| Historical Committee
Page: Church Bells Ring in Zurich
Remarkable and memorable are two words I have been using to describe
the Reformed-Anabaptist Reconciliation conference in Zurich
Switzerland, June 26. Though it takes more than an event to effect
reconciliation and to build relationships, this was a major step in the
conversation between Reformed and Mennonites.
The first of several highlights was the preaching of Larry Miller,
executive secretary of Mennonite World Conference delivered from the
lofty pulpit of the Grossmunster. (He would want it to be known that he
used that pulpit at the insistence of the Reformed church.) A second
highpoint was the ringing of the church bells of Zurich at the
dedication of the historical marker by the Limmat River. The plaque
notes the executions of Felix Manz, Hans Landis, and five unnamed
Anabaptists executed by the Zurich authorities, between 1527 and 1532.
A third moving event was the statement of confession offered by Ruedi
Reich, president of the Reformed Church of the Canton of Zurich. A
fourth profound moment was the storytelling of Lawrence Hart in the
Grossmunster, recounting his role in a Southern Cheyenne peacemaking
ceremony in Cheyenne, Oklahoma.
The statement of confession said in part: “We acknowledge this historic
sin and, from today’s point of view, consider it a betrayal of the
gospel. Before God . . . we point to this dark side eof the
Reformation, and we ask God and you, dear brothers and sisters of the
Mennonite faith, to forgive us.”
In response, Thomas Gyger, president of the Swiss Mennonite Conference,
said, “In the name of my Mennonite brothers and sisters coming from
different horizons, I would like to express my gratitude tot he
authorities of the city of Zurich, as well as to those of the Reformed
church of the canton of Zurich. For some of us, this plaque represents
a way of perpetrating the memory of our past and w, we hope, the
dialogue; others see in it the strong sign of an important event that
tomorrow will be over, but that we will refer to in order to testify of
Look forward to reading more about the Zurich conference, including the
full texts of the statements, in the upcoming October issue.
--John E. Sharp, editor
"God calls us to preserve our faith heritage, to interpret our stories,
and to proclaim God's work among us."