2010.
- Press release of the Diakonisches Werk from May 20, 2010 .
- Beat Balzli et al. a .: The bank robbery (PDF; 252 kB). Mirror . Issue 47/2008. November 17, 2008, pp. 13, 17, 24, 28, 36, 37, 41.
- Ulrike Herrmann: gambled away on the capital market - financial crisis hits the church too. taz . May 20, 2009.
- 2005 annual accounts of Ev.-Luth. Church in Oldenburg, Annex 21, Template 184 for the 10th session of the 46th Synod.
- Andreas Dreyer: What the Church has to learn from the financial and economic crisis. ( Page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. German pastor gazette . Issue 2/2010.
- Susanne Teichmanis in: The Oldenburger Church and the bankruptcy of the Lehman Brothers - press release of September 11, 2018
- Preachers' seminar and pastoral college of the Confederation of Protestant Churches in Lower Saxony .
- Examination office of the Confederation of Protestant Churches in Lower Saxony .
- Homepage of the Confederation of Protestant Churches in Lower Saxony  ( page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. .
- Text based on the title page of the 3rd edition from 1707, to be found in the Oldenburg State Library , Ge IX B 274, ½. Today there are probably still five editions, the first of which has been lost.