Rev. WTP Simarmata, MA
To the Great Synod of EKvW
18 November 2014
Dear honourable Präses Annette Kurchuss and all leaders of the Evangelische Kirche von Westphalen (EKvW), Dear respected delegates and guests to this Great Synod of the Church of Westphalia. On behalf of 4 million members of HKBP and her ministers I greet you with the peace and love of God, and with the well-known word of greeting from Batak land, Horas!
It was an honour for me to be invited to this Great Synod. Unfortunately I could not make it right after my return from the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan-South Korea. I am pleased that Dr. Fridz Sihombing is now among you representing me to convey my heartfelt gratitude and greetings to this Synod.
A friend indeed, is a friend in need. EKvW for HKBP is more then partner in a traditional sense, but a real friend, who is always present in joyful and in difficult times. When HKBP and Churches in Indonesia faced threats and attacks from radical groups, EKvW showed us in a very special way the fact that we are one family, a world wide family formed by the God of life.
We received a remarkable pastoral message from Präses Annette Kurchuss, which assured us of the real support of sisters and brothers all over the world, particularly here in Germany, and more specifically the Church of Westphalia. That really made our struggles and worries lighter to overcome.
The sense of sisterhood and brotherhood between HKBP and EKvW has been growing in the past years. We shared together joys and sadness, ministry and challenges which come along with it, resources and spiritual richness, successes and failures, as well as hope for a more just peaceful life. One of the historical events in HKBP is the visit of the EKvW delegates to HKBP in June this year, that has left a landmark of our rich and trustworthy relationship. We have discussed matters that are decisive for our very existence and ministry, from issues of justice and peace to interreligious dialog, from the challenges of climate changes to family life. Those encounters are really enriching and strengthening us all.
And at the peak of this visit Präses Annette Kurchuss conferred me a beautiful cross necklace in our Sunday service in front of thousands of parishioners and ministers in the beautiful town of Parapat. The cross necklace, which will be worn by person who sits in the amt of Ephorus of HKBP, is a real sign of sisterhood and brotherhood between our Churches and a reminding that HKBP and EKvW walk hand in hand, journey together in our faith pilgrimage. EKvW is also accompanying HKBP in its reform process which is going on, with the hope that HKBP will be empowered to realize it call. This relationship is for us like a down from high that gives light and hope.
Brothers and Sisters! I would like to share an overview of the current development in HKBP. Since the Great Synod in September 2012, HKBP is working hard for the transformation in itself guided by three service pillars, namely renewal – Peace – Empowerment. The three pillars are accepted as an implementation of HKBP Strategic Planning 2012-2016 and the Master Plan of Ministry Development of HKBP (2012-2061).
The three pillars are understood comprehensively. We are working on the transformation in our Church for a more relevant present and ministry of our church in future by first renewal in itself. One part of this renewal is the process of amendment of the current constitution of HKBP. In this reform process of our constitution EKvW kindly accompanies us with her experience, wisdom and willingness to work together with HKBP. For that, we thank EKvW as well.
In this transformation, HKBP also consciously sees that the whole process is done with peace, peace in a holistic meaning. Peace in itself, peace with other Churches and other religions, as well as peace with God’s creation. With current natural disasters in Philippines and in Sumatra, we are called to really deeply take the question of peace with earth, peace with God’s creation seriously.
In the recent eruptions of Sinabung Mountain in Sumatra and Taifun “Hayan” in the Philippines, HKBP have been committed to extend solidarity and helps, because we are all one in this suffering. And, in order to realize this, one of our big agenda it to work on various ways to empower all ministers and the members of our Church. With the program of empowerment, we hope that HKBP will be true to its commitment and call to be blessing to as many people and God’s creation as possible.
Now, as you gather together in this great synod to discuss matters that are very important in the church, society and in our world, it is our prayer and hope, that the strength, courage, and wisdom from our God will guide you all the way. You take a very important issues of our time “Families Today,” with the hope that EKvW will shed light and illuminate Church and society in understanding the meaning of family in accordance to God’s creative love, that all people and God’s creation may experience the beauty of life in God’s family.
In our Batak traditional culture “Adat,” enlightened by the Good News since the presence of Christianity, the understanding of Family is very unique. In this family, each and every one, without exception has room, space, and role to play. In this family every one is supposed to feel being accepted, respected and treated with dignity. Especially in God’s intended family, each and every one is son and daughter of God, who is eligible to enjoy love, peace, justice and fullness of life. It is my hope and I do believe that this synod is guided by the Spirit of God that lead us to fullness of life. God bless you, HORAS!
Rev. Dr. Fridz Sihombing
Head of Ecumenical Bureau of HKBP