Partnership with Together for Berlin and Foundation Himmelsfels, Germany
The vision of Intercultural Ministries is to connect the Body of Christ across cultural lines to express and advance the Kingdom of God in the city, the region, and the world. Building relationships and creating learning environments are essential to achieving this vision. Among its networks with urban ministries globally, Emmanuel Gospel Center is connected with “Together for Berlin,” a ministry organization in Germany.
In 2008, Dr. Doug and Judy Hall, Dr. Bobby Bose, and Jasmin Sung, all on staff at EGC, traveled to Berlin to speak at Together for Berlin’s biannual conference, TRANSFORUM. The growing interest in nurturing that partnership to share experiences and start a mutual learning process was deepened at the conference.
In March 2010, Dr. Bianca Duemling came to Boston for two months to learn about EGC’s approaches to intercultural ministries. As a result of her experience, a partnership has developed between EGC, Together for Berlin, and a third organization, Foundation Himmelsfels. As their representative, Dr. Bianca Duemling is serving in Boston as the Assistant Director of Intercultural Ministries at EGC for a three-year term.
Emmanuel Gospel Center has integrated intercultural ministries as an essential part of its work. Over the last four decades, EGC has built relationships with leaders from a wide variety of immigrant churches in Greater Boston and helped nurture the vitality of these churches. In Germany, however, immigrant churches only emerged in the last 15 to 20 years. There is little experiences in cross-cultural ministry engagement in urban settings. The goal of this partnership is for Germany to gain from EGC’s experience and transfer or translate it into the German context, and that all parties would mutually benefit from each others’ experience around shared matters of concern in the area of intercultural ministries.
Together for Berlin (Gemeinsam für Berlin)
Together for Berlin was formed in 2002 to be a network of individuals and churches from many Christian denominations whose goal is to spread the Gospel of Jesus to Greater Berlin. The organization’s purpose statement is: “Through a growing unity among believers in committed prayer and coordinated action, the Gospel of Jesus Christ shall reach all areas of society and people of all cultures in Berlin, so that the evidence of the Kingdom of God will increase, thus causing a higher quality of life in the city.” Together for Berlin convenes gatherings for pastors and Christian leaders to get to know each other and fellowship together, builds networks and works toward reconciliation, encourages synergy and cooperation among churches and Christian organizations, and initiates and encourages ideas and projects.
Foundation Himmelsfels (Werner Pfetzing Stiftung Himmelsfels)
The Foundation Himmelsfels is an intercultural outdoor retreat and resource center for intercultural ministries located in Spangenberg, a small town in central Germany. In the past five years, the Foundation Himmelsfels was able to build relationships with leaders of a wide variety of immigrant churches in Germany through intercultural music and art projects as well as youth camps and church festivals.
The Foundation Himmelsfels provides training and coaching for members of immigrant churches as well as German churches seeking to partner with immigrant churches. The Foundation is a parachurch organization with close relationships to the mainline protestant church in Germany, and with urban churches, and organizations such as Together for Berlin.
The compound called Himmelsfels (“heaven’s rock”), is an international territory with cabins on wheels, artistically designed as embassies of different nations. German visitors need a special “passport” to enter the territory. The idea is to gain a “visa” from one of the embassies through learning about their culture and language. Additionally, the Foundation Himmelsfels is involved in the urban and social development of their host town of Spangenberg, collaborating with city officials and with the local protestant churches.