The 3rd Ecumenical Church Congress (ÖKT) is to take place in Frankfurt from May 12th to 16th, 2021. The format will be adapted to the changed framework conditions due to Corona.
Will the ÖKT be adhered to?
Yes. Especially in times of crisis, encounter, dialogue and community are important for social cohesion. The 3rd ÖKT offers a platform for those who are seriously struggling to preserve our basic democratic order, peaceful coexistence and our ecological basis for life. This opportunity should be used, because the motto "look" calls for Christian motivation to take responsibility. The inviting churches, the state of Hesse and the city of Frankfurt encouraged DEKT (Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag) and ZdK (Central Committee of German Catholics) as organizers in their project and stand by the ÖKT as partners - just like a broad alliance of civil society actors and church institutions and associations.
Will the program content change against the background of the corona pandemic?
The four planned main topics will remain, but the program of the 3rd ÖKT will be more compact. As a result of the corona pandemic, new questions and challenges are coming into focus. These will be of particular importance. The exchange should continue to be public, participatory and controversial: What holds our society together? How sustainable is our economic system? How can creation still be saved? How are churches and our way of living the Christian faith changing?
The unique mix of socio-political, spiritual and cultural program will be retained.
Doesn't a major event like the ÖKT pose unnecessary risks of infection?
The Ecumenical Kirchentag, together with the responsible authorities, will not organize any event that carries an increased risk of infection. We work closely with the responsible authorities to create a safe hygiene concept. We also seek advice from recognized scientific experts.
How does the ÖKT protect participants, contributors and helpers from infection? What does the hygiene concept look like?
The office is currently in contact with the city of Frankfurt am Main and the health department to discuss the specific details of the hygiene concept. Lord Mayor Peter Feldmann, Mayor Uwe Becker, Head of Health Stefan Majer and the Head of the Health Department Prof. René Gottschalk support the ÖKT and the current planning. We firmly believe that a safe hygiene and protection concept can be developed together.
Established hygiene measures such as mouth and nose protection, distance rules, disinfection and good ventilation are certain to play a role.
Approval of the hygiene concept is planned for spring 2021. Nevertheless, the changed framework conditions mean that individual planning steps have to be completed earlier in the schedule than, for example, in the security concepts of past Church and Catholic Days. We are currently well within this adjusted schedule.
When might the ÖKT be canceled?
The ÖKT should take place. As the organizer, we take responsibility for the health and safety of our participants. Should we not be able to protect these appropriately, in accordance with legal requirements and according to scientific standards, the ÖKT would be cancelled.
How many participants do you expect now?
Due to the hygiene requirements, especially the distance rule at the event locations and on the traffic routes, our programme cannot be made accessible to the planned and hoped for number of participants. Nevertheless we will be present in the fair and in the city area. For us, too, safety is paramount. So that you can get a better idea, it might help to know that, according to the current state of the hygiene concept, programmes can be offered for around 30,000 people.
But also those who cannot or do not want to travel to Frankfurt are cordially invited to join in the celebration of the 3rd ÖKT. We are increasingly relying on digital offers such as streaming, chat rooms and hybrid events that bring participants together online and in Frankfurt.
When can I register for the 3rd ÖKT?
If you do not want to miss the start of ticket sales, sign up for our e-mail service. We will notify you when it starts. Just go here: https://www.oekt.de/tickets
Where can participants be accommodated in Frankfurt and the surrounding area?
For example in schools. The relevant concepts are currently being coordinated with the authorities. Basically, they are optimistic that hygiene-compliant accommodation in communal quarters is possible.
This time we refrain from arranging private accommodation in order to better meet the currently constantly adjusted hygiene standards. The ÖKT cooperates on a larger scale with Frankfurt Tourism Marketing - and will thus be able to support participants in their search for hotel rooms.
We also know that in a metropolitan area like the Rhine-Main area there will be many participants who will spend the night at home. This is also shown by the experiences from the Ruhr area and the Dortmund Kirchentag 2019.
Have you already invited contributors? What is the response?
The feedback on our application and registration processes is consistently good. The stand registrations for our Agora are above our expectations and we are looking forward to more than 650 applications for our thematic programme. We are also seeing great interest in our cultural programme.
The registration for our helpers starts in October and we are pleased that many individuals and groups have already contacted us who would like to support us in the implementation of the event on a voluntary basis.
What are the plans regarding the involvement of wind instruments and singers? And can the participants sing together?
Music and singing are crucial for the atmosphere of Church and Catholic days. That is why it is important for those responsible to keep checking what can be made possible.
It is clear that the same regulations will apply to the 3rd ÖKT as everywhere in Hessen in May 2021.
Based on the current regulations, there are various options. At open-air events, singing and the use of wind groups would be possible if the appropriate distance rules were observed. In closed rooms, this only applies to vocal contributions.
Singing together and the use of large groups of wind instruments are unfortunately mostly not possible under the current planning status, which is why we are not pushing ahead with the corresponding programme items at the moment. Other major musical projects may also have to be adapted or may not take place.
We ask all wind players and singers who are interested in participating to stay in contact with us in order to be well informed about the current planning status. Information will be available at www.oekt.de/programm.
Will there still be 2,000 events at the ÖKT? Or is the ÖKT getting smaller?
The number of events will certainly have to be adjusted due to the hygiene measures, but it will still be in the four-digit range.
What can be said about the venues?
The ÖKT will be present in the trade fair, on open-air areas and in churches and event rooms throughout the city. Of course, landmarks and sights of the city of Frankfurt such as the Römer, Paulskirche, the cathedral, the Dominican monastery and the old opera are planned as well as areas that we will design especially for the ÖKT: the Weseler shipyard and the banks of the Main.
Where do the opening and closing services take place?
The organizers are sticking to their overall liturgical concept. The framework of the 3rd ÖKT is formed by the opening service on Wednesday and the ecumenical closing service on Sunday.
Two opening events are currently planned - on the Mainkai and on the Roßmarkt. The central church service for Ascension Day is also planned on the Mainkai on Thursday.
The planning for the final ecumenical service has not yet been completed, which is why we cannot make any statements here.
How can one imagine the Evening of Encounter?
The Evening of Encounter (AdB) makes the region and the host churches in Frankfurt's inner city area visible on the opening evening of the ÖKT. The aim is to enable mutual perception, encounters and exchanges - in keeping with our motto "look". The AdB will give the city and the people of Frankfurt a very special atmosphere and show that you can experience community despite the rules of distance.
We plan to design the stage areas with access controlled according to current conditions for contact tracking. The stands will be freely accessible. In addition, we distribute more than 20 small islands with offers from the Opera Square to the Schaumainkai. A separate concept is being developed for catering. The congregations are asked to participate in order to present their work and their churches. There is a regional stage programme on several stages.
How great is the need for helpers and what will change for them?
The 3rd Ecumenical Church Congress is only possible through the commitment of a large number of voluntary helpers. As always, they are very well prepared for their respective tasks. This also means that special attention will be paid to training courses for implementing the hygiene concept.
It is not yet possible to say exactly how many helpers will be needed to implement the concepts. However, areas of responsibility will very likely change. For us, however, there is no question that we will provide a safe framework for all helpers.