Berlin’s churches are planning outdoor corona services
The Protestant and Catholic Church is defying the pandemic for Christmas with many special formats.
The parishes in Berlin are preparing for a special Corona Christmas party. Traditionally, the services on the Christmas holidays are well attended – but given the current Corona situation, the churches should forego major events. In its new, more stringent Infection Protection Ordinance, the Senate has not banned religious services, but it does rely on the churches’ willingness to cooperate in order not to allow overcrowded churches.
“Of course, in times of the pandemic, protecting one’s neighbor always has priority,” says the Bishop of the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia, Christian Stäblein. “The parishes organize their services in this responsibility, adapted to the local circumstances and current ordinances.” The togetherness and for each other make Christmas what it is, especially in this special year.
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There should be more and shorter services
The Protestant parishes therefore focus on outdoor worship and smaller and shorter events with fewer guests at Christmas in order to comply with the rules of distance. Numerous congregations also offer digital services during Advent, which are broadcast on the Internet.
The Berlin Cathedral is also planning a special program. Usually around 10,000 visitors come to the services at the cathedral on Christmas Eve. Now, according to the church, there is a Vespers in the early afternoon in which Bishop Christian Stäblein preaches and which is broadcast by the broadcaster “bibel.tv” There is another Vespers late on Christmas Eve.
Rally planned in front of the cathedral
The community is currently registering a two-hour demonstration “For peace and justice in the world” with the authorities in front of the cathedral and in the adjoining pleasure garden in the early evening – with speeches, choral music and singing under a large, shining star. “How many people could take part, will depend on the then applicable regulations,” said the spokeswoman for the Evangelical Church, Amet Bick.
The Archdiocese of Berlin is also adapting its services to the pandemic situation. Archbishop Heiner Koch said that numerous “small church services” were also planned in chapels that could be reached over a short distance. If the celebrations were held outdoors, they should be short because of the winter temperatures. “Under no circumstances will churches be closed,” announced the archbishop. Koch stressed that the church stands by the measures taken against the pandemic. She wanted to “not use selfishly” the possibilities associated with religious freedom.
Hope trees will be erected in the city
Both Christian churches have jointly launched the campaign “Because we need hope” for Corona Christmas. To this end, “trees of hope” are to be set up throughout the city in the coming weeks, on which Berliners can hang their wishes on a star on the tree. On the homepage “www.weil-wir-hoffnung-brauchen.de” there is also an overview of the special promotions for Christmas.