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11.05.05 08:48 Age: 7 yrs

In the Spirit of Kirchentag

Mission conference is compared
to German church gathering

"This conference reminds me of our Kirchentag in Germany," says Pastor Guenter Baum of the German association of Protestant churches and agencies in mission. "It does not concentrate on plenary sessions or the preparation of resolutions but builds a sense of community through Bible study in small groups and prayer in larger gatherings."

Kirchentag is a national Christian festival held every other year, begun as a lay movement in 1949 by Reinold von Thadden-Trieglaff. It has weathered the Cold War division between East and West Germany, and two years ago explored joint sponsorship by Protestant and Catholic churches. Kirchentag 2005 will convene in Hanover from May 25 to 29.

"I wonder how people will respond when we return from this conference?" Baum pondered. "They will want to hear what was decided here. What does it mean that people were sent as official representatives to pray and talk as Evangelicals, Orthodox, Catholics, Pentecostals?" The question raised by Guenter Baum is central to the challenge of preparing an official "message" for adoption by the conference in its final hours.