“Joyful in thee – shared faith and prayer in Europe” (“Fröhlich in dir – Gemeinsam glauben und beten in Europa”) is the title of the prayer book that the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE) is publishing to herald the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Printed in four colours throughout, the book contains more than 40 contemporary prayers and meditations that have been “submitted by people from church and academic circles all over Europe with affiliations to the work of the CPCE that stretch back over years, or even decades in some cases,” explains the CPCE’s General Secretary, Bishop Dr. Michael Bünker. The prayers are each presented in the author’s original language, and where this is not one of the official CPCE languages (English, French or German) a translation is provided into one of the three. The result is a collection of works in Danish, Estonian, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian and Hungarian besides English, French and German.
In addition to the modern-day texts, there are nine “Old Words for Today” from the Reformation era, which have simply been sympathetically adapted. “We considered it important to also include this heritage, as it underlines the central and timeless meaning of prayer for Christian life,” explains Dr. Jochen Arnold, the CPCE’s Liturgy Officer. He goes on to explain how they consciously chose to structure the book free of liturgical or confessional criteria: “In terms of both scope and their tone, the texts lends themselves to a wide range of uses – privately, in worship, during Bible study or for multilingual prayer.”
Many of the appealing illustrations stem from the CPCE’s “European Cities of the Reformation” project to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. “The prayer book should also be something that people simply enjoy leafing through,” General Secretary Bünker suggests. “We take pleasure in the rich heritage of the Reformation, and the book’s title expresses our joy.”