On May 4 and 5, the first "South-North Conference" of the UEM took place in Wuppertal. All South-North pastors and staff as well as representatives of the congregations or churches in which they work were invited. For one and a half days, 25 people shared their experiences, mutual expectations, irritations and conflicts they had experienced together, as well as successful joint projects.
"In Germany, I first had to learn to say very clearly in my congregation what I want and not to wait to be asked," reported one pastor. The representative of one congregation explained, "We didn't always make it clear to ourselves what we actually expected of the pastor from Indonesia. Now I would push more to reflect on that more in advance." - "Beware of too clear expectations," however, countered the staff member of an intercultural ministry: "We also need free space in our work to let our creativity take place!"
Discussed was a statement that staff had developed last year. "Together in God's building site" - the title of the statement - describes the goal of the staff exchange, to work together internationally and interculturally as equal colleagues in common projects, to experience renewing Pentecostal moments, to receive new impulses and thus to strengthen and support the worldwide togetherness of the churches.
All participants considered it a problem that the legal status of pastors from churches in other countries outside Germany is not always clear. This could complicate or prevent a full collegiality and equal cooperation in the congregation. But it is the goal. Everyone agreed that a congregational pastor needs full voting rights in the presbytery, regardless of which UEM member church he or she was ordained in. The churches in the Germany region were asked to facilitate ways to achieve equality.
Currently, five pastors and one specialist in diaconal management are working in congregations and institutions of member churches in the German member churches of the UEM. They come from Tanzania, Indonesia, the Philippines and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the coming months, two more staff members from Botswana and Indonesia will begin their work in Germany.
IBAN: DE45 3506 0190 0009 0909 08