Decade of peace

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The Ecumenical Decade of Peace takes place every year in the ten days before the Day of Repentance and Prayer . Since it lasts ten days, it is called " Decade ".


The idea for the Ecumenical Peace Decade (initially called " Peace Week ") was born in the Netherlands . There the Interchurch Peace Council introduced the Peace Week to strengthen the commitment of church members to peace issues and to support politics in this regard. In the general assembly of the EYCE (World Youth Council in Europe) in 1979 the suggestion was suggested to all members.

The idea was taken up from West and East Germany simultaneously in 1980. Experience shows that the churches and groups inside and outside the churches work together constructively and that they do so in an ecumenical spirit. The Decades of Peace have promoted the koinonia (fellowship) of the churches, strengthened the cohesion of Christians in East and West Germany and made the ecumenical peace topic a focus in the church year. Ideas and examples on the topics of justice , peace and the integrity of creation were disseminated early on as part of the Decade of Peace and have contributed to the development of sustainable environmental policy and responsibility for creation . A special success of the peace weeks or decades is the deepening of Christian witness to peace and the formation of will in the churches and communities .

Decade of Peace in the German Democratic Republic

The suggestion to hold a peace decade in the congregations at the end of the church year came from the ecumenical youth work in autumn 1980. The Working Group of Christian Youth (AGCJ) and the Commission for Church Youth Work (KKJ) of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in the GDR had prepared material on this that was published by the Secretariat of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in the GDR.

What was planned as a one or two-time action, developed through the echo from youth groups and parishes into a constantly recurring institution that has taken up important concerns of the Christian peace service . From an enterprise of church youth work, the Peace Decade has become a matter for the entire congregation, which increasingly found expression in ecumenical cooperation at local level and, after the “ Ecumenical Assembly for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation ” in 1988/89, also by the Catholic Church with was prepared and carried out. Materials on this topic were published annually.

From the beginning, the symbol of swords to plowshares was the hallmark of the peace decade in the GDR. At the beginning of the 1980s it was the cause of tough arguments with the state, when many young people wore it as a patch, but it made Christians all the more aware of the immorality of state oppression. The contents themselves - topics and texts - were also the subject of exciting discussions. In doing so, Christians have discovered that the churches are a learning community that can only become peacemakers in this world with the long breath of hope . For many in the GDR, the increasing interest of ecumenical partners from other countries was surprising. Ecumenical visitor groups regularly took part in the Peace Decades, gained inspiration for their own work (for example for peace weeks in the churches of the USA ) and enriched the dialogue with their insights and experiences.

Every year the Ecumenical Decades of Peace offered the opportunity to reflect on peace for ten days in community, to talk to one another and to pray. In the past they gave the Christians in the GDR important experiences who saw in the “strength of the weak” and in the hope of faith a liberating and encouraging possibility of their witness.

The Synod of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in the GDR at its last meeting on 24 February 1991 Berlin expressed the expectation that the peace decade working even after the reunification of the EKD should be continued.

Decade of Peace in the Federal Republic

In 1980, West Germany also called for the Peace Week for the first time, at the Peace Services Festival organized by the Action Reconciliation / Peace Services (ASF) and the Action Group Service for Peace (AGDF) . That was the high time of the peace movement in the old Federal Republic. At that time, various groups formed within the West German peace movement, which ensured the dissemination of the peace movement's ideas in their social environment. Loosely organized groups of Christian-oriented groups from almost all churches, including the sponsoring group “Ecumenical Decade for Peace in Justice”.

After the fall of the Wall , it was disturbing that there were different slogans and materials for the Peace Decade. In order to give the Peace Decade a profile, the General Assembly of the Working Group of Christian Churches (ACK) and the members of the supporting group “Ecumenical Decade for Peace in Justice” decided in 1992 to set up a “Discussion Forum Ecumenical Peace Decade”, which would bring together initiatives and churches from East and West should merge.

The general meeting of the ACK decided on 28/29. October 1992 in Goslar: “A 'discussion forum' is set up with the task of defining a common, biblically oriented topic and a poster design. The ACK general meeting and the groups send employees to this discussion forum. "

On the part of the ACK, the following have worked in the discussion forum since 1993: Representatives of the Evangelical Methodist Church, the Center for Work and Celebration, Eberswalde (former specialist department of the KKJ), the Berlin office of the VELKD, the Roman Catholic Church, the ACK, Frankfurt / Main and Berlin, the working group of the Evangelical Youth and the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg.

On the part of the sponsoring group “Ecumenical Decade for Peace and Justice”, the representatives of the Action Group Service for Peace (AGDF), Bonn, the KDV and Peace Work Unit of the Church Province of Saxony, Magdeburg, from Services in Übersee, Stuttgart, von Pax are in the discussion forum Christi , Bad Vilbel and Pro Asyl , Frankfurt / Main. There has been a common motto for the Peace Decade since 1993, and common material since 1994. The discussion forum has coordinated its publications with those of the regional churches in the Protestant area. The Mittelstelle Werk und Feier, Eberswalde, which produced and shipped the materials up to 1995, was closed on December 31, 1995. Since 1996, the printing company, called "Knot Point eV", Buch / Hunsrück, which emerged from the conciliar process for justice, peace and the preservation of creation , has been producing and selling the materials.


The tradition of patronage for the Decade of Peace has existed since 2004. Patrons were:

In 2018, the cabaret artist Uwe Steimle was dismissed as patron after just a few days, as his statements “do not reveal any clear distancing from right-wing populist positions or the Pegida movement”. His "statements about Israel and the USA are one-sided, do not do justice to the complexity and blur the line between anti-American and anti-Semitic positions". The organizers admitted that they had not done enough research on Steimle. Only after a "wave of sometimes violent criticism, especially [...] from Saxon [...] partners as well as initiatives that work against right-wing extremism and right-wing populism ", did one become aware of the problem.


  • Uwe Koch (Ed.): 20 Years of Peace Decade . Frankfurt / Main and Bonn 2001

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Fabian Schröder: "Now there is peace in the rain" ( Memento of the original from March 1, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Saxon newspaper from February 28, 2018 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. ^ After protest: Uwe Steimle no longer patron of the Peace Decade , Free Press of February 28, 2018