‘Faith and Politics: The Bradford Declaration 90 Years On’ takes place at Bradford Cathedral on Saturday 28th October 2023 at 3:30pm

Bradford Cathedral will be hosting an event exploring the complex relationship between faith, politics and ideology on Saturday 28th October 2023 at 3:30pm.

The event is timed to mark 90 years since German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer visited Bradford and made, what would later be known as, the Bradford Declaration.

In it he spoke out against the Nazification of the Church and, in so doing, publicly opposed the Nazi government, an act that would ultimately lead to his execution in April 1945.

This event is part of the Diocese of Leeds welcome of German partners from our link city of Erfurt. The Erfurt-Leeds/Bradford partnership was set up under the Meissen Commission to strengthen relationships between the English and German churches and has been active since 1997.

The afternoon will begin with a special Choral Evensong, where Three Prayers by Dietrich Bonhoeffer will be sung to a setting by Yorkshire composer Philip Moore. After the service there will be lectures by the Revd Dr Noel Irwin, Dr Matthias Rein and the Rt Rev. Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds.

Refreshments will be served ahead of the event, from 3pm.

The Revd Dr Noel Irwin is a Methodist Minister who teaches community development and organising, political and public theology. His interests include liberation and process theology and the relationships between religion, politics and violence.

Dr Matthias Rein was born in 1964. Following national military service as a construction soldier he studied Protestantism Theology at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, diploma from 1985-90, followed by research leading to his doctorate in 1994. From 1993-5 he undertook his Vicariate (training for Ordination as a priest) at Luther Parish Halle and was ordained in 1995. Dr Rein is married to Dr Susanne Ehrhardt-Rein. They have three adult sons.

The Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, has a long standing interest in politics and Germany. He studied French and German at the University of Bradford and worked briefly in Germany as a translator. He was later the English Co-chair of the Meissen Commission (which develops relationships between the Church of England and the Protestant Church in Germany) for 11 years. He also preaches regularly in churches and at conferences in Germany – in German.

The Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, says:
“I am looking forward to welcoming our partners from Erfurt for a series of events and services. As the life and death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer exemplifies, politics and religion are inextricably linked. Bonhoeffer’s challenges to the church, though from a different era, still speak loudly today.”

The Revd Ned Lunn, Canon for Intercultural Mission and the Arts, says:
“Bradford’s connections with Germany are deep and historic. The city welcomed German merchants here in the 19th century and the Cathedral’s parish still covers the area of the city named ‘Little Germany’ where those merchants built their businesses and contributed to the prosperity of this district. The coinciding of our link city of Erfurt’s visit with the anniversary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s visit here is a great opportunity to reflect on what we can all learn about the role of faith in politics in the past, present and future.

Bradford Cathedral aspires to be a place where challenging issues facing the world can be discussed and debated openly and safely. This event fulfils that brief in the context of worship that is known for its beauty and diversity: grounded in the English choral tradition whilst also reflecting our city’s many cultures and ethnicities within our community life. We look forward to welcoming our guest speakers and anyone who would like to join us for this thought provoking event.”

The Bradford Cathedral education department has also produced some general resources for schools all about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which can be downloaded from the Cathedral website at bradfordcathedral.org.uk/bonhoeffer-resources.

For more information – and to book your free place – please visit
faith-politics.eventbrite.co.uk or you can contact the Cathedral via phone or e-mail.

You can also read a news story – Remembering the Bonhoeffer visit: How a family has kept the memory of Bradford Lutheran Pastor alive – at https://bradfordcathedral.org.uk/2023/10/10/remembering-the-bonhoeffer-visit-how-a-family-has-kept-the-memory-of-bradford-lutheran-pastor-alive/

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