Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Kirchentag: Hamburg 2013

Few of us, I imagine, have been part of a congregation numbering some 120,000, at least 4,500 of whom made up the brass band! Such was the closing service at the 2013 Kirchentag, 'Soviel du Brauchst', ('As much as you need', see Exodus 16:18), held in Hamburg from 1st-5th May. Festival, Conference, Celebration and much more, Kirchentag is both a lay -led Movement and a gathering every two years.

A view of the Opening Service in the Hamburg Rathaus, Wednesday 1st May.

Radically re-modelled by Allied Bombing in August 1943, Hamburg, Germany's 2nd City, was nonetheless a marvellous venue for this gathering, which included a few from Wakefield and Bradford Dioceses. (Much comment at the opening Service on how the Nordkirche, the Evangelical/Lutheran/Reformed Christians across Germany's Northern Dioceses had reorganised and restructured in the face of a situation far more complex than that facing the West Yorkshire Dioceses!)

Hamburg's Bismarck Tower, 35m High, and just around the corner from the hospitable St Thomas Beckett, Anglican Chaplaincy in the Dioceses of Europe, and, in the other direction, the notorious Reeperbahn.
The richness and diversity of Germany's Churches was a joy to see and share in, and, for me, at any rate, a quietly humbling reminder that in our British Church life, we often have only a partial view of things. 
The Wittenberg Tourist Authority Display, complete with coloured statues of Martin Luther.