Crisis in the protestant church. This nationwide trend is also taking hold in the small rural regions: the stable conditions are shaking, interest in the church is becoming less and less. Also in the deanery of grafenberg.
This can also be expressed in numbers. While the number of baptisms still keeps the balance, the deanery pays five times as many resignations as admissions. "We have now slipped below the 12000 church member mark. That’s what makes a church community in the rough of hiltpoltstein", says dean sachs seriously to the audience. Previously, 13,000 believers in the deanery felt they belonged to the protestant church, at least on paper.
Said round consists of pastors and members of the church boards of the twelve parishes belonging to the deanery and the state synod, who met in the hall of the evangelisches gemeindehaus in neunkirchen am brand for the deanery synod.
In addition to the full-time pastors, it is the committed volunteers and thus one of the supporting pillars of the church who are concerned about the future of the church. The dean wants to build on this.
The change is visible
The upheaval is already visible. In grafenberg, dean berthild sachs will no longer experience the fruits of this labor. She will be dean of schwabach in four weeks. But she is preparing the way there and does not miss the opportunity to emphasize what is available in the deanery and to thank the employees. Their work and the resulting offerings are well received in society, although little highlighted in public. First and foremost, the diaconia, which is doing outstanding work in the areas of children, youth and care, and yet is unable to meet the increasing demand.
There is the youth center in kappel, which has now become a constant and, in addition to bible work with young people, has developed into youth camps that have become a self-runner, as sachs emphasized. There is the area of adult education, which is also showing excellent results, especially through the mergers into educational regions.
Aubergusual church services
It has been done on a voluntary basis so far, professional partners are currently being sought. In addition, there is the partnership work with tanzania. And there are some unusual church services that are well received. During the long working day of the synod, the topic of church services was dealt with in detail.
This area was given its own chapter, in which pastor christof hechtel of the nurnberg worship institute spoke, in order to focus more attention on new ideas for worship in the future. "Our worship – longing and the future" was the motto. Dean berthild sachs showed why the topic is so necessary in her analysis of the church departures. "Add to this the demographic trend. Only a fraction of the people of neuburg are protestant", explained sachs.
Church has competition
Ten percent fewer church members does not mean ten percent less work. This also has an effect on the parish positions. The deanery of grafenberg will have only eight pastoral positions from the previous 10.75 positions. Not from one day to the next. "Work is becoming more and more individualized. Off-the-peg services no longer appeal. We are in competition with other providers in the field of youth work and education, as well as with the "stiff church", said sachs.
Pastoral care alone is not enough
The necessary change and departure is already visible in the local church boards and deanery committees. "The members of the committees have become younger and more female, and the newcomers and newcomers to the church bring unconventional ideas. This has an effect. New formats for church services are being considered. It takes courage", confessed the dean.
Changes should also take place outside the church walls. The pastor is no longer concerned with pastoral care and church services, but must have knowledge of tax and labor law, business administration and construction management. "Must be?", asked sachs, already hinting at future changes in many areas, which come under the heading of cooperation. This can also be a cooperation between the churches and church communities. The dean puts forward the idea of ecumenical cooperation or in the sacred sphere. "This should not be seen as an emergency", sachs emphasized. It is rather a network to carry the gospel further. Cooperation must not stop at the boundaries of the deanery. Where the road leads is still open. "It is not yet visible what we will be", sachs quoted at the beginning of the review. With the confession "we are already god’s children", the dean named the basis, the foundation of the new thoughts on the further stability of the church.
Above all, they want to follow the suggestion of grafenberg’s pastor david vogt and put the positive side of the church in the headlines. Every parish has a variety of spiritual and cultural offerings, especially during advent.