In France, there have been two church unions of Lutheran and Reformed churches over the past 15 years. In 2006 the Union of the Protestant Churches of Alsace and Lorraine was formed in Alsace-Lorraine, and in the other regions of the country the United Protestant Church of France formed in 2013. Both church unions are members of the Lutheran World Federation as well as the World Communion of Reformed Churches. Since the Lutheran churches were among the signatories of the Joint Declaration, both new unions have incorporated the Joint Declaration into their constitutions, but without discussion. This was not really perceived by the more Reformed churches, especially by their parishioners. Since the World Communion of Reformed Churches signed the Joint Declaration in 2017, it was decided to take “Twenty Years of Joint Declaration” as an opportunity to celebrate the participation of both church unions in this declaration.
This happened first from October 6 to 8 in Lyon, France. Lyon is the city of many meetings of the United Protestant Church of France, as this place can be reached in less than two hours from all regions in which there are larger Protestant communities. The Strasbourg Institute’s Prof. Dr. André Birmelé preached there at the festival service on 6 October. The current Catholic bishop was involved in this celebration. The following day there was a theological study day, attended by 50 pastors and priests. On October 8, a public lecture at the Catholic Theological Faculty concluded these days. In Strasbourg, after a public talk on 16 October, a service was held on 3 November in which André Birmelé gave the sermon.