Relay of pilgrims at the world congress of the World Council of Churches

May 14 and 15 via Krefeld
A rally along the rivers

The relay of pilgrims to the World Congress of the World Council of Churches passes through the city of silk. For the Krefeld team, the relay is over with the handover to the Düsseldorf group on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

When the pilgrim relay to the World Congress of the World Council of Churches also passes through Krefeld on May 14 and 15, this is an important and central date for Christians in the city of silk, but especially for the churches concerned. . The background: This congress will take place in Karlsruhe from August 31, 2022. “It sounds far away at first. But when you consider that the Geneva-based Ecumenical Council of Churches only meets somewhere in the world every four years, then suddenly it’s very tight. For context: the last congress on European soil to date was held in Uppsala, Sweden – and that was in 1968,” says Barbara Schwahn, superintendent of the church district of Krefeld-Viersen.

As a result, the Land churches came up with something special: a sort of rally along the rivers to the conference venue in Karlsruhe. The presentation is somewhat reminiscent of the relay marathon, with which the Olympic flame is traditionally brought from Olympia in Greece to the respective place of the games – including a kind of “stick”. It is a container in which each Rhine station brings something. “It can be wishes for the conference, but also other things, maybe a song, a poem or something like that,” says Schwahn.

According to Wolfgang Wegner, who represents the New Apostolic Church on the board of directors of the Working Group of Christian Churches in Krefeld (ACK), Krefeld was actually included in the squadron by chance. “Actually, the transfer from Duisburg to Düsseldorf should take place. But Duisburg could only do it on Saturday, Düsseldorf only on Sunday. So we came as mediators, so to speak,” he says with a smile, before continuing more seriously: “But from my point of view, that’s absolutely true. Because Krefeld cultivates a very lively ecumenism. The ACK Krefeld is actually older than the federal organization. I am also a delegate in Mönchengladbach and I have a direct comparison and I must say: ecumenism in Krefeld is something special.

So, on Saturday at 11 a.m., the relay will be picked up at St. Matthias Church in Hohenbudberg. From there a walking group takes it two and a half kilometers to St. Peter in Uerdingen. “There will be an ecumenical prayer there on Sunday at 12:30 p.m., by the way, on the stele which is also part of the Way of Saint James. From there we cycle to the wheelhouse of SV Bayer Uerdingen, where Georg Nuno Mayer takes over and takes us by canoe to the jetty in Langst-Kierst. We will run the route parallel to the bike. A group from Ratingen joins us here, then we continue to the Church of the Resurrection in Oberkassel. Overall, the bike tour is around 20 kilometers long and goes at a moderate pace, between 12 and 15 kilometers per hour,” says Klaus Armonies. The district environmental and energy manager of the Evangelical Church of Krefeld-Viersen will lead the visit.

At the Langst-Kierst pier, where the Düsseldorf Kaiserswerth ferry arrives, another organizer will also come into play: Ariane Stedtfeld, Development Education Advisor for the Evangelical Church District, will be waiting for cyclists with a refreshment post . “We will serve juice, snacks and some other refreshments there. The strong point is that everything is fair trade. We cooperate with the Fairtrade-Town Krefeld initiative and buy the goods from the Eine-Welt-Shop, for example,” she says.

For the Krefeld team, the relay is over with the handover to the Düsseldorf group on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. At least as far as the organizational part is concerned. “The relay is one thing. But of course, the conference that is going to have an impact on all Christians in the world. I don’t know yet if I will be there myself. Also, we don’t yet know exactly what we’re going to put in the capsule. All this is not yet decided. What is crucial, however, is that a message of peace, justice and the integrity of creation emanates from the congress. The motto ‘The love of Christ moves, reconciles and unites the world’ was decided long before the war in Ukraine, but it has become terribly topical as a result,” says Schwahn.

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