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Protestant Church in Switzerland

Church Family :
Based in : Switzerland
Present in :
Membership : 2,147,552
Pastors : 1,836
Congregations : 982
Member Of :
Associate Member Of :
WCC Member Since : 1948
Website :

(Evangelisch-reformierte Kirche Schweiz, EKS)
(Eglise évangelique réformée de Suisse, EERS)

The Protestant churches in Switzerland are products of the 16th century Reformation. They are cantonal churches, distinct and independent from one another, mainly Zwinglian in the German-speaking part of the country, and Calvinist in the francophone areas. Besides Jean Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli, other Reformers like Heinrich Bullinger, Theodore Beza and Pierre Viret also influenced Christianity in Switzerland. The Helvetic Confession of 1566, drawn up by Bullinger and adopted by most of the cantonal churches, has formed the main link in their spiritual unity. The Evangelical Diet, set up in the mid-16th century, brought together delegates from the Reformed cantons to act on common concerns and to assist fellow Protestants in other countries. In 1858, a conference of Swiss churches established relations between the cantonal churches and paved the way for the foundation of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Switzerland in 1920. This at first consisted only of national churches, but it soon admitted the Free Evangelical Churches, the Methodist Church and the Evangelische Gemeinschaft. The constitution of the Federation was revised in 1950. Currently membership is made up of 24 cantonal churches, the Evangelical Free Church of Geneva and the Evangelical Methodist Church of Switzerland.

The cantonal churches vary in legal status. Some are still state churches, some are quite independent, and others have a concordat relationship with the state. Diverse in their constitutions, liturgies and manuals of religious instruction, they nevertheless have many points in common. The congregational council constitutes the basic unit. In most cantonal churches the legislative body is the synod and the executive organ the synodical council. The Federation tries to integrate the cantonal and cultural differences. Activities such as education of adults, theological education, and communication through the mass media are pursued on a national basis.

The Federation works in connection with various organizations like: Hilfswerk der Evangelischen Kirchen Schweiz (HEKS), which started its work after the second world war, and works in close cooperation with the WCC and Action of Churches Together (ACT). "Action Bread for All" is a fundraising organization and serves as an agency of information and awareness building in the area of development and economic justice. Missionary societies were founded in the 19th century on a private basis. They are now coordinated through "Mission 21" in Basel, in the German-speaking part, and in the Département missionaire romand (DMR) in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.

Other departments of the Federation are responsible for theological research, problems of migration, diakonia, tourism, church law, finance and administration. Also internal church questions, like ministry, baptism, eucharist and theological education receive regular attention. On the international scene, the Federation is greatly concerned about human rights, religious liberty, peace and disarmament, social justice and development in the third world. The Federation maintains many relations with churches in East and West Europe as well as in South Africa and the Far East.

Starting from 2020, the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches has changed its name to the Protestant Church in Switzerland.

Member churches

Aargau Reformierte Landeskirche Aargau

Appenzell Evangelisch-reformierte Landeskirche beider Appenzell

Basel-Landschaft Evangelisch-reformierte Kirche des Kantons Basel-Landschaft

Basel-Stadt Evangelisch-reformierte Kirche Basel-Stadt

Bern-Jura-Solothurn Reformierte Kirchen Bern-Jura-Solothurn

Fribourg Evangelisch-reformierte Kirche des Kantons Freiburg

Geneva Église Protestante de Genève EPG

Geneva Église Évangélique Libre de Genève EELG

Glarus Evangelisch-Reformierte Landeskirche des Kantons Glarus

Grisons Evangelisch-Reformierte Landeskirche Graubünden

Lucerne Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche des Kantons Luzern

Neuchâtel Église réformée évangélique du canton de Neuchâtel EREN

Nidwalden Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche Nidwalden

Obwalden Verband der Evangelisch-reformierten Kirchgemeinden des Kantons Obwalden

St. Gallen Evangelisch-reformierte Kirche des Kantons St. Gallen

Schaffhausen Evangelisch-reformierte Kirche Kanton Schaffhausen

Schwyz Evangelisch-reformierte Kantonalkirche Schwyz

Solothurn Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche Kanton Solothurn

Ticino Chiesa evangelica riformata nel Ticino

Thurgau Evangelische Landeskirche des Kantons Thurgau

Uri (no Website) Evangelisch-Reformierte Landeskirche Uri

Vaud Église évangélique réformée du canton de Vaud

Valais Evangelisch Reformierte Kirche des Wallis

Zurich Evangelisch-reformierte Landeskirche des Kantons Zürich

Zug Evangelisch-reformierte Kirchgemeinde des Kantons Zug

Methodist Church Evangelisch-methodistische Kirche in der Schweiz