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Switzerland: 175 years of Evangelical Alliance

“175 Years for Unity” was the slogan of the jubilee ceremony. Swiss and international evangelical leaders participated “on a journey through time”.

FUENTES SEA AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus TAVANNES 20 DE MAYO DE 2022 12:15 h
The Swiss Evangelical Alliance (SEA-RES) celebrated its 175th anniversary. / [link]SEA[/link]

The Swiss Evangelical Alliance (SEA-RES) celebrated its 175th anniversary on May 7, attended by over 200 participants who “saw the rich heritage of the Alliance movement in Switzerland on a journey through time”.

Prayer, the Bible and mission” were the three key words that inspired the celebration at the Centre Evangélique in Tavannes, under the slogan “175 Years for Unity”, which included many highlights from the history of the Alliance.


A rich history of faith and social commitment

The event started with Swiss pastor Norbert Valley portraying one of the fist members of the Alliance, Henry Dunant, and taking the participants back to his life “to remind them how important it is that the proclamation of faith and social commitment go hand in hand”.

“Yes, the Bible should be at the center, but it becomes alive in the love of the neighbour and especially the weakest ones”, he said.

[photo_footer]  Pastor Norbert Valley took the audience on a journey back to the mid-19th century as Henry Dunant. / WEA [/photo_footer] 

Afterwards, Hanspeter Nüesch, former director of Campus for Christ, “took the audience with him to the largest Swiss football stadiums, where from 1980 onwards the Christ Days gathered thousands of Christians from all over Switzerland to pray for the country”, explain the SEA in a statement.

"By now, 17 nations have held such Christ Days based on the Swiss model, and after a break of twelve years, it would be time for such an event in this country again", pointed out Nüesch.

[photo_footer]  Participants were arranged to stand in the parking lot to form the SEA logo./ SEA [/photo_footer] 

Michael Mutzner, former deputy director of the German branch of the Alliance (SEA), spoke about how the Alliancecourageously raises its voice for justice time and again, and sometimes finds a hearing with the authorities”.

He gave the example of a report on human trafficking that was submitted to the federal authorities in 2013 and became a catalyst for the National Action Plan against human trafficking.


WEA: “We are always able to keep the unity of the body of Christ”

General Secretary of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), Thomas Schirrmacher, closed the ceremony. He emphasised the central importance of the national alliances, as it is there that unity is lived out in concrete terms.

[photo_footer]  Mr Marc Jost (right), General Secretary of the SEA, introduces WEA Secretary General Bp Dr Thomas Schirrmacher. / WEA [/photo_footer] 

“It is always fascinating for me anew that we are always able to keep the unity of the body of Christ, right up to the present day, despite constant new additions. But this will also require a lot of prayer, a lot of dialogue and a lot of listening to each other”, underlined Schirrmacher.


Beat Ungricht, new president of the SEA

The celebrations were preceded by the ordinary delegates' meeting in the morning, which focused on the elections to the the presidency and the board.

The delegates unanimously elected Beat Ungricht as the new president of the SEA, who succeeds Wilf Gasser after 14 years in office.

I give my yes for this office in the knowledge that I am dependent on help”, said Ungricht. The mandatory passing of the baton was done using a key with the Bible quotation from Matthew 16:19 inscribed on it, as a symbol of spiritual authority.

[photo_footer] Wilf Gasser, former president of he SEA,  during his farewell speech./ SEA [/photo_footer] 

“Wilf Gasser had always succeeded in activating the unifying potential, he had seen the opportunities and possibilities everywhere and had been prepared to go the extra mile and also to expose himself, according to the comments of some of his companions”, stressed the SEA about its former president.

“In the early days I noticed here and there a competitive thinking between the churches, which has been overcome today”, said Gasser in his farewell speech.

The delegates also approved a slightly positive 2021 financial statement. For the current year, budgeting was rather cautious, because of uncertain economic prospects of major donors.




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