The American Church AND Kirchentag 2017 Berlin-Wittenberg.
How do you host over 100,000 guests to your city in the space of three days? Welcome to Berlin this year from May 24- 27, 2017 as the capital of Germany plays host to the Protestant Church festival known as Kirchentag. Kirchentag is a festival that occurs every two years and is hosted by various cities throughout Germany. This year the main focus of Kirchentag will be in Berlin. Since it is also the year of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, however, the closing worship will be held in Wittenberg. The American Church in Berlin will be deeply involved in the events of this church festival. Kirchentag begins Wednesday, May 24 with three massive opening worship services @ 18:00 (Plaza in front of the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, and the Gendarmenmarkt square). From 19:00—22:30 the entire city center will be one open market with stands offering food and activities from a multitude of churches and church agencies. We will have a stand as well and offer mini-donuts, refreshements, and lessons on how to fold peace cranes.
On Thursday, May 25, our Praise Band will lead a worship service at the Auenkirche. That same day we will have an interactive booth at one of the largest street festivals ever, And our church will be a venue for musical events and worship from Thursday, May 25 to Saturday, May 27 from ca. 10:00—22:00 each day. We will need volunteers to help with hosting duties and selling refreshments as a way to recoup some of the costs for hosting. The theme of this Kirchentag comes from Genesis 16:13. In this portion of Scripture an angel of God comes to Hagar and tells her of the promised birth of her son, Ishmael. She responds that God is a God who sees us: 13 She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me” (NIV translation). The God who sees all creation (Genesis 1:31) and pronounces it “good” represents the kind of divine spiritual sight that each of us need. Being seen by God is at the foundation of humanity’s dignity. Our God sees us and invites us to see and recognize one another as God’s great diverse family. In the parish I served in Norway one of the members founded an organization by the name of “Sabona” that sought to give aid to poor rural communities in Zimbabwe. “Sabona” is the greeting that they give one another and it literally means “I see you,” “I acknowledge your existence.” To be seen, recognized, and called by name is at the heart of what it means to be human. This is also at the heart of God who sees into our hearts and knows us from the inside out. Being seen and acknowledged is also the beginning for reconciliation and peaceful co-existence in our world. Sign-up sheets are available on Sundays on the back table at the church. We need help with hosting duties, such as, facility coordinator, clean up, baking, donating, and selling refreshments, serving at our ACB stand during the Evening of Encounter (Abend der Begegnung), and praying for a safe and successful Kirchentag experience. We will continue to provide updates throughout April and May on how you might wish to be involved in this major church celebration. You might wish to go to the Kirchentag website to learn more: https://www.kirchentag.de/ There is also an English link to the international program: https://www.kirchentag.de/ english.html Working together this will be an exciting and joyful experience at ACB!