„A LARGE CHAIR DOES NOT CREATE A KING“

Church and mission advocating democracy and human rights

For many years, church life and the engagement of Bremen Mission in Togo were embossed with political problems.

On January 13th, 1963, the history of Togo gained a deplorable famousness. The democracy of an independent African state, which was still young, was swept aside by the murder of the state president Sylvanus Olympio. In 1967, Sergeant Etienne Gnassingbé Eyadema carried out a coup-d'état a second time and remained in power - supported by a single-party-system, a strong army and the ubiquitous secret service – even during the difficult way to democracy from 1998 up to his death in 2005, altogether for more than 38 years. Led by his son, Faure Gnassingbé, the population is dominated by a difficult mood fluctuating between deep scepticism, cautious hope and permanent resignation. The Evangelical church in Togo alternated for a long time between adaptation, suppressed by strong political forces, and resistance i.e. standing up openly for human rights and democracy. 

A statement in form of a confession issued by them during the independent national congress in 1990 witnessed that they took a firm stand for human rights and for democracy.

Together with international church, mission and development organisations, Bremen Mission has established a network to support and to strengthen the local churches on their way to democracy. Many joint activities were developed: ecumenical visit trips before the elections, discussions with representatives of the political parties, government bodies and diplomats, joint pastorals, widely observed solemn church services, conferences, international and local election observation. This active participation in political events has had a perceptible impact on the credibility of the churches and the mission in Togo.