(Special) Excursion to Stuttgart: Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag
I am going to share the last session of my excursion: Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag!
Actually, attending this event was not part of our excursion list, but since our professors discovered that we were satisfied with our previous ones, they were then arranging another schedule for us to participate in this event, and they managed everything concerning our accommodation during the days we would be in Stuttgart. Hence, I would see this excursion as a special one, because we were given chance to join one of big events in Germany, where people from all over the world can come and sit together, exchange thoughts, learn from one another, become witnesses of the magic musical theatre and cultures and so on.
This event was held from 3 to 7 June, 2015 under the theme: damit wir klug werden (Psalm 90:12). We went by bus as a group from Hermannsburg to Stuttgart, which took us around 6 to 7 hours. There, we stayed at a Christian school which is located in the hills close to Neckarpark, the main location for Kirchentag. Yet, still we needed to take at least two trams to reach the location. The good news was, tram was free for everyone who carried the Kirchentag ticket with them, which we ourselves also had it from our professors.
There were hundreds events organized during that 5 days, and therefore, each event could not be done at the same building. Some of the important events that a friend of mine and I discovered in the same day were Bible studies, interfaith dialogue, general lecture by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and also another general lecture from the former secretary-general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan. This was one of the most impressive things regarding our participation in the Kirchentag: while being given time to study in Germany, we were also given a chance to see and even to receive lecture from their own chancellor. Of course, seeing Angela Merkel and Kofi Annan in person was an excitement for us. It was a rare chance!
Angela Merkel was talking about “Wise and Digital: Shaping Our Economy and Society”, and to me, her interesting remark was: “ Facebook is important, but it is not your everything. You cannot live on Facebook.” Meanwhile, Kofi Annan’s session which took place later, was delivering his lecture under a theme: “The world is spinning out of control: who takes responsibility in crises and conflicts?” So, even though my friend and I had to miss the other important events, but we were happy for having attended these two general lectures by two great persons.
After the lecture by Kofi Annan, we decided to surround the whole location where we could also find some coffee and bread, souvenirs related to Kirchentag, bookshops, ice cream stall and so forth. And, you people might have noticed that in Germany, June means summer. Therefore, we were so excited when finding the ice cream stall, as it was indeed very hot and dry in Stuttgart during the events, and all we needed was: ICE CREAM! As I remember, the temperature was approximately 40 degrees celcius, the hottest weather I have ever experienced in Germany.
In the last day, before heading back home, we attended the closing (Sunday) service with a thousand of people. It was nice that we also had Holy Communion, whereas the service was taking place in the wide field (and it was really hot). Yet, we enjoyed it very much since we were given another precious opportunity to be part of the Holy Communion, united with the Christians from all over the world who we did not know at all, and we were holding hands. That means, in Christ, we are one, and that was part of the Kirchentag’s aim itself.