Peace Church News Newsletter of the English Speaking United Methodist Congregation in Munich: June/July 2009 How I Am Woven into the Colorful Tapestry of Peace Church It's Sunday morning, and most of Munich is asleep, but I am on my bicycle, pedalling through quiet streets on my way to church. There is hardly anyone at awake, and even Marienplatz is almost completely empty. The usual sounds of traffic and city life are only a faint hum. As I venture out into the quiet Sunday morning, I enjoy the unusual sense of calm that has descended on Munich... and then I arrive at Peace Church! "Why do you go to church?" This is a question a lot of people in my life seem to be asking me lately. They don't ask it as a challenge, but out of genuine curiosity. And for a while, I wasn’t sure how to formulate an answer. I had stayed away from church for many years, but something drew me back to the community here at Peace Church. What about you? What brings us to this place? What has made it a home for so many? I am starting to be able to put my finger on the reasons I am drawn to Peace Church, and each of these reasons has a face, a name, a history, a story to bring to the table. You are one of the reasons I come to Peace Church. Like Joseph's coat, there are many threads Suddenly I am in the midst of a spectacle of joyful woven together to make the colorful cloth that is our celebration. Can't you just imagine it? At least ten church family. There are threads bold and subtle, dark people shake my hand or offer me a welcoming, soul- and light, coarse and fine, strong and fragile, and of warming hug, and I feel immediately embraced by the every color imaginable; but each is woven between and energy of the service that is just beginning. There are around the others with intricacy and beauty, and - if we children laughing and playing, in the entryway. There look closely - we find that each contributes in an are the joyful noises of song, the musicians who bring entirely different way to the beauty of the whole. their gifts for us every Sunday, and the African choir My question for myself lately has been, which thread is whose contagious, infectious music always make my mine, and how does it contribute to the fabric of this own heart swell with joy. I see women in beautiful, place? How am I woven into the colorful tapestry of colorful printed dresses, and men dressed in attire that Peace Church? What story do the strands of my life tell, makes Joseph's coat of many colors seem drab in and how does the narrative find a place within the comparison. There are so many words abuzz in the larger composition of our church fabric? These room - the hum and chatter of sharing, laughing, questions I ponder as a way to think about how I can communicating, hearts opening to one another through give something of myself back to this beautiful family. the gift of human language (its many languages!). And I think part of the answer is suggested by this it's not just the voices in the pulpit that speak out; at metaphor: that I can bring myself, my story, my thread Peace Church, everyone brings something to share on to our fellowship on Sunday mornings. And while the Sunday morning. And near the end of the service world goes on sleeping outside, I can let my single another one of my senses is suddenly awakened, as the strand be woven into the mesmerizingly colorful smell of coffee and sweet breads drifts up from where pattern that God is designing and weaving here in our some dedicated souls are preparing after-church coffee community. for the fellowship time. This is one place that is never asleep on a Sunday morning! Wishing you all God's peace, Emily Neeson Newsletter of the English Speaking United Methodist Congregation in Munich News from Peace Church Life On Saturday afternoon after split activities of craftwork or hiking; there was a game of football, girls versus boys, which at least had the effect of getting more girls What’s Love Got to Do with It? to play out of sheer solidarity. It was great fun but by Phil Gill tiring. Fortunately the boys won 5 v 2, but it was close! The theme of our Kundl retreat weekend this year was: We never did start the second half – perhaps next year? “A Congregation is a School for Love”. Emily kicked it There was also a chance to see the cows being milked off on the Friday evening with a lively service where and at one point there were 10 of us in the cowshed we got to know more about each other. First we paired watching the farmer doing his rounds. Each cow has its off with a random partner and discussed commonalities own place with a small blackboard showing its history, and differences, before introducing our partner to the parentage and name. The children loved seeing all this rest of the group. Then we played a hilarious game of action and had to dodge quickly between cows and hay “Never ever have I …”. The answers were revealing as in order to stay away from a couple of inquisitive cows you found out what fascinating things people have done eager to prod their noses into anyone passing by too in their lives – we have someone in the congregation close! Later we were able to enjoy a barbeque on a who has met and spoken with the Dalai Lama, a few glorious May evening. The children just did not want to have swum across a lake, some have windsurfed, been go to bed and were quite happy stroking the bunny kayaking or climbed Ben Nevis or Mount Kenya. rabbits, playing in the tree house or singing along with the adults around the campfire. On Saturday morning, Katie and I were down to help out with the All Age Service. We kept it short and To create the Sunday morning service, we split into lively, asking first for answers to what love is and then groups to cover each section from start to finish. Becky what love is not, which we compared with 1 led the team of children who were responsible for Corinthians chapter 13. Love is: connecting with living setting up and leading the introduction. Of course, this creatures, laughing and smiling with someone, even a meant that they could choose the location and so, for stranger, listening, forgiving, light and colourful, the first time (?), the retreat Sunday service was held compassionate, open and understanding, helping when outside in the sunshine, surrounded by mountains. The you know someone needs help, caring when you children led us into a wonderful worship service, asking should, believing in the other person, all you need. us to switch off our mobile phones and doing a body- Love is not: superficial, oppressing or discriminating prayer along the lines of “Thank you God for eyes to against others, selfish or greedy, revengeful or mean, see, etc.” which was much fun outdoors. holding onto things or setting conditions. There were readings and hymns, a lively Bible drama and prayers, followed by the communion and blessing. It was a delightful service which had involved both young and old so intensely. After our last delicious meal from the farm, some of us stayed out in the sun too much and were ill for a few days afterwards, probably as a result of sun-stroke. In spite of this, it had been a thoroughly enjoyable, relaxing and thought- provoking weekend, with a chance for everyone to get to know each other better. Love is a wonderful colour! Christine led a Bible study on the main theme of the weekend, basing the work on a chapter of Robert Schnase’s book and introducing the topic via an article from the New York Times on friendship, together with an extract from a book by Chris Czyszczewski’s mother covering her impressions on starting a new life in the US. Later, we were given one of 6 varied Bible passages to study and report back on. It was fascinating listening to people’s interpretations of so many parts of the gospel in such a short space of time. 2 Newsletter of the English Speaking United Methodist Congregation in Munich What Does It Mean to You? stumbled, maybe even fizzling out, just kept on going by Phil Gill and growing. Marie told us about the Acosta family and we heard That was one of the many questions we pondered about about their special warmth in welcoming and making Peace Church on the 25th Anniversary Party. visitors feel at home. We listened to a message of Cheryl and Bob Rhodes were our VIP guests, Caro, support from the third pastor, Jim Dwyer. Caro set us a Hillary and Moses were our star moderators for the challenging 3 page quiz during the break, which was evening. They each took it in turns to look at a period won by Becky, Basti and Nico. from 1984 to 2009 – blocks of time when people were asked to recount a special memory, to say how they Most of us told our own stories of finding Peace came to join or to talk about what it means for them etc. Church and explaining what drew us to coming back. It But how do you sum up 25 years of Peace Church in an illustrated the difficulties many had had in finding a evening of just 3 or 4 hours? place where they felt at home, worshipping and expressing their Christianity. Some described the Well there was a beginning. Peace Church began with amazing support they had received during difficult Cheryl and Bob Rhodes from the US and a military experiences. posting for Bob in 1984. Cheryl’s dream was to start the first English speaking Methodist church when she Finding Peace Church was easy for some, hard for arrived in Germany 25 years ago. She was assisted in others. Some had just walked past the building and realising this dream by the Methodist chaplain in were inquisitive about it and so came along to the next Augsburg and a man called Ray Bill, who was the service. Others like John Bull were handed a leaflet at a coordinator for Laity services abroad and worked in train station and told about an English speaking service Bishop Sticher’s office in Frankfurt. The bishop somewhere near Sendlinger Tor - following this up and suggested that the natural place would be asking around eventually led him to Peace Church. Of Friedenskirche in Munich, since there had already been course the internet has made this whole process far an interest expressed in offering an English-speaking easier now, but it is amazing that we all found this service there. And so, a natural conjunction was special place then, when relying mainly on word of formed: the arrival of Cheryl and Bob, Cheryl’s dream mouth, maps and pot luck! and enthusiasm, the facilitating of the people she David found Peace Church by trying to find somewhere discussed this with and the forward-thinking of people which had a keyboard where he could practice and at Friedenskirche in wanting to offer a service in write songs. His songs entertained us during the English. Even Bob’s role deserves a special mention - evening and we sang hymns and other songs too. he provided any necessary financing, took Cheryl on Reiner told us a funny story about when a prospective the weekly commute from Augsburg to Munich on pastor delivered a 2 minute sermon and then stopped Sundays and by all accounts, organised some terrific point blank. We also heard from previous members, barbecues. The very first service consisted of a their goodwill messages and their journeys in faith. congregation of 13 with six from one family alone! And what does Peace Church mean for me? It means Wilhelmina told us that the congregation built up in the that we stayed in Germany instead of going back to the 1990s, but there was just a small number of dedicated UK after 2 years as “planned”. Peace Church offered us faithful ones. It really showed tremendous commitment a foundation of support and friendship, which we did to keep it going. Albrecht told us about an experience not find in the wider community here and gave us a as the then translator of services, including baptisms, chance to ask the question – dare we stay? It provided without knowing the text beforehand and having to the opportunity to fulfill a dream, living in a wonderful translate in real-time as it were. The story emphasised city at the heart of Europe. again that the origins of Peace Church were dependent What does Peace Church mean to you? upon the American post-war military presence in Bavaria and their associated needs. Many will say the friendly welcome, a place where they felt accepted, encouraged, even protected and Bob Rhodes’ posting to Germany was as a military fought for, surrounded by a supportive community. I lawyer. Fortunately for us, Cheryl and Bob had the believe Peace Church offers more than just a friendly courage and drive to explore beyond the army base: it community though: it is faith-based, rooted in the would have been so easy for them to have lived a Gospels and follows Jesus’ teachings in a modern, comfortable, American lifestyle without setting foot off relevant way. And that makes all the difference: the base. That is why we should be so thankful about whether the calling is to stay or to return home inspired the commitment they showed at the difficult beginning, and invigorated, it is about opening hearts and because something which could have stuttered and transforming lives. 3 Newsletter of the English Speaking United Methodist Congregation in Munich A Great Birthday Party One day God said to Abraham: I want you to go to a new land! on Pentecost Sunday Abraham said to God: Yes we will go to. Let’s just by Caroline Voss pack up and go. What did I expect from the 25th Peace Church birthday Then Abraham and Sarah talked to their friends: party when we sat around the table in the Prayer Room Come with us…We’ll have a new life in a new land! to organize the festivities? So Abraham and Sarah and their friends packed up I knew that a grand birthday party like that would all their things, involve singing favourite hymns, eating delicious food waved goodbye and set off to follow God’s big and thinking back while chatting to strangers and plan… friends. But the celebration service exceeded every expectation: The moment I entered the church I smelled …They travelled north, then west, and then down the food from the basement and just by looking into south. smiling faces I could see that a happy spirit was lying They saw a well and filled their water tanks. in the air. The Africans were dressed in bright- colored Then they put up their tents and went to bed. suits and dresses, most of them matching. It was great They travelled on and on. to see old faces and newcomers united in a service that Finally in Cana they found a cosy spot and settled was concerned with looking back and rejoicing in the down. present. The first members of Peace Church such as the Valenzuela family, Paul Pilgrim, Cheryl Rhodes and … They packed their tent, took their camels and went her husband Bob joined in Peace Church favourites as away. “Here I am Lord” together with visitors that must have On their way they lost a goat. It took them a while to been quite amazed in the opening of the service with find it again. They found it behind a bush. But of the African Choir marching, singing and leading course they had lost time… That night they didn’t have Christine and founding pastor Cheryl Rhodes into enough time to search for an ideal place to stay for the church. That was only the beginning of a long happy night. It was a cold and uncomfortable night for them. service with elements like a Bible drama on Naomi & So when they woke up in the morning, they hurried to Ruth, a circle dance to the song “This is the day that the get away from the place. They found a cave for shelter. Lord has made”, many praising songs by the African But suddenly there was a big bear at the entrance of the Choir, a sermon by Cheryl Rhodes about sojourners cave and attacked them. whose journeys lead them to Peace Church, a song of Abraham plucked up all his courage and killed the bear. faith sung by David, a big communion crowd sharing That night they had bear for dinner. bread and wine, a birthday cake from Friedenskirche and many joys and concerns to share. After more than … An hour later they were right in the desert and saw a two hours the last “Amen” was spoken and the spirit of group of people. They went to meet them, and stayed Pentecost had entered hearts and minds of a colourful with them. But in the night robbers came and tried to congregation on their way into the basement where a steal all they had. Abraham could stop them. After that lovely meal, cooked by many African helpers, was to shock they sat down and had a meal: bread and fruit complete this joyful day. I can’t say what made the day and some water to drink… for me: It was probably a mixture of memories, emotional songs, watching the African Choir celebrate ……but the journey was really long. their church and a feeling of belonging to something There were whirlwinds and thunder storms. really special mixed with the atmosphere of Pentecost They lost part of their belongings. that made me love this day. And while I ate a piece of Sometimes they hadn’t got enough to eat. birthday cake, glanced at the exhibition about 25 years …Suddenly Sarah got sick, and Abraham and his of worshipping and looked into the faces of the friends had to get medicine for her. It took tw0 weeks colourful crowd, I was looking forward to the next until she got better again. birthday party with more stories to tell. Then they travelled on. And they all were very happy that Sarah could enjoy the good food again which they cooked every night. After they had eaten they usually went to sleep. Creative Writing in Sunday School And night they only slept four hours, and then travelled on again. A few weeks ago Pastor Christine encouraged the Near a cave they mad a fire and had breakfast. children in Sunday School to write their own stories Sarah was the only one to travel on a camel. All others about Sarah and Abraham. Enjoy the results written by had to walk. Julian, Eve, Lily, Sophie, Sabrina, Irene, and Lisa: 4 Newsletter of the English Speaking United Methodist Congregation in Munich … They got attacked by robbers. And all their money May, Kingsley Efosa was the 100th child to be baptized. was stolen. His mother is a Nigerian asylum seeker and his sister But they had no time to try and catch the thief. was baptized the same day. Kingsley’s godparents are But the thief followed them secretly. That was going to Naomi Yebuah from Ghana and Pastor Reiner be dangerous. Kanzleiter from Germany. What a wonderful mix! A young boy took a sharp stone, threw it into the bushes and by accident hit the thief. He was immediately dead. After a few moments they travelled on. S ilvia König from Friedenskirche is preaching at Peace Church on a regular basis? She is often in our services and supports our church family a lot. Thank you, Silvia! Did You Know That ... K ids’ Club spent a Saturday exploring our senses? We ate blue pasta (!), made an awful lot of noise, T he Peace Church family celebrated a most beautiful Easter worship service? It seems ages ago, but the beauty of it is still in our memories – especially the sang many of our songs, walked in the park across the street with bare feet, and were led through the woods blindfold. We listened to all sorts of sounds, we beauty of the cross being turned from an instrument of coloured whipped cream, baked purple rolls and played death to a sign of life and hope as we added as many the story of the blind beggar healed by Jesus, with little bunches of flowers to it as we possibly could. Kwame playing the part of the beggar. The next Kids’ Thank you to Emily Neeson, Emily Zumpe, Caroline Club event is scheduled to be a picnic in Westpark on Voss and Dawn Carn who all helped Christine to plan 4th July. and lead worship. T abby, a former church member from India, has T he children’s retreat in the week after Easter was one of the happiest events ever? Children, teenagers and adults spent a week of unbroken good been baptized at Peace Church? Tabby chose to return from England, where she is now living with her husband Prakash, and she asked Pastor Christine both weather on the gorgeous farm in Kundl. Each day to baptize her and to bless her one-year-old son Vivek followed the theme of a film. There were workshops on Sunday 10th May. Linda and Peter Clist were also with crafts, drama, creative writing, games and much there as Tabby’s godparents. Linda preached a more. Every evening the group watched a movie: beautiful sermon for us, which you can find on the Momo, The Jungle Book, and “Das fliegende website. Klassenzimmer”: lots of inspiration for activities then and for the future. P astor Christine has been teaching Sunday School once a month? The Sunday School team needs more teachers and helpers and the pastor has been doing what she can for them, as well as trying to encourage more people to volunteer. P eace Church has a wonderfully good relationship with the “Mutter Kind Haus” in Thalkirchen? This is a home for single moms with one or two children. It is a real sanctuary and the starting point for a new life for quite a few of our church members. P astor Christine has been on the radio again? She was invited to broadcast some asylum seekers’ stories on three Sundays mornings in May. W e are losing count of the number of Peace Church baby welcomings?! We offer a welcoming to all new parents and especially to those who have no other family in Munich or in this country. O ver one hundred children have been baptized at Peace Church over the last 25 years? On Sunday 7 5 Newsletter of the English Speaking United Methodist Congregation in Munich C aroline Voss and Emily Zumpe are now certified lay preachers of the United Methodist Church? They were given their “Licence to Preach” by the P eace Church is now offering German classes again? Nathalie Pfisterer from France, who has recently started coming to church, is an unemployed interpreter Committee for Preaching and Ordained Ministry of the in French, English and German. When Pastor Christine South German Conference at its meeting on Saturday asked if she would be prepared to teach German, she 16th May. Peace Church will be celebrating this needed some time to think about it! But she came back landmark in a special worship service. with a marvelous offer and is now teaching three to five people in church every Tuesday afternoon from 4.00 to T here was an interesting program about the living conditions of asylum seekers on German television 5.00 pm. the other day? Further public discussions led to a huge (and fortunately very critical) article in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. This does not immediately T he International Women’s Club of Munich now holds its monthly meetings at Peace Church? They usually use the fellowship hall downstairs on a change the humiliating situation in which asylum Wednesday morning and especially enjoy the seekers have to live – especially in Bavaria - but it opportunity of using our nursery rooms for their does give some hope for the future. children’s program. P astor Reinhard Wick from Friedenskirche is leaving Munich? He has a new assignment to a church in the south west of Germany and will move to a place T he Bible Sharing which we do in the home group is becoming more and more popular? We meet on the first Thursday of the month in different homes and called Backnang. share and meditate on a biblical text, usually chosen by Christine. If you are interested in the simple method we W e are having guests from New York on Sunday, 21st June? Ullas Tankler, one of Christine’s are using for the Bible Sharing, do check our website. bosses at the General Board of Global Ministries in NY, will be joining us for worship. P eace Church Souvenirs can be bought in church on Sundays? For the 25th anniversary we had cups and pens with the Peace Church logo produced. They can T he 25th Anniversary Exhibition was inspired by our Easter services? If you look at the texts at the top and bottom, you will find quotes from an Easter sermon be purchased on Sundays or ordered from Peace Church office. Cups cost 10€. Pens cost 1€. Pastor Christine had a book printed with 40 sermons all and two hymns : “Were you there?” and “He lives!”. preached at Peace Church. The book costs 15€ of The shape of the exhibition forms a cross where past which 7€ go towards the work of Peace Church with and present meet in the middle. asylum seekers. If you’d like to buy a book contact In the last two months we have had 7 baptisms at Peace Natalie Pfisterer on Sundays or order it from the church Church? We baptized Nyarko Abena Frimpong, Great office. Eloghosa Owie, Prajna Paramita Prakash Pal Lad (Tabby), Tehila Olubumi Fapson, Success and Kingsley Efosa, and Praise Toluwanimi Akinnusi. May God bless them all and hold them in his mercy and love. T he Church website, (www.peacechurch.de) is very popular? In the past two years almost 8,000 people have visited it. Thank you to Pastor Reiner of Friedenskirche who helps Peace Church with the site. P astors Christine and Reiner will have to reduce their workload for the coming weeks and months? Their son Nicolas has had a terrible accident which will involve weeks and months of treatment at a hospital about an hour’s drive from Munich. Christine and Reiner are needed at Nico’s bedside in the intensive care unit every single day. They send a heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to their church families for accepting this and supporting them. Please hold the entire Erb-Kanzleiter family - and especially Nicolas - in your prayers. 6 Newsletter of the English Speaking United Methodist Congregation in Munich We would like to introduce… What does the Christian faith mean to you? To live in relationship with Christ. The Christian faith to me is goal and foundation of life, purpose-giving, life-giving, important impulse for my life. Favourite stories of the Bible? I love Elijah and the ravens, Jesus calming the storms, and the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Wishes for the common mission of Peace Church and Friedenskirche? …that human and financial means will not end, that we can always spread the Gospel, the really Good News in order to be hands, feet, head, and heart of Christ in the world. A Story for the Children Name/family Food for all Franziska Kuhn-Haederli with husband Dieter, and One day Jesus went across Lake Galilee and children Benaja & Anna-Mengia. up into the hills with his friends. A huge Where do you come from/where do you live here? crowd followed him there, so he taught them We come from Switzerland and are now living in about God’s kingdom. Jesus looked at all the München-Pasing. people. There were more than 5,000 men, How long have you been in Germany? women and children. They were hungry and 1 year and 2 months. they had not eaten because they had been Why did you come to Germany? listening to him. We came to Munich because my husband is doing a training here. ‘Do you know where we could buy some bread?’ Jesus asked his friend Philip. ‘It Are you here for ever or temporarily? Temporarily. would cost a fortune to buy enough bread for all these people,’ answered Philip. Then What is your profession/job? Andrew, another disciple, noticed a boy in At the moment I am a student. the crowd who was clutching five small barley Hobbies? rolls and two fish. He brought the boy to I love “revitalising old things”, jogging, filing through Jesus. ‘This lad has some food,’ he said, ‘but flea markets, reading, telling stories to my children. it won’t go very far!’ Which are your favourite meals? Apple pie, basil tomato mozzarella salad or rucola ‘Ask the people to sit down,’ said Jesus. The salad, all kinds of pasta, raclette, jamto with peanut people sat on the grass. Jesus picked up one butter sauce. of the rolls. ‘Thank you, God, for this food,’ How did you find Peace Church? he said. the he began to break it into pieces, On the internet. Luckily! ☺ and passed it around the people. He did the same with the fish. Everyone ate until they What do you like best at Peace Church? were full up. there was plenty of food. ‘Pick It is so warm, open, creative, musical and multicultural! I love the visible, audible, sensible presence up what’s left,’ said Jesus to his friends. of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit, the sunlight on They collected twelve baskets full of leftover Sunday mornings, the church coffee and the pieces. African songs. 7 Peace Church Calendar June Thursday 4 June Home Group & Bible Sharing Friday 5 June Teens International Sunday 7 June Communion Worship Sunday 14 June All-age Worship 17-20 June South Germany Annual Conference Sunday 21 June Sunday Worship & baptism & visit Ullas Tankler Sunday 28 June Sunday Worship July Thursday 2 July Home Group & Bible Sharing Friday 3 July Teens International Saturday 4 July Kids’ Club Sunday 5 July Communion Worship & prison service in Landsberg Saturday 11 July Asylum Seekers’ summer fair Sunday 12 July All-age Worship & PC Picnic Tuesday 14 July Peace Church Night Out Friday 17 July Teens International Sunday 19 July Sunday Worship Sunday 26 July Sunday Worship August Sunday 2 August All-age Communion with Friedenskirche Sunday 9 August Sunday Worship Sunday 16 August Sunday Worship Sunday 23 August Sunday Worship Sunday 30 August Joint Worship with Friedenskirche September 1 to 5 September Moms’ & Kids’ Retreat in Kundl Sunday 6 September Communion Worship Sunday 13 September Sunday Worship Friday 18 September Teens International Saturday 19 September Kids’ Club Sunday 20 September Sunday School Sunday Sunday 27 September Sunday Worship Impressum Your suggestions, comments and contributions are welcome. Deadline for autumn issue is Sun 26 July. Please include a photo if possible. (Reports may be edited.) If you would like to receive future issues by e-mail, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, simply typing "PCN by mail" and we will add your address to the list. Contact Details Christine Erb-Kanzleiter e-mail: Christine@peacechurch.de Home: 089-26026698 Office: 089-26023677 Homepage: www.peacechurch.de Peace Church United Methodist, Frauenlobstraße 5, 80337 München. Germany: Account 90 88 394 at Kreissparkasse München Starnberg (BLZ 70250150) For US readers You can support the work of Peace Church through a mission “Advance Special” account. 3020450 designated for Peace Church, Munich, Germany, to support the congregation’s local program.