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Impressions

Peter & Mary West

We very much value Kirchentag's attempt to hold together Biblical and current political issues. Nothing quite like it in the UK (though Greenbelt perhaps comes close). Not always wholly successful, but it's a difficult task- far too much UK religion keeps the two apart.

All the booking arrangements etc worked smoothly- no problems there. We found the time gap between the end of the Bible studies and the 11 to 1 sessions very tight, especially where there were distances to travel (and not much choice if you depend on translation). We ended up choosing the 11am sessions we wanted - which meant that one Bible study (without translation) was far beyond our language skills. But we look forward to getting notes from friends, who chose the Bible studies they wanted (which were "brilliant", they said) and so missed 11am sessions.

One session we found somewhat disturbing: the UN Sustainable Development Goals session included a woman from Togo who was keen to talk about local peace-building in West Africa (their own priority), but that was completely marginalised in the session (even though the moderator tried to include her). Either the SDGs don't mention local peace-building - in which case why was she put up as a token African? Or they do include it - in which case the whole session was a very Euro-centric take on them. Something perhaps the Kirchentag planning group needs to pay more attention to. At least the session "Who dances to whose tune?" did face the "development agenda-setting by the powerful North" squarely.

We deliberately missed the final Sunday morning service because of the heat - and found the city English Chaplaincy Church, which turned out for us to be a good addition to the event. Perhaps Kirchentag might think more about encouraging at least some of its participants to share "normal" Sunday morning worship with local congregations, even if there is a big concluding service for those who prefer it.


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