Not being able to celebrate Christmas as usual is for him a hard thought to take, said Berlin’s Catholic Archbishop Heiner Koch on Monday. Because of the pandemic, however, a limitation of the contacts is necessary, said Koch, as chairman of the marriage and family commission of the German Bishops’ Conference. He called for family celebrations and church services to be celebrated prudently. The Protection of the people have priority.
The Protestant regional bishop Christian Stäblein spoke of the difficulty of finding the right way about whether church services should be celebrated or not. Here go a rift through the communities. The bishop of the Evangelical Church Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia (EKBO) said on Deutschlandfunk on Saturday that he could understand both sides – both those who voluntarily refrained from church services and those who wanted to be there for society with public prayer .
With the Catholics, services are on one Maximum duration of 45 minutes limited. The celebrations should also take place in as many places as possible in order to avoid trips and crowds. Where church services are not possible due to the local situation, the churches should be open for a longer period and pastors should be accessible.
The EKBO already had one Stricter hygiene rules announced. This is not how it should be sung in church. Masks are required during the entire service. No matter if indoors or outdoors, at most one song should be sung. As in Berlin, church visits to the Protestant districts of Potsdam and Görlitz are only possible after registration.
Whether as streaming via YouTube, like the Catholic parish Maria unter dem Kreuz in Wilmersdorf or the call of the Protestant church to sing “Silent Night, Holy Night” from the balcony on Christmas Eve – with new formats and a lot of imagination the congregations are nevertheless looking for ways to celebrate Christmas in community.
The municipality of Prenzlauer Berg Nord offers Christmas boxes for the home at. This includes, among other things, a song book. If you want to sing with accompaniment, you can click on the church homepage, where the songs are played. In the Gethsemane Church, which belongs to the congregation, the services on Christmas Eve are canceled and the celebrations on Christmas are fully booked.
Booked up are also the places in the Berlin Cathedral. But the cathedral offers Vespers on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in a live stream. In the Catholic Church of St. Joseph in Wedding, the substitute church for the closed Hedwig’s Cathedral, the Christmas masses are already occupied.
On Christmas Eve at 3 p.m., the Berlin-Brandenburg radio (rbb) broadcasts one ecumenical worship with the two bishops Stäblein and Koch. The motto: “Because we need hope”. (dpa)