Church of Lippe

Ambit of the Church of Lippe
among the ambits of other Protestant regional churches in Germany
Basic data
Ambit area: 1,157.74 km2 (447.01 sq mi)
Spiritual leader: Landessuperintendent
Dietmar Arends
Memberships: RB (as of 1884), EKD (as of 1945),
UEK (as of 2004), WCRC (as of 2010),
Reformed Alliance as of 2010
Classes: 7
Parishes: 69
Number of parishioners: 170,000[1]
Share of parishioners in
the overall population
in the ambit:

The Church of Lippe (German: Lippische Landeskirche) is a Reformed member church of the Evangelical Church in Germany that covers what used to be the Principality of Lippe.

Seat of the church administration is Detmold. The preaching venue of the spiritual leader (Landessuperintendent) of the Church of Lippe is the Redeemer Church in Detmold. The Church of Lippe comprises 69 congregations and 177,000 members. The Church of Lippe is mostly Reformed with a Lutheran minority (c. 30,000), 80% of the members belong to one of the 59 Reformed parishes.

Creeds and memberships

Its official Creeds are the Athanasian Creed, Nicene Creed, Apostles Creed, Belhar Confession, Heidelberg Catechism. Barmen Declaration along with Luther's Small Catechism.[2] The denomination is a member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches,[3] of the Union of Evangelical Churches and of the Evangelical Church in Germany, also the Reformed Alliance.[4] The Lutheran classis, comprising the Lutheran parishes within the Lippe church, is member in the Lutheran World Federation.


Lutheran worship started in Lemgo in 1522 and by 1533 all the County of Lippe adopted Lutheranism. In 1538 the Lippe Diet adopted a Church Order (constitution), which was adapted in 1571. Simon VI, Count of Lippe adopted the Reformed Faith in 1605 and promoted its spreading within his county, using his monarchic privilege of cuius regio, eius religio. He prevailed with his faith mostly superseding the previously dominant Lutheran faith. A minority, mostly in the city of Lemgo, remained Lutheran and in 1617 the city was granted the right to determine its faith independently of the ruling counts. The Church of Lippe was the state church of the County and Principality of Lippe (elevated in 1789) until the end of the monarchy in 1918.

In 1854 the foundation of Roman Catholic parishes was allowed in Lippe and Reformed, Lutheran and Catholic Christians were granted equal rights. In 1877 the separation of church and state started by establishing church-wide bodies independent of the Lippe state government, such as the synod. In 1882 the delegates of the Lutheran parishes joined the synod, the Lutheran parishes form within the Church of Lippe their own classis since 1888. As spiritual leader the Lutheran classis is headed by a superintendent. The Reformed parishes are organised in six classes. After Leopold IV, Prince of Lippe had abdicated on 12 November 1918 his role as supreme governor (summepiscopacy; cf. Supreme Governor of the Church of England) of the Lippe church ended. The synod (church parliament) then gained full independence.

During Nazi period the church accepted into its ministry many pastors persecuted by the government.


Ordination of women and blessing of same-sex unions were allowed.[5][6]


The Lippe Church comprises 69 parishes within the territory of the former Free State of Lippe, the republic established after the end of Lippe's monarchy, in its then borders.


Spiritual leaders

Antonius Corvinus
Ferdinand Stosch
Johann Ludwig Ewald
Friedrich von Cölln
Georg Althaus
Adolf Koppen

The spiritual leaders of the Church of Lippe were titled general superintendent, in 1936 the title changed to state superintendent (Landessuperintendent). According to the church order of 1931 the Landessuperintendent is to be elected by the synod (i.e. general assembly). Before growing 66 the incumbent is supposed to retire. The Landessuperintendent represents the Church of Lippe to the outside and leads the church in times the synod does not hold its regular conventions. As to the Reformed members of the church the Landessuperintendent functions as the spiritual leader. As to the Lutherans in the Church of Lippe this function is fulfilled by the superintendent of the Lutheran classis. Since 1 May 2005 Andreas Lange is the Lutheran superintendent.

List of incumbents

The data concerning incumbents until 1881 follow August Dreves.[8]


  1. Lippische Landeskirche, retrieved on 27 March 2015.
  3. Archived August 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. in Lippe, Lippische Kirche erwägt Segnung von Homo-Paaren (German)
  6. Segnungsgottesdienste, Landessynode beschließt: Segnung für Menschen in eingetragener Lebenspartnerschaft in öffentlichem Gottesdienst möglich (German)
  7. Sebastian Müller-Rolli in collaboration with Reiner Anselm, Evangelische Schulpolitik in Deutschland 1918–1958: Dokumente und Darstellung, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1999, (=Eine Veröffentlichung des Comenius-Instituts Münster), p. 30. ISBN 3-525-61362-8.
  8. August Dreves, Geschichte der Kirchen, Pfarren, geistlichen Stiftungen und Geistlichen des Lippischen Landes, Lemgo: Wagener, 1881, especially the chapter 'Die Generalsuperintendenten' on pp. 30seqq., retrieved on 5 April 2013.

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