Center for Peace Church Theology
The Center for Peace Church Theology has been an institution of the University of Hamburg within the Department of Protestant Theology since 2006.
Its main task is the systematic theological research, penetration and further development of a theology of peace churches – in the broadest sense. It examines this field within the context of ecumenical theology and ecumenical questions. In teaching, the contents of this research field are taught in the larger context of systematic theology. Examinations can be credited either in the disciplines of Systematic Theology or in Mission, Ecumenism, and Religious Studies, if this is indicated.
The "Historic Peace Churches" are first of all those Free Churches which call non-violence a characteristic of their ecclesial identity; "historic" because they are church traditions whose roots reach far back into history: Mennonites (PDF) (German only) (the oldest Evangelical Free Church, which emerged from the Anabaptist movement of the Reformation in the 16th Century), the Church of the Brethren (emerged from pietism in the 18th Century), as well as the Society of Friends (also called "Quakers", emerged from English Puritanism in the 17th Century).
Nonviolence in these traditions is not only an essential element of theological ethics, but also a "regulative principle" of all theological reflection. From that, genuine theological statements and connections to the main theological topics like the image of God, Christology or ecclesiology result. This does not remain without consequences for the interpretation of further theological loci. Theology and ethics find a close intertwining and the understanding of mission of the church – in the sense of the church´s responsibility in society – is shaping the Christian value orientation and life practice (following Jesus) of a visible church.
Internationally, the Center participates in various studies of the World Council of Churches (WCC), like the “Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace”, initiated by the WCC-Assembly in Busan 2013, as well as in ecumenical cooperation with theological faculties of various confessions around the globe.
In its interdisciplinary orientation it also seeks exchange with non-theological disciplines and other research centers, in particular the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg, the Catholic Institute for Theology and Peace in Hamburg, and the Mennonite Peace Centre Berlin. This cooperation resulted in the broad initiative "Friedensbildung/Peacebuilding der Universität Hamburg", which offers students a one-year curriculum in the field of peace education/peacebuilding.
The head of the Center is Prof. Dr. Fernando Enns, who holds an endowed professorship (50%) for theology of peace churches at the University of Hamburg, and is professor of Theology and Ethics at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Rev. Dr. Marie Anne Subklew is the scientific director and Julia Freund is working for the Center as a research associate and lecturer. Several student assistants support the activities of the Center. Doris Franzbach serves as the administrative assistant.
The foundation of the Center goes back to an initiative of Dr. h. c. Annelie Kümpers-Greve (1946– 2017). During the first five years, funding was provided by the "Hamburg Foundation for Science, Development and Culture Helmut and Hannelore Greve". Since 2011, the Foundation of the Association of Mennonite Congregations (AMG) in Germany has financed the Center. The Support Committee Coordinator is Dr. Sigrid Wiebe, Mennonite Church Hamburg.