Christian Love in Action in the Former East Germany

Freiberg UMCBeing in mission is a great privilege!! I grew up in Germany, and escaped communist East Germany in 1960. Since then it has been my privilege to partner with HPCUMC in four areas of Germany and to be able to return to do ministry with our German partners in Plauen, Frieberg, Augustusburg, and Chemnitz.

In June of 1989, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, I took thirty-two youth from HPCUMC to my home town church in Plauen. What an experience this was for our young people!! Then in 1995, the Cathedral Choir went to Plauen, and stayed with parishioners. We were welcomed with warm hearts, and many tears!!

In 1999 a group of sixteen volunteers from our church tore down an old house, built in 1849, in Freiberg, Germany, so that the small United Methodist congregation could build their own church. This was the first building they ever had because during the Communistic reign they were not allowed to worship. These small congregations are growing in an area where 89% of the population is atheist – a legacy of the East German regime (1945 to 1989). Several of the Freiberg UMC members told us: “You not only work hard for us so we can have our own church building, you give us hope and encouragement to carry on!!

In 2003 a group of twenty-five volunteers helped the Congregation in Augustusburg, with major improvements to their building, which had been in dire need of repair.

In the Fall of 2010 we also worked with a group of eight volunteers in Chemnitz, formerly Karl-Marx-Stadt, tearing down old concrete garages, so this congregation could build new space for youth and children’s work.

Being a part of the Germany mission team can be a life-changing experience. You will grow spiritually in new and exciting ways and make new friends on the team as well as in Germany. The experience is one of serving and sharing with others, working side-by-side and worshipping with Untied Methodists in another country.

-Gisela Gildemeister

 

Posted in Community Highlight.