Protestant Church of Anhalt
- Protestant Church of Anhalt
Between Flaeming Forest and the Harz Mountains, transversed by the rivers Elbe, Mulde and Saale, you will find the region of the Protestant Church of Anhalt (Evangelische Landeskirche Anhalts).
The geographical area in which the Protestant Church of Anhalt is situated is almost identical with the former principality, later duchy and finally the free state of Anhalt, which was formally created in 1918. The Protestant Church of Anhalt contains today congregations in 154 villages and towns. The entire region belongs to the German federal state (Land) Saxony-Anhalt (Sachsen-Anhalt). The state capital is Magdeburg. History
Because of its propinquity to Wittenberg, the famous Reformers Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon often visited the region of Anhalt. In 1541 all ordained pastors of Anhalt were required to use Luther’s translation of the Bible. From 1578 on, the candidates for ordination from Anhalt were no longer ordained in Wittenberg, but in Zerbst/Anhalt. From this time on, one can speak of an independent Evangelical Church of Anhalt. Both Lutheran and Reformed faiths coexisted in Anhalt, they were united (Church Union) in 1821.
Enlightenment left a permanent impression on the region under Prince Leopold Friedrich Franz (1740-1817) who not only founded the first regional teaching college in Germany at Woerlitz, but also organized the Garden Realm Dessau-Woerlitz. In 1920 the first constitution of the Church of Anhalt named no confessional document as primary basis.
In 1960 Anhalt became a member of the Evangelical Church of the Union (Evangelische Kirche der Union, today: Union of Evangelical Churches). The Protestant Church of Anhalt is a member of the Protestant Church of Germany (EKD). Several congregations of the Anhalt Church have partner churches in the United Reformed Church in the United Kingdom. The Pennsylvania Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ in the United States of America is a partner church of Anhalt, and so are the Protestant churches of the Palatinate and Lippe in Germany and the Czechoslovak Hussit Church. Anhalt cooperates with the Protestant Church in Mitteldeutschland.
The Protestant Church of Anhalt is composed of roughly 46.000 congregational members in 150 churches. The churches are joined in 5 associations (Dessau, Koethen, Zerbst, Bernburg and Ballenstedt). The congregations are served by 54 pastors and 39 commissioned lay ministers (in the areas of church music, christian education, catechetical training, etc.). The presiding officer is the Church President (Kirchenpräsident), who must be an ordained clergy person and a local minister.