New website to mark 500 years since birth of John Calvin

The Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) has officially launched a website in preparation of the Calvin-Jubilee-Year 2009, celebrating 500 years since the birth of reformer John Calvin.

The interactive portal features information all around the 500th anniversary of the reformer John Calvin - and in four languages.

Calvin was born in 1509. In the year 2009, the Protestant churches worldwide will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Genevan Reformer with numerous events.

In April of this year, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches initiated a meeting to start joint planning procedures including the set-up of an internet portal.

Last Friday, the FSPC launched the official webpage to the Calvin-Jubilee, www.calvin09.org

The portal features information in four languages on John Calvin, including an interactive element around the 500-Year-Jubilee and an event calendar that compiles the events that will take place worldwide.

It is also possible to download free of charge different material to prepare for the jubilee as well as documentations as to the various events.

To celebrate the launching of the internet portal, calvin09 announces two competitions. The first involves finding an official anthem for the Calvin-Jubilee. Interested musicians are invited to send in their compositions.

The second is a competition to find the best and most suitable sermon for the occasion. The most exciting sermon - which must be rich in content and share a surprising perspective of the relevance of Calvin in our time - will win.

The website has been put under the patronage of the committee of patrons of calvin09, including 18 representatives from the world of science and church - chaired by the president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, Clifton Kirkpatrick.

Co-chairs are Charlotte Kuffer, vice-president of the Église protestante de Genève, as well as Thomas Wipf, president of the council of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches.

On the occasion of the opening of the website, Clifton Kirkpatrick called the reformed churches all over the world to participate in the calvin09-Internet portal.

"We want Calvin to come alive for the people of our time through this website," he said.

"Therefore, we are eager to receive information that can be shared through this website concerning the various events being planned all around the world to mark Calvin's 500th birthday.

"We hope and dream that calvin09.org will be as stimulating and relevant for the 21st century as the theology of John Calvin itself!"

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