hamburg for ekd kirchentag 2013

May was a crazy month! I am writing a few posts about some of the things that kept me from blogging all month long.
Deutsche Evangelische Kirchentag (DEK) 2013 – the Evangelische Kirche Deutschland (Protestant Church of Germany) holds an annual gathering in a different city in Germany each May. The Kirchentag this year was in Hamburg. As a part of my scholarship program, I get the opportunity (am required) to travel to events like this. I was excited to head north to Hamburg, and also interested to see what the gathering of over 100,000 members and partners of the EKD had to offer.

Of course, we got some time to walk around and see the sights. The architecture of the old warehouses on the canals was one of my favorite parts of the city.

a beautiful first day in Hamburg!
This place was a great tiny bar in the warehouse district.
lots of great old boats in the harbor
the fish market

Along with all of the sightseeing, the main attraction was the Kirchentag itself. The event is not organized by the clergy and employees of the church, but rather is a lay movement. All of the events are put on by different groups within and partners of the church. And there were a TON of events that reflected the wide array of interests and causes of the Protestant folks in Germany. We got a booklet 600 page guidebook at the beginning of the DEK that listed all of the offerings. And each day there were hundreds of options: Bible studies, worship, prayer, and song services, concerts and other entertainment, lectures and presentations – it was literally impossible to do it all!

And the events didn’t just cover “churchy” themes, like interreligious dialogue, liturgy and music, theology and spirituality, etc. but also went into a wide array of topics, like international politics, democracy, economics, culture, gender rights, racism, environment, peace, etc. I appreciate how I saw the people of the church engaging with society and culture and not just handling the typical thematics of the church. On top of all the events, the “Market of Possibilities” was constantly open – exhibition halls filled with hundreds of display booths set up by different organizations, where they handed out information about their work.

The theme of the entire DEK was “Soviel du brauchst” or “As much as you need” (Exodus 16:18 – the story of the manna in the desert). When it came to things to see and do at the DEK, there was truly an abundance!

concert in front of the Hamburg Rathaus (city hall)
my colleague Brandon Maxwell and me, sitting on the little cardboard stools in one of the exhibition halls
at an event inside the fish market
waiting to board the ferry
sunset on the last evening in Hamburg

1 thought on “hamburg for ekd kirchentag 2013

  1. No way! I helped plan one of the events for Kirchentag when I was with the churches in Hamburg:) wish I could have been there to see it come to fruition! we miss you here in the US, but I know you're squeezing every last minute of joy out of Europe. See you in a few short months!


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