Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck

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Logo of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck
Map of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck
Basic data
Area : approx. 10,000 km²
Confession : united
Leading clergy: Bishop Beate Hofmann
Membership: UEK , CPCE
Sprengel : 4th
Church districts : 20th
Parishes : 756
Parishioners: 800,663 (December 31, 2018)
Pastor : 976
Share of the
total population:
43.1% (December 31, 2018)
Official Website: www.ekkw.de

The Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck (EKKW) is one of 20 member churches ( regional churches ) of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). Like all regional churches, it is a corporation under public law . It is based in Kassel . The church has about 800,663 church members in 774 parishes . (Status: Dec. 2018) It is a member of the Union of Evangelical Churches (UEK) and the Community of Evangelical Churches in Europe (CPCE).

The Bishop's Church of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck is the Martinskirche in Kassel.

The regional church maintains an evangelical academy in the Schönburg castle in Hofgeismar .

Territory of the regional church

The area of ​​the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck essentially comprises the northern and eastern part of today's state of Hesse and the Schmalkalden area in today's state of Thuringia . In other words: It includes the Electorate of Hesse , which existed until 1866 (including its exclave Schmalkalden ), as well as the former Principality and the Free State of Waldeck, which was also incorporated into the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau in 1929 . The Hessian part of the regional church largely corresponds to the area of ​​the Catholic diocese of Fulda , the Waldeck part of the Archdiocese of Paderborn . The Lower Hessian areas around Kassel are Reformed , the Upper Hessian areas around Marburg are more Lutheran and the areas of the former province of Hanau are united denominations.


The Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck was formed in 1934 through the merger of two independent regional churches. These were the Evangelical Church in Hessen-Kassel and the Evangelical Church in Waldeck . Both regional churches each have their own history, which is discussed separately below:

Evangelical Church in Hessen-Kassel

City church in Homberg, venue of the Homberg Synod in 1526

The Evangelical Church in Hessen-Kassel is inextricably linked with the history of the Landgraviate of Hessen-Kassel , which was created through the division of the Landgraviate of Hesse in 1567. Initially shaped by Philip the Magnanimous , Landgrave Moritz introduced the Reformed Confession in the area around Kassel, only the area around Marburg remained Lutheran. With the acquisition of the county of Hanau-Münzenberg , further confessionally mixed areas were added. In this part of the country the Hanauer Union came into being in 1818 . Otherwise, the protestant confessional controversy continued, especially after the annexation of the Electorate of Hesse by Prussia in 1866. The three former Hessian consistorial districts of Kassel, Marburg and Hanau were united in 1873 to form a consistory in Kassel.

The head of the church in Hessen-Kassel was the respective elector until 1866, after that the king of Prussia as "summus episcopus". The spiritual director was a theologian with the title of superintendent or general superintendent. After 1873 there were three general superintendents as spiritual leaders, one each for the Lutheran, the Reformed and the United Confession. The consistory or the joint senior consistory in Kassel was headed by a president.

After the First World War (elimination of the sovereign church regiment ), a common constitution was passed (1924). The consistory became the state church office with a president at its head. A confessional union (as in Hanau) still did not take place. So there are Lutheran, Reformed and United congregations in Hessen-Kassel to this day, but many congregations only call themselves Protestant.

From 1924 the head of the church was the regional pastor, who was also chairman of the church government.

On June 12, 1934, the Evangelical Church in Waldeck was merged with the Evangelical Church in Hessen-Kassel.

Evangelical Church in Waldeck

The Evangelical Church in Waldeck was the territorial church of the county or the principality of Waldeck , to which the county of Pyrmont belonged since the 17th century . The Reformation was shaped by Lutherans; there were only three Reformed churches. In 1821 a union was carried out between the Lutheran and Reformed congregations. Even after Prussia took over the administration of the principality in 1867, the regional church remained independent and was led by the incumbent prince through the consistory.

After the elimination of the sovereign church regiment, the regional church in the new Free State adopted a church constitution in 1921. The church remained independent, even when in 1922 the area around Pyrmont was added to the Prussian province of Hanover and in 1929 the remainder of the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau . In 1934, under National Socialist pressure, the church was affiliated to the Evangelical State Church in Hessen-Kassel.

The three Waldeck circles formed their own district . Its provost was Bernhard von Haller in the first post-war years. In 1976 the district was merged with Marburg.

From the unification to 1945

Martinskirche in Kassel, preaching place of the bishop

In the summer of 1933 the "German Christians" , founded as a church party of the NSDAP , gained power in the newly formed German Evangelical Church (DEK) and a majority in the synods of the churches in Waldeck and Hessen-Kassel. In this way they were able to enforce their wish for a church division that corresponded to the party organization of the NSDAP. On June 12, 1934, the regional church convention of the Evangelical Church in Hessen-Kassel decided on the basis of an ordinance of the DEK to merge with the Evangelical Church in Waldeck, but without Pyrmont, which was now also ecclesiastically attached to the Lutheran Church of Hanover , as was the one until 1932 Hessian district of Schaumburg . The new regional church was named Kurhessen-Waldeck according to the NSDAP-Gau Kurhessen, to which Waldeck also belonged. The synodals from Waldeck waiting in front of the door, who had not made a formal resolution on the unification, joined the synod, which fell out over the next item on the agenda, the bishops' law, and was closed due to the lack of a quorum.

A planned union with the other Hessian regional churches, the Evangelical Regional Church in Hesse (based in Darmstadt), the Evangelical Regional Church in Nassau and the Evangelical Regional Church in Frankfurt am Main failed at short notice. The three other churches formed the "Evangelical State Church Nassau-Hessen" (today Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau ) in 1933 .

On July 3, 1934, the DEK declared the church leadership to be deposed, appointed an authorized representative and on July 16 a provisional church leadership. The Confessing Church was then formed under the direction of Professor Hans von Soden from Marburg . To pacify the situation, a regional church committee was set up, consisting of members from all church parties. In 1935 he elected the pastor and director of the Hephata Diaconal Institutions in Treysa, Friedrich Happich , as chairman. In 1937 he was one of those who signed the declaration of the 96 Protestant church leaders against Alfred Rosenberg because of his writing Protestant Rome Pilgrims . Happich led the regional church until 1945.

After the Second World War , at an emergency synod in Treysa (today Schwalmstadt ), the episcopate was re-created and connected with the management of the regional church office. Adolf Wüstemann , a representative of the Confessing Church, was elected as the first bishop . The previous president of the regional church office became vice-president and legal representative of the bishop under the new constitution.

After 1945

The regional church supported the establishment of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) since 1945 and joined it in 1948. In 1951 the Evangelical Church Hymn book (EKG) was introduced as the first joint hymn book for the regional church, which was replaced in 1994 by the Evangelical Hymnal (with a Hessian regional part). A common agenda followed only in 1968; a revised agenda has been in force since 1999. Together with the other Protestant churches with territorial shares in Hesse, the regional church concluded a contract with the state of Hesse in 1960 to uniformly regulate mutual relationships and guarantee the church's independence and its public relations mandate. After the regional synod made it possible for women to be ordained at the end of 1961 , the first female pastors were ordained in 1962. In 1967 the church gave itself a basic order. In 1973 she signed the Leuenberg Agreement and thus belongs to the Community of Evangelical Churches in Europe .

Elisabeth Church in Marburg

The area of ​​the former rule Schmalkalden , which had belonged to Hesse since 1584, was politically a part of the state of Thuringia or the GDR after 1945 , but remained as the deanery of the Hessian-Waldeck church. In 1970 the deanery was incorporated into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thuringia . At the request of the Dean's Synod in the spring of 1990, this incorporation was reversed in 1991; the area has since formed the Schmalkalden parish .

In 2018, the regional synod paved the way for same-sex couples to be married in church services.

Head of the regional church

Leading clergy

Martin Hein , Bishop of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck from 2000 to 2019

At the head of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck is the bishop, who is elected for life by the regional synod . He or she represents the regional church in public and, together with the regional synod, has the ultimate responsibility in the regional church. After reaching the age of 65, he or she usually retires.

(Regional) bishops and their predecessors
June to December 1934: Karl Theys (elected "regional bishop" by the German-Christian regional church assembly, which is formally incapable of making a decision, against the opposition of the Confessing Church)
1935–1945: Friedrich Happich , chairman of the regional church committee
1945–1963: Adolf Wüstemann , regional bishop
1963–1978: Erich Vellmer , regional bishop
1978–1991: Hans-Gernot Jung , regional bishop
1991–1992: Erhard Giesler, prelate , this led the official business
1992–2000: Christian Zippert , Bishop
2000–2019: Martin Hein , Bishop
2019– : Beate Hofmann , Bishop0000

State Synod

As a “parliament”, the regional church has a church synod , which represents the actual leadership of the church. It has 90 members. The majority are directly elected by the synods of the church districts for six years. Furthermore, the bishop and his / her legal and theological representatives, i.e. the vice-president and the prelate, are members of the synod. In addition, it appoints 12 additional members, of which at least 8 must be lay people. Its chairman is the President, since April 2016 Church Councilor Thomas Dittmann from Kassel. Dittmann was the presiding judge at the Hessian Administrative Court in Kassel until 2016. The synod usually meets twice a year. Their tasks are comparable to those of political parliaments.

The regional synod elects the bishop and sends the members of the council of the regional church from among its members. It enacts laws and approves the budget. The regional synod has the final decision on all church issues. She shares the spiritual and legal leadership with the bishop, the provosts, the council of the regional church and the regional church office. All other governing bodies are responsible to the regional synod. Outside the meetings, the church is led by the bishop and the council of the regional church, whose members are elected by the synod.

Administration of the regional church

Church administration of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck and administrative hierarchy

The bishop has his official seat in Kassel in the "Landeskirchenamt der EKKW", of which he is chairman. The regional church office includes theological and legal departments, the "college". The bishop has a theological (prelate) and a legal (vice-president) deputy. The latter is also the managing director of the regional church office. The consistorial president, then the president of the regional church office, held this office until 1923. The Vice President has existed since 1948.

The regional church office participates in the management and administration of the church and supports the parishes, church organizations and associations in the fulfillment of their tasks over which it supervises. Around 150 employees work in it.

Castle church in Ziegenhain

Presidents and vice-presidents of the regional church office were from 1934 until today:

In addition to the bishop and the regional church office, there is also the “Council of the Regional Church” as a liaison body for the church governing bodies. Ex officio members are the bishop as chairman, his two permanent representatives, the provosts and the synodal board. Eight other members are sent by the synod from the ranks of the regular synodals, six lay people and two pastors. The council may also issue legal ordinances in the intervals between the synod sessions.

In the administrative hierarchy, the regional church is structured from bottom to top as follows:

At the base are the parishes as corporations under public law with elected church councils and pastors. The church councils are elected by the parishioners for 6 years. They can also call in advisory members at their monthly meetings. These include B. also "church elders", these are particularly proven members of the congregation who can be permanently elected to this office by the church council. In practice, however, this office is used less and less.

Several parishes together form a church district (in general administration comparable to a district ) , headed by a dean. The church districts are also corporations under public law and have the district synod with a church district executive as a body. The members of the district synod are elected on the one hand by the respective church councils of the parishes, on the other hand their various members belong by office. By the end of 2019 there were 24 church districts; then the number was reduced to 14 through mergers.

Several church districts together form a district (in general administration comparable to an administrative district ) , headed by the provost. This administrative level has no body. The four districts together form the regional church ( comparable to the federal state in terms of general administration ) .

The regional church youth representation is the regional youth forum of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck . It represents the interests of young people between the ages of 14 and 27 in the area of ​​the regional church and takes a position on all youth-relevant questions. It sends u. a. Youth delegate to the regional synod and represents Kurhessen-Waldeck in the working group of the Protestant youth in Germany (aej) and the Protestant youth in Hesse (EJH).

Overview of the districts and church districts

Church district Seat Sprengel Communities Members
Eder Frankenberg Marburg 053 046,955
Fulda Fulda Hanau-Hersfeld 028 044.185
Hanau Hanau Hanau-Hersfeld 026th 073.714
Hersfeld-Rotenburg Bad Hersfeld Hanau-Hersfeld 073 075,000
Hofgeismar-Wolfhagen Hofgeismar kassel 071 065,000
Kassel city kassel kassel 022nd 078,805
Kaufungen Kaufungen kassel 033 068,727
Kinzigtal Schluechtern Hanau-Hersfeld 031 066,000
Kirchhain Cölbe Marburg 035 041,913
Marburg Marburg Marburg 031 049,514
Schmalkalden Schmalkalden Hanau-Hersfeld 016 020,363
Twiste-Eisenberg Korbach Marburg 060 042,452
Werra-Meissner Eschwege kassel 127 056,000
Schwalm-Eder Schwalmstadt Marburg 159 117,000


The church districts are from the 774 parishes formed.


  • Michael Hederich: About the freedom of the church. History of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck. Evangelical Press Association Kurhessen-Waldeck, Kassel 1972 ( Monographia Hassiae 1, ISSN  0720-4671 ).
  • Sebastian Parker: The Marburg Conference. Merger plans and cooperation of Hessian Protestant regional churches in the 20th century. Verlag der Hessische Kirchengeschichtliche Vereinigung, Darmstadt et al. 2008, ISBN 978-3-931849-28-3 ( Sources and studies on Hessian church history 16), (At the same time: Darmstadt, Techn. Hochsch., Master's thesis, 2004).
  • Karl Schilling: The merger of the regional churches Waldeck and Hessen-Kassel . In: Waldeckischer Landeskalender. 2009 (2008), ZDB -ID 513652-0 , pp. 80-92.
  • Dieter Waßmann: Evangelical pastors in Kurhessen and Waldeck from 1933 to 1945. Evangelical Media Association Kassel, Kassel 2001, ISBN 3-89477-926-8 ( Monographia Hassiae 24).
  • Rainer Hering , Jochen-Christoph Kaiser : Contributions to church history . Kassel, Evang. Media association

Web links

Commons : Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Evangelical Church in Germany - Church membership figures as of December 31, 2018 , ekd.de, accessed on February 26, 2020.
  2. http://www.akademie-hofgeismar.de/
  3. Friedrich Siegmund-Schultze (Ed.): Ecumenical Yearbook 1936–1937 . Max Niehans, Zurich 1939, pp. 240–247.
  4. ^ Treaty of the Evangelical Churches in Hesse with the State of Hesse from February 18, 1960. In: Religion & Law. Retrieved May 23, 2014 .
  5. 50 years of ordination for women in Kurhessen-Waldeck. Press release of the Evangelical Women in Germany from March 7, 2012, accessed on October 10, 2016.
  6. ^ Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck: Traugesetz will also apply to same-sex couples in Kurhessen-Waldeck in the future , 2018
  7. Erich Dinkler, Erika Dinkler-von Schubert (ed.): Theology and Church in the Work of Hans von Soden: Letters and documents from the time of the church struggle 1933–1945 . 2nd Edition. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1984, ISBN 3-525-55752-3 , pp. 99 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  8. ^ The regional synod of the Ev. Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck. Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck, accessed on May 23, 2014 .
  9. ↑ State Synod elects Synodal Board - Church Council Dr. Thomas Dittmann new President. Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck, April 25, 2016, accessed on July 11, 2017 .
  10. ^ Basic rules of the EKKW from May 22, 1967, last changed on May 9, 2009.
  11. EKKW press release .