Action of the World Council of Churches more than four decades ago raised the profile of environmental issues, and in the process helping to galvanise the ecological movement in communist East Germany, says Ekklesia associate Dr Stephen Brown. This became the soil for the independent ecology groups in the 1980s as one of the forms of dissent that culminated in East Germany’s 1989 peaceful revolution.
The churches contributed to the peaceful revolution in central and eastern Europe as well as to the ending of the apartheid regime in southern Africa, says Konrad Raider. Now the ecumenical movement has accepted the challenge to overcome violence as its special vocation.
Germany's political and church leaders have marked the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall on 9 November with an ecumenical service at the Protestant church in eastern Berlin which played a key role in the events.
The political and social shock waves caused by weeks of pro-democracy protests in East Germany followed by the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989, were felt around the world, says Stephen Brown. They still resonate today, and have important theological implications.
A regional Protestant church in former East Germany has launched a special Internet blog to mark the 20th anniversary of rigged elections in May 1989 that led to protests which helped end 40 years of communist rule.
An East German Protestant who played a big role in the movement that led to the end of communism and the Berlin Wall in 1989, has warned against the church becoming seduced by the "friendly embrace" of capitalism.