An agenda of political issues

An agenda of political issues

Praeses Manfred Rekowksi © Hans-Juergen Vollrath (epd)

Sea rescue, child poverty and protection against abuse: With numerous resolutions, the synod of the Rhenish Church turns into the final curve. Lessons to be learned from costly mistakes with new software.

The Evangelical Church in the Rhineland is campaigning for state and civilian sea rescue and has called on all congregations and church districts to join the "United 4 Rescue – Gemeinsam Retten" alliance!" to join. "The Mediterranean is still the deadliest border in the world," was the message at the state synod in Bad Neuenahr on Wednesday evening. The church parliament of the 2.45 million Protestants between the Lower Rhine and the Saar ends its five-day consultations this Thursday and will deal with ecumenism and the main topic of diaconia, among other things.

The synod passed a church law on abuse prevention, and the demand for a basic child welfare system was renewed. The 3.4-million-euro mishaps and omissions during a conversion of the financial software are to be thoroughly reviewed and will be a topic again in a year's time. The apology from President Manfred Rekowski was acknowledged as "helpful," and Finance Director Bernd Baucks, visibly moved, also acknowledged errors for which he was very sorry.

Recruiting for "United 4 Rescue

Civilian sea rescue must not be criminalized any further, declared the synod of Germany's second-largest regional church, and called for broad support for the "United 4 Rescue" action alliance, including from companies, trade unions, sports clubs and other groups. The Protestant Church, local authorities, associations and initiatives are collecting donations for a civilian sea rescue ship for refugees in the Mediterranean Sea with the Alliance. A supporting association was founded in mid-November.

On the subject of poverty among children and young people, the welfare of every child must be of equal value. A basic child support system should replace the support of children via tax law or various social benefits, respectively.

Law against sexualized violence

The law against sexualized violence that was passed stipulates that employees must submit an extended police clearance certificate every five years in the future. This also applies to volunteers who are in intensive contact with minors. A ban on employment applies to people who have been legally convicted of abuse.

Suspected violations of sexual self-determination must be reported to a central contact point. The law comes into force on 1 January. January 2021 in force.

Consultation in several committees

The audit report on the self-inflicted millions in additional costs for the ongoing conversion of the financial software will be discussed in three committees in the coming months. The main goal is to clarify how such projects can be better managed in the future and at the same time be "synodically advised and answered for". President Rekowski also advocated concentrating "on looking ahead" in view of other important ies.

The conversion of the financial software for the entire Rhenish regional church, which is to be completed this year, will cost 11.2 million euros – the original estimate was 7.8 million euros. In an audit report presented on Tuesday, an inadequate cost estimate, errors in craftsmanship and an overly ambitious schedule were held responsible for the cost explosion that was made public in September.

The state synod is the supreme body of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, which with its 668 congregations and 37 church districts covers parts of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and Saarland.

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Christina Cherry
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