Berlin (dpa) – In the Corona year 2020, significantly fewer people left the Protestant church than the year before.
According to preliminary figures, 10 to 20 percent fewer members of the Church have turned their backs, said the chairman of the council of the Evangelical Church in Germany, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, the German news agency.
“Perhaps it was that many people had such a feeling: in this pandemic, it is fortunate that we have the Church with all its institutions, however fallible it may be.” However, church tax revenues were significantly lower due to lower incomes during the Corona crisis.
“In our Bavarian Regional Church, for example, with a budget volume of EUR 960 million, we had a revenue decline of EUR 110 million in 2020, mainly caused by a loss of Church tax,” said the Bavarian Regional Bishop. That makes painful savings inevitable. “Now things have to be removed, including useful things. And that hurts. “
Overall, Bedford-Strohm views the church as fortified by the pandemic. Your offers would be increasingly used. “When it comes to counseling by phone, 70 percent more people only reported in chat counseling. Most of them are young people. That is a clear increase. “
Many people have found their way back to the church through television services and digital, sometimes also interactive, formats. The difference with the community at your doorstep is that you can choose from a huge range online. Everyone will find the right thing for themselves.
In this regard, it could even be that the church will come out of the corona crisis with more worshipers, Bedford-Strohm said. In any case, the church will present itself more diverse in the future. “We will not return to the pre-corona condition. At the same time, however, I am also convinced that people hunger for physical contact. Digital formats are only a limited substitute for the community experience. “
Bedford-Strohm proposed a commission of inquiry into the consequences of corona in the Bundestag. “We need a systematic record of what has happened in society over the past year,” he said. “We’ve had committees like this on a variety of issues – such as climate change or digitalization.”
From his point of view, this exact balancing of the subjects has proven itself from different perspectives. “I promise myself an answer to the question of such a study committee: what caused the pandemic in people’s consciousness – and what opportunities does it offer for a new reflection in the future?”
Bedford-Strohm appealed to the parties to put lessons from the corona pandemic at the center of the federal election campaign. “Politicians now have the opportunity to make some adjustments,” he said. “Climate change is definitely a question, but so is social and global justice. We cannot go on with the fact that every day 24,000 people worldwide, mostly children and women, die preventable deaths from malnutrition and malnutrition. He expects politicians to talk about these issues during the election campaign. “People have a very precise sense of whether it is only about personal and party interests or whether the big picture is really the focus.”