The Opening Service will be at 17.00 - earlier because gets it gets dark earlier in May. It will be preceded at 15.00 by a Memorial to Jewish deportations from the former railway station area.
There will be four Opening Services (there is no central large location in Hamburg):
Abend der Begegnung - the "Evening of Encounter" after the Opening Services, when everyone will meander through the Rathausmarkt and Jungfernstieg down to the river.
Labour Day (May 1st) is a statutory holiday, and in the evening there's a tradition of "anything goes", which, we are told, can occasionally get rather more than exuberant. Some local folk are a little anxious that the Evening of Encounter is that very evening. Perhaps a bit of caution might be appropriate for visitors.
Hamburg is expecting 100,000 participants plus 40,000 day visitors or local people. There are 2000 events being prepared by 50 preparation groups with about 50,000 volunteers.
Event Locations: (the city centre is fairly small so it's easy to walk between locations)
Topics: There will be three topics areas as usual, with a range of secondary themes.
(On Thursday evening there will be an ecumenical service with Orthodox involvement - "Osternacht" (under topic 1)
Preliminary overview of the programmePanel = Single event; Forum = One-day event; Centre = generally lasting three days
Youth centre: Again there will be a "confirmation day", expecting up to 15,000 (40% of all German confirmands are in the Hamburg region - a strongly Protestant area).
Marketplace: There's a new proposal. Previously the Marketplace had stages in the Market for programme events, but it was noisy in the Market environment. Now groups can offer 40-45 minute "Workshops" to take place in the Congress Centre. This is an experiment to see how it works.
lnclusivity: Instead of "barrier-free", there is a move to "inclusion" in the spirit of the new European Convention on Inclusion ("Auf dem Weg zur Inklusion"). The Rauhes Haus would provide shelter for the disabled, for elderly people and for children as part of the Diakonisches Werk of the Nordkirche:
Barrierfreier Kirchentag: (NB post-Paralympics mood!) There will be an extra emphasis on "Leichter Sprache" ("simpler language"). It is hoped to broadcast the opening service in simple language as sign of inclusion.
Accommodation area. Private accommodation will include the outer area but all accommodation should be within a 30-minute journey. Accommodation will be available for extra days for international guests, on request (usually the Tuesday afternoon/evening until the Monday morning). This may be extended to cover communal accommodation (to be confirmed). NB There are plenty of hotel rooms in Hamburg.
15 February closing date for registrations requiring accommodation.
Material will be sent out on 8th March. Also keep an eye on web pages - updated constantly.
English Information and Programme English information is already on the German website. Further information in process of being checked. Registration is already available online here for up to 9 people. For groups this will start in December (via "mein Kirchentag"), in English.
The programme preparation group meets at end of January, by when the German programme may already be online. Translation ready by mid-late February - will also be put on the website.