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German pastor preaching about borders at State Opening of Parliament

"Things are never black or white in the border region," says German-born pastor Eva-Maria Schulz, drawing praise for her personal sermon at the Parliament opening service about borders and the relationship between Germany and Denmark

The Danish Parliament begins a new season every year on the first Tuesday in October. On this day it is a tradition to start the day with a service in Christiansborg Castle church. This tradition has been maintained ever since the parliament was opened on the first Tuesday of October in 1850. 

Usually bishops and famous pastors have preached at the service on the opening of the Danish parliament, but this year, the Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs Joy Mogensen (The Social Democrats) chose to ask pastor Eva-Maria Schulz to preach at the service. 

The member of parliament Jens Rohde (Radikale Venstre) had recommended Eva Maria Schulz to the Minister of Ecclesiatical Affairs, saying: “She is a pastor, who is not afraid to include herself in the sermon. She uses her everyday experiences in her considerations, which makes it very relevant.”

Eva Maria Schulz is pastor in Sortebrødre Church in Viborg and grew up in Southern Schleswig in the northern part of Germany. Throughout 2020 the anniversary of the reunification of Denmark in 1920 is being celebrated. After being under German occupation from 1864 to 1920 the southern part of Jutland was again under Danish sovereignty. 

Eva Maria Schulz referred to it in her sermon, speaking about borders in a general sense, drawing on examples from the Gospel and the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman (Gospel of John chapter 4). Eva Maria grew up in the border area of Germany and Denmark and she is still a German citizen. For her it was a historic moment to give this speech on the 100th anniversary of the reunification. 

Most parliamentarians were present at the service, and the sermon has been very well received. Former minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs Bertel Haarder says it is the best sermon at a Parliament service he has heard in 40 years, and the current minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs commends Schulz for using her own personal background as a way of focusing the attention on the centenary, which is "an immensely important event that means a lot to many people and is important in our society also today," Mogensen concludes.