From the Worldwide Faith News archives

European Methodists plan festival in Germany

From "NewsDesk" <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Fri, 14 Feb 2003 16:03:36 -0600

Feb. 14, 2003	News media contact: Linda Bloom7(212) 870-38037New York

NOTE: An artist's rendering of John Wesley is available at

By United Methodist News Service

European Methodists are planning a "festival of faith" July 30-Aug. 3 in
Potsdam, Germany, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of John Wesley's birth.

The event honoring the founder of Methodism will be the first major
initiative of the European Methodist Council, according to Colin Ride, Europe
secretary for the British Methodist Church. Ride is the festival's
co-coordinator with Armin Besserer, the council's secretary. Council
membership includes British Methodist, Irish Methodist and United Methodist
churches, as well as those in independent denominations in Italy, Portugal,
Spain and elsewhere.

"With this festival, we want to praise God, to thank God for the blessing of
the Methodist movement over the last 300 years, and to ask God for renewal
and revival," the festival brochure stated.

Ride told United Methodist News Service the festival is "an attempt to
energize Methodists from all over Europe." Churches from different countries
are organizing and leading various parts of the program.

The goal, he added, is to inspire church members to pursue mission and break
some of the barriers caused by language differences or national boundaries.
About 800 church members of all ages are expected to attend. German and
English will be the festival's official languages, reflecting the bulk of
participants, but a third language may be added and translation equipment
will be available, he said.

Although participants from the United States and elsewhere are welcome, the
festival is "specifically designed for people from Europe to meet together,"
he added.

The program will reflect different cultural backgrounds and the different
ways in which people learn, he explained. For example, while all Bible
studies will reflect the same texts, they will be offered to participants in
four different ways, ranging from listening to a straightforward lecture to
expressing themselves through art.

Festival activities will take place on the Herrmannswerder Peninsula in
Potsdam, just outside of Berlin. The opening ceremony on the evening of July
30, organized by the German United Methodist Church, will focus on
introductions of people and groups from various countries.

Daily activities July 31-Aug. 2 will include Bible study, meetings of "Wesley
groups" of eight to 10 people, workshops, liturgical evening prayer, a cafi
and other late-night events.

The July 31 evening program, organized by the United Methodist Church of
Northern Europe, will be a music-filled celebration of Wesley's birth. That
will be followed Aug. 1 by an international evening with ecumenical guests
and people from politics and society, organized by United Methodists from
southern and central Europe. The Aug. 2 evening program will feature a
British Methodist-sponsored "love feast" from the time of Wesley, with
testimonies, songs and proclamations.

The festival ends with a Sunday morning worship service Aug. 3, planned by
United Methodists of Germany and Russia. More information is available online
at in English and in German.

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United Methodist News Service
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