1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Evangelical Church Conference

7069541911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 10 — Evangelical Church Conference

EVANGELICAL CHURCH CONFERENCE, a convention of delegates from the different Protestant churches of Germany. The conference originated in 1848, when the general desire for political unity made itself felt in the ecclesiastical sphere as well. A preliminary meeting was held at Sandhof near Frankfort in June of that year, and on the 21st of September some five hundred delegates representing the Lutheran, the Reformed, the United and the Moravian churches assembled at Wittenberg. The gathering was known as Kirchentag (church diet), and, while leaving each denomination free in respect of constitution, ritual, doctrine and attitude towards the state, agreed to act unitedly in bearing witness against the non-evangelical churches and in defending the rights and liberties of the churches in the federation. The organization thus closely resembles that of the Free Church Federation in England. The movement exercised considerable influence during the middle of the 19th century. Though no Kirchentag, as such, has been convened since 1871, its place has been taken by the Kongress für innere Mission, which holds annual meetings in different towns. There is also a biennial conference of the evangelical churches held at Eisenach to discuss matters of general interest. Its decisions have no legislative force.