HEKS in Haiti
Merger of HEKS/EPER and Bread for All

Joining forces

Background and facts

HEKS/EPER and its church sister organization «Bread for All» merged in November 2021 to form the Swiss Evangelical Reformed Church. The merger buttresses the position and competitiveness of the newly formed organization in an ever more competitive environment. At the same time, the effectiveness of projects and activities at home and abroad is enhanced. The linking of the two thematic areas of development policy and development cooperation in particular offers considerable potential for synergies.

A look back

On 21 September 2018 the Boards of Trustees of HEKS/EPER and «Bread for All» decided to re-examine the possible merger of both agencies. On 25 October 2018 the HEKS/EPER and «Bread for All» Boards of Trustees and Executive Boards published a joint press release informing the general public for the first time that such talks were under way as part of a preliminary project. There had already been several initiatives over the past 30 years to merge the two agencies, but time and again the talks and negotiations had been broken off at an early stage.

Subsequently, and in a preliminary project, the strategic, organizational, financial and cultural aspects were clarified and possible forms of amalgamation explored. Talks were also held with representatives of the Protestant Church in Switzerland (PCS), with «Alliance Sud», «Fastenaktion» (formerly «Fastenopfer»), «Mission 21» and «DM-échange et mission» so as to incorporate  their interests into the merger process.

The Boards of Trustees of the two agencies then agreed that the new name would be «Hilfswerk der Evangelisch-reformierten Kirche Schweiz» (Swiss Church Aid), and that the name «Brot für alle" (Bread for All) would be retained as a claim in the logo of the new organization. Zurich has been designated as the main seat of the merged entity, the former Business Offices of both organizations in Bern and Lausanne will be maintained, as will the four other HEKS/EPER Regional Offices, now renamed Business Offices. Ecumenical cooperation and specifically the Ecumenical Campaign with «Fastenaktion» will also continue.

On 2 November 2020, the Synod of the Protestant Church in Switzerland (PCS) also gave its unanimous approval of the merger. It finally became legally valid in November 2021 with the inscription of the newly-formed foundation in the commercial register.

The thematic priorities of the merged organization

In over 30 countries across four continents, HEKS/EPER initiates and supports development cooperation projects to combat poverty and injustice. HEKS/EPER also provides humanitarian assistance around the world for victims of natural disasters and armed conflicts and supports the diaconal work of churches in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. In Switzerland, HEKS/EPER champions the rights and causes of refugees and the socially disadvantaged. In Switzerland and abroad, HEKS/EPER strives for systemic change through its development and social policy work in the fields of climate justice, access to land and food, flight and migration as well as integration/inclusion.

Samuel Berner
Head of Media and Information Department
Samuel Berner

Phone: +41 44 360 88 25
Mobile: +41 76 461 88 70
E-mail: samuel.berner@heks.ch

Our new priorities