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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Church of Reconciliation

Church of the Reconciliation, Jan. 28, 1985 (reproduction of photo by Gunter Peters)Today we met with Pastor Manfred Fischer at the Church of the Reconciliation in Berlin. The church was famously located in the "death zone" behind the wall. Pastor Fischer's told us the history as we stood on the spot where the church was dynamited in 1985 by the German Democratic Republic (GDR).
Pastor Manfred Fischer, Church of the ReconciliationAccording to Fischer's animated account, the GDR didn't like Western tourists coming and taking pictures of a church of reconciliation trapped in the death zone; but when they blew it up, the images of the steeple collapsing next to the wall "said more than all the other photos combined."

After 1990, the congregation had to decide how to proceed -- rebuild their old church, or pursue a new path. They chose a third way, building a small circular chapel using the rubble from the old structure to form new walls.
Prayer in the Church of the Reconciliation, Berlin

It was a stirring example of how lost hopes can be rekindled and how congregations can outlast persecution and witness to God's love and reconciliation in creative ways.

We gathered in that space for a short prayer service followed by singing "Dona Nobis Pacem."

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