A glance behind and ahead
2025 reminds those congregations and churches that stem from the Anabaptist movement of the sixteenth century—or those others that profess a common bond—about the first Anabaptist baptism upon confession of faith that took place at the end of January 1525 in Zurich. Within the common name, “Anabaptist,” was hidden in the 16th Century a great diversity. Alongside the Wittenberg and Swiss Reformation, the Anabaptists constituted the third Reformation stream. Various groups such as the Mennonites, the Hutterites, the Swiss Brethren, the Melchiorites—and many other separate, mostly smaller groups—belonged to the Anabaptist movement.
Anabaptists lived, among other places, in the Netherlands and in Northwest Germany, in the Confederation (Switzerland), but also in the Palatinate, Bavaria, Hesse, Thüringen, Württemberg, as well as in Austria and Moravia. Also, Baptists and Quakers, who emerged in connection with the English Reformation at the beginning of the 17th Century, are ranked within the wide spectrum of Anabaptist churches. A colorful and compelling culture of remembrance traces its origins back to this diversity.
The Anabaptist Movement of 500 years is a history of highs and lows, of emergence, decline and renewal, of debates, discussions and controversies, of courageous faith and feeble faith. This diversity grants the courage to reflect upon one’s own faith, bringing it into ecumenical discussion self-confidently and with dialogical skill, and having the curiosity to learn to know the faith of others.
“Daring!” therefore focuses not only upon the past, but also asks about the meaning of the Anabaptist traditions for today and tomorrow.
“Daring! The Anabaptist Movement, 1525-2025” invites us on a five-year common path, to reflect on history, memory, tradition and heritage, in order to shape the today and tomorrow, and to establish ecumenical impulses. Annual brochures will be produced, intended to stimulate reflection within discussion groups, koinonia groups, congregations, ecumenical groups and educational institutions, concerning the theme-year at hand. Exhibits, materials for schools and educational institutions, along with conferences, will illustrate and bring depth to the wrestling with the past 500-year trail of Anabaptist history.
The theme-years will come to life through the involvement of churches, congregations, conferences, initiatives, study groups and educational establishments. The goal is, via the Internet, to report contemporary activities, resulting in a worldwide interconnectedness.
The annual themes:
2020: daring! living responsibly
Baptism – Voluntariness – Religious Freedom
2021: daring! living together
Equality – Responsibility – Autonomy
2022: daring! living consistently
Orientation on Jesus – Nonconformity – Confession of Faith – Martyrdom
2023: daring! living non-violently
Church of Peace – Resistance – Reconciliation
2024: daring! living in hope
The Kingdom of God – Utopia – Renewal
2025: Anniversary celebration
In the year 2025 commemorative events will take place, coordinated and sponsored by various institutions and networks of the Anabaptist churches, such as the Mennonite World Conference and the Baptist World Alliance.
The office coordinating all activities concerning the annual themes is the society, “500 Jahre Täuferbewegung 2025,” located in Frankfurt, Germany.
Verein „500 Jahre Täuferbewegung 2025 e.V.“
PD Dr. Astrid von Schlachta (Chairperson)
Dr. Andreas Liese (Vice-Chairperson)
Urs Bruhn (Treasurer)
Bernd Densky (Executive Director)