On July 22, 12 youth and 3 adults (Trish Coffey, Joe Adkins and myself) will be departing for our trip to visit with our German partners in Klein Schwechten. It has been two years since we have seen each other and we are all excited to be together again.
Our group is flying on Iceland Air which offers a stop-over in Iceland. We will be arriving on Friday the 23rd at 6:30 am and boarding a bus for the Golden Circle Tour, highlighting some of the best sites in beautiful Iceland. This is the same tour our ERUCC Scandinavian cruise group embarked on several years ago.
We spend the night at a youth hostel type hotel and then leave early the next morning to fly to Berlin. Our friends will greet us at the airport and the rest of the day will be spent with our host families.
Sunday morning, I will be leading worship with Pastor Alex and youth from both groups will be reading scripture and reflecting on their dreams for peace.
Monday we leave for Ravensbruck. Some of you have read recently published historical novels such as Lilac Girls and Lost Roses which depict the lives of women resisters and spies during WWII who were imprisoned at Ravensbruck. We will be staying at a youth hostel there that has been transformed into an international youth meeting place. Here’s some information from the website:
Our youth hostel has been a place of questioning, learning and understanding for many years. In the immediate vicinity of the former women’s concentration camp, in the houses of the guards of the former concentration camp, in order to create the opportunity for school trips conferences and international youth encounters right next to today’s memorial.
Located in the middle of several nature parks and countless chains of lakes, our Ravensbrück Youth Hostel is an ideal starting point for bike tours, canoe tours and hikes.
Sustainability seals of approval guarantee quality standards with the aim of conserving and saving resources, choosing environmentally friendly products where possible and offering educational offers with a social and environmentally-oriented focus.
As we gather with our German partners and learn more about this aspect of German history, we will be engaged in mutual conversations about climate change and the environment, the dynamics occurring in both our countries of white supremacy, anti-racism, and the dangers of rejecting freedoms such as freedom of the press.
So we will worship, learn, and engage in conversation but we will also have time to play. After a year of looking at screens for school, I believe both the German and the American youth are more than ready to run around, play games, and enjoy being in the nature.
On the way back to Klein Schwechen and our last evening with our host families, we will make a stop to visit the city Potsdam.
Thank you, ERUCC and friends, for your support of youth ministry. These opportunities nurture the faith of our youth and the adults who participate in this partnership as well as provide a foundation for understanding what it means to be global citizens
This Sunday we read from Ephesians 2:11–22. Christian communities throughout Asia Minor were finding their way. They consisted of people from different backgrounds, and the old animosities and traditions that existed between them were hard to shift. These words remind us that all are welcome. The early church is called to build something new and unprecedented around the cornerstone of Christ. The story in Mark 6:30-34 & 53-56, in which Jesus and his disciples pause for some respite and prayer in a quiet place. In a lovely invitation, Jesus calls the disciples to “come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile.”
Food for Thought:
“You can dream, create, design, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it requires people to make the dream a reality.” – Walt Disney
Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel, Senior Pastor
Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ
15 West Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701