German Churches call for protection of work-free Sundays

Mar 15, 2021 by

by Jonathan Luxmoore, Church Times:

CHURCHES in Germany have urged the protection of work-free Sundays in the face of digitisation, online shopping, and growing work-life imbalances, on the 1700th anniversary of the official designation of Sunday as a day of rest by the Emperor Constantine.

“The coronavirus pandemic has again made us aware of how much people need a time structure: Sunday visits to relatives in nursing homes could not take place, the daughter’s football team was not allowed to play, while church services were possible, if at all, only under strict conditions,” the joint appeal said.

It was co-signed by the chairman of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany, Dr Heinrich Bedford-Strohm; the Bishop of Limburg and president of the German RC Bishops’ Conference, the Rt Revd Georg Bätzing; and the Orthodox chairman of Germany’s Working Group of Christian Churches, Archpriest Radu Miron.

“We have had to say goodbye to what is familiar, valued, and sometimes necessary, while the important rhythm between work and leisure time is becoming increasingly blurred due to home and mobile working and asynchronous hours. Digital transformation will not only change how we work, it will also change the togetherness and common celebration of Sunday — and possibly us, too.”

The appeal, published in Bonn and Hanover, said that Constantine the Great, who ruled from 306 to 337, had established the “dies solis” as a protected holiday on 3 March 321, and Sunday was a legal guarantee enshrined for “rest and spiritual elevation” under Germany’s Basic Law.

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