Germany's Reconstruction: The Role of the Eastern German Evangelical Church before and after Reunification
Robert E. Beckley, H. Paul Chalfant, and D. Paul Johnson
This chapter describes the role of the Evangelical Protestant churches of Germany in the democracy movement in former East German society and the subsequent rebuilding of that society. As we demonstrate, the church played a significant role before reunification. Its future role is illusive, but its present role is considerably less influential than the one it played at the height of the freedom movement.
To understand the place of the Evangelical church, now a part of the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD), in this societal transformation, the theoretical perspective of contingency theory (from the formal organization field) provides an appropriate organizing framework. Although not a rigorous deductive theory, the contingency perspective is useful in this context for focusing attention on the importance of organizational environments, including the environment of church organizations ( Katz and Kahn, 1966; Thompson, 1967; Aldrich, 1979; Scherer, 1980; Johnson and Chalfant, 1993). This focus is especially crucial when the environment is turbulent or hostile to the organization. In a rapidly changing environment, whatever accommodations may have been made with hostile elements in the environment that allowed the organization to survive are likely to be called into question. As a result, an organization may easily find itself in a more precarious position than it occupied in relatively stable times. At the same time,