Zurich 2025 builds bridge to reconciliation

“We have walked a long way as Anabaptist-Mennonites; today we are learning to be bridge builders,” says Jürg Bräker, general secretary of Konferenz der Mennoniten der Schweiz/Conférence mennonite suisse. “The Courage to Love” is a public, international event on 29 May 2025 marking the 500th anniversary of the birth of Anabaptism.  

On Ascension Day in 2025, global Mennonites will join locals on the streets of downtown Zurich.  

  • Vocal ensembles from each of the five MWC regions will perform inside and out of church buildings.  
  • Workshops will consider lessons Anabaptism may teach the church today – and still have to learn.  
  • A walking tour will explore significant sites and invite reflection on how God’s Spirit transforms in history and today.  
  • A panel discussion between church and society leaders will explore the relevance of Anabaptism today. 
  • A game that combines strategy and movement will connect activity with the historical event.  
  • The day will close with a public worship service in the Grossmünster, with ecumenical representatives, MWC General Council members and local Swiss attendees alongside a range of participants from around the world. The service will also be livestreamed for virtual participation.  

Courage for early Anabaptists meant breaking from the established church. Young students of fiery reformer Ulrich Zwingli read their Bibles and called for greater freedom of conscience: adult baptism, separation of church and state. Their courage led many to suffering and martyrdom.  

Today, The Courage to Love compels Anabaptist-Mennonites to work at reconciliation. Mennonites are known for the peace-making work of organizations like Mennonite Central Committee. But the planning of this event is itself an act of reconciliation.  

For more than a year, MWC event planners have worked in close collaboration with representatives of the Evangelisch-reformierte Kirche of the canton of Zurich. 

“This event will both acknowledge the difficult break from the Reformed Church in the sixteenth century while affirming the many steps that are leading us to reconciliation with Reformed churches today,” says John D Roth. “We are moved by the graciousness of our hosts – both state and church officials – who will part of our closing worship service in the symbolic cathedral, the Grossmünster, where Ulrich Zwingli preached.” 

“We are looking forward to seeing people gather from many parts of the world to get inspired by the early beginnings of the Anabaptist movement as well as by today’s experiences from around the globe,” says Liesa Unger, MWC Chief International Events Officer.  

Zurich tour info

Updated 4 March 2024