|READ THIS FIRST|
Read this firstJust before you get into the detail, a few health warnings!
Registration.You can register and pay online. This facility is now open via My Kirchentag. There is a growing mass of information in English on the German Kirchentag website's English pages.
CostThe Kirchentag is remarkably cheap. There is an early registration discount until 8 April 2019. Costs for the entire Kirchentag are:
early discount price // full price
€98 // €108 for individual registrations
€54 // €62 discount for those 25 and under, people with disabilities, students, pensioners, those on benefit
€158 // €168 for a Family pass - (grand)parent(s) with children under 25 attending (children under 13 go free).
€35 standard day pass
€16 evening pass from 4pm
All this information is laid out on the German website here.
Do remember that you will also have to cover your costs of getting to and from Germany, plus meals other than breakfast.
The pass gets you into every one of the hundreds of events that take place, and free travel on the regional transport network.
PaymentIt is possible to pay on-line using your Visa or Mastercard debit or credit card but this facility may not be available until nearer the Kirchentag.
You will be able to make payment online here (www.kirchentag.de/epayment).
Payment has to be made before the Dauerkarte (Kirchentag pass) will be sent out. Packs are usually sent out several weeks ahead of the Kirchentag; if by then you have already paid, it will include the Dauerkarte. If your pack does not include the Dauerkarte when it arrives, the Dauerkarte will be sent by separate post once payment has been made and processed. Information about your private accommodation (hosts' name and address) will also be sent nearer the time.
AccommodationPrivate acommodation can be found with families in and near the city, on a cost-free Bed-&-Breakfast basis. This is the usual arrangement for participants from the UK and the rest of the world. The administration fee for arranging this is €21 per person (€42 for families in the same sort of accommodation); the hosts do not receive any money.
Accommodation will be available for you from Tuesday evening until Sunday midday, but it is nearly always possible to stay until the Monday morning if you arrange this with your hosts.
It is worth arriving on the Tuesday, because this gives you 24-hours to find out where things are before the Kirchentag opens on Wednesday afternoon. If you are staying with a family, try to get in touch as soon as you receive their details, and think about taking small gifts for them.
There are special arangements for booking Hotels and Youth Hostels.
The deadline for requesting accommodation is 1 March 2017. Top
TravelYou will need to book your journey to and from the city with your local travel agent. Since many people take the opportunity to make a holiday break out of the Kirchentag, it is impossible to offer a travel service.
Travel around the city and the region is included in your registration fee, and your entry pass is valid on all buses, trams and trains within the regional transport network.
MealsNormally you will enjoy breakfast with your hosts, so you will need to cater for yourselves at other times. There are numerous food outlets in the Messegelände (exhibition centre), and restaurants will be open all over the city for evening meals. You will need to have euros for all this; many restaurants will accept VISA, Mastercard and other plastic, but not all! Check before you sit down.
Take some water with you every day. The Kirchentag can be exhausting, and a small bottle could save your life!
ProgrammeA few weeks before the Kirchentag, you should receive your pack with the programme book, a small book with thousands of events that take place during the Kirchentag. It is arranged by theme and by day, but it's all in German! However, and fortunately, Sheila Brain and Elaine Griffiths produce for English-speaking people an excellent summary of the main events and a lot of other useful information. Both these should be with you long before you start packing.
It is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the Kirchentag. Some 150,000 people will be attending, and this means long queues at really popular events and early journeys to some of the more distant events. So it's important to plan your day carefully, to avoid exhaustion. There are discussion groups, debates, visits, bands of all sorts (not just brass ones), theatre, and enough to keep you busy for a month. Pace yourself, and wear what's comfortable.
With the programme comes a detailed map of the city, with all the venues clearly marked, and a song book for the worship.
The English Programme Guide will also appear on this website shortly after it is published, and probably on the German website as well (in English and German)
LanguageThe Kirchentag is unmistakeably a German event, with years of excellent German organisation behind it! The great majority of people who attend are German or German-speaking, but there are many events in English or with simultaneous translation.
You can arrange for your own personal interpreter! Go to the International Visitor Service (IViS) (where German people are not allowed unless invited!) and you will be able to arrange it. The IViS is part of the Kirchentag's International Centre, usually found in the International Congress Centre (ICC). The skills of the interpreter range from the professional to the competent student (luck of the draw), and depending on the event, you will get either a whispered commentary, the highlights, or even a written summary as it happens. I've had all three of these. Some folk have got on so well with their interpreter that the arrangement has carried not only for the whole Kirchentag but for subsequent Kirchentags as well (depending on availability, of course).
For an event with simultaneous translation, there will be headphones available at no cost, but you will have to leave some ID (passport, driving licence, Dauerkarte etc). You'll be directed to a seating area within the range of the transmitters. (Don't be alarmed by long pauses from the interpreter; he or she will be waiting for the verb at the end of a sentence!)
ProblemsOf course there won't be any problems! But just in case, you can always leave a message - the I.C. staff will all speak English (and probably several other languages as well!).
If there's a real emergency, your hosts will be able to direct you to the nearest hospital or whatever. At the Exhibition Centre, there are hundreds of scouts wearing a (usually green) sash with the word Hilfer (helper); again, they will almost certainly speak enough English to point you in the right direction.
Phone home!Just for the record, the international code for the U.K. is 44, often preceded by 00, and omit the first 0 in the English number. There may be a special telephone code to dial first, either in addition to or instead of the 00 in order to make an international call. For example: 00 1233 456789
Useful hints - send me yours!Adaptors: if you're going to take electrical items, take a European adaptor as well. Even a 2-pin UK shaver plug will not fit a continental socket.
Clothing: be comfortable, not smart! No-one dresses smart for the Kirchentag (except perhaps for dignitaries) and anyway, you'll not be noticed in a crowd!
Anything else?If there are questions not covered above, please feel free to get in touch with either Robin or Robert - our phone numbers are here.
Lastly,...Enjoy the Kirchentag! We hope it will be a stimulating experience for you. If you write something for your church newsletter, you may like to send a copy to Robert and Robin. Any feeback is always helpful, especially when it's about something that we might improve on.