Protestant student community

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Protestant student community
legal form Registered association
founding 1895 as DCSV
Seat Hanover
precursor German Christian Student Association
motto Church of Jesus Christ at the college
purpose Community work for and by Protestant Christians in college and university

An Evangelical Student Congregation (also: Evangelical student or student community, abbreviated ESG ; in Austria Evangelical University Congregation ) is a special form of a community belonging to the Evangelical Church , which is usually looked after by a student pastor. The approximately 145 local student communities in Germany are united at the federal level to form the Association of Evangelical Student Congregations in Germany (Bundes-ESG, formerly: ESGiD). The office of the umbrella organization is based in Hanover and is run within the framework of the EKD competence center for children, youth and students together with the office of the Working Group of Evangelical Youth (aej eV).


The ESG emerged from the merger of the German Christian Student Association (DCSV) founded in 1895 , the Student Union for Mission (SfM) founded in 1896 and the German Christian Association of Student Women (DCVSF) founded in 1905 , which were banned in 1938, and the student groups of the confessing Church that had been smashed by the National Socialists in many places at the same time . Even before the Second World War , people met under the roof of the church for Bible studies, devotions and leisure activities. The forerunners of the Evangelical Student Congregation existed before 1945, and as an organization it came into being after the liberation. In 1949, the Student Mission in Germany (SMD) was founded, an amalgamation of mainly Protestant and Protestant-free church students who also saw themselves as standing in the tradition of the DCSV.

In the 1950s, the ESG had the most prestige, the most community members, and the most influence. In 1964 there was an official agreement between ESG and SMD, in which mutual recognition and the respective independence of work were agreed.

Since the mid-1960s, the ESG has been part of the political student movement in many places . In some places they saw themselves as a “political community”. The ESG supported socially critical , anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movements and took up their questions. This brought them into conflict with the regional churches in many university cities , which, for example, took rigorous action against them in Marburg and Hanover. Some ESGn expressed open or latent sympathy and understanding for left-wing radical movements. In some places so-called Autonomous Evangelical Student Congregations (aESGn) emerged, most of which existed until the late 1980s. The last aESG in Heidelberg dissolved in 2003. Today, most of the other parishes are less political and more ecclesiastical again.

After German reunification , in 1997 the ESG in the Federal Republic of Germany and the ESG in the GDR merged to form "ESG in the Federal Republic of Germany" with two offices in Cologne and Berlin.

The merged office of ESG was based in Berlin from 2002 to 2007 . Since the beginning of the cooperation with the Working Group of Evangelical Youth (aej) in 2008, the office has been based in Hanover. The head of this office was initially the Secretary General of the Federal ESG, this position was held by Jörn Möller. As a result of disagreements about organizational structures and personal details, the position of Secretary General has been vacant since 2014.

Since the EKD and the aej have now confirmed a reorganization of the structures of the Federal ESG, a new order has been decided in which the previous position of the Secretary General as federal student pastor is managed. The new regulations came into force on September 30, 2014 and lead to the election of the federal student pastor. Since September 1, 2015, the position has been filled with Corinna Hirschberg.

In the GDR, the Protestant student communities formed part of the (tolerated) resistance against the policies of the SED , as they were under the umbrella of the regional churches. In addition, with the Free German Youth (FDJ) founded in 1946, a youth organization was created that was supposed to be politically directed against the young communities and student communities. Especially in the years 1952 and 1953 there were measures such as relegations and de-registration of pupils and students because of their affiliation to these communities. With the resolutions of 9./10. June 1953 these were officially withdrawn, but remained conscious. Student pastors and student parishes have been preferred targets of observation and recruitment for the Ministry of State Security , with greater success than in regular parishes due to the openness of the student parishes. The Berlin office of the Evangelical Student Congregations in the GDR temporarily represented - detached from the grassroots - largely pro- socialist - opportunist positions. Many actors in the peaceful revolution were shaped by the ESG. The student pastor's office was often seen as a stepping stone for the following church leadership functions. Several later bishops, such as Axel Noack, were previously student pastors. In western Germany there was a development similar to that of the Catholic university communities (KHGn): The campus experimental field has just been used by young, committed pastors with a doctorate . Important bishops such as the Catholic Werner Guballa or the Protestant Johannes Friedrich were previously student pastors.


The ESG sees itself as a “Church of Jesus Christ at the university”, which means that “the Federal ESG proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ as God's promise and demand to us through word and deed. It is bound by the Holy Scriptures and is based on the confessions valid in the Evangelical Church in Germany. The Federal ESG participates in the overall mandate of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and its member churches, especially in the social field of education, science and university development ”(from the preamble).

The ESG is a member of the World Christian Student Union (WSCF).

Theological orientation

As an association of Protestant congregations, the ESG is bound by the confessions of the regional churches, which also ensure the material resources of the ESGs at the university locations. Overall, the Protestant student communities are strongly influenced by the theological discourses of the Confessing Church , liberation theology and more recent theological discourses of the last 20 years. The high fluctuation in the congregations also leads to faster theological changes in the ESG. In general, the ESG represents the liberal branch of Protestant student work. The opposite of the ESGs at many universities is the Student Mission in Germany (SMD), which is theologically more conservative than most ESGs.


  • Michael Feist: The legal situation of the Protestant student communities. 2 volumes. Haag and Herchen, Frankfurt am Main 1982, DNB 550714774 , text volume, ISBN 3-88129-554-2 , and material volume ISBN 3-88129-555-0 (Zugl .: Freiburg (Breisgau), Univ., Diss., 1980) .
  • Kai Horstmann: Campus and Profession. Parish service in the Protestant student community. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2012, ISBN 978-3-17-022021-8 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Bodo Volkmann: Awakening in the time of upheaval . In: Studentenmission in Deutschland (Ed.): Giving account of our hope. Festschrift for the 50th anniversary of the student mission in Germany . SMD, Marburg 1999, DNB  958010889 , p. 288 .
  2. ^ Aribert Rothe: Evangelical student communities in the GDR. (PDF; 180 kB) (No longer available online.) In: Bund Evangelischer Jugend in Mitteldeutschland, October 4, 2009, archived from the original on April 26, 2016 ; accessed on October 29, 2019 .
  3. Regulations of the Association of Evangelical Student Congregations in Germany (decided on September 19, 2014, entry into force on October 1, 2014) ( PDF; 249 kB [accessed on October 29, 2019]).
  4. Axel Noack in a lecture on the occasion of the anniversary of the ESG Halle on June 12, 2015 in Halle.