"This mixture of listening, but also getting involved, is something very special," that is how Rebecca Fischer, network coordinator at the UEM, describes the atmosphere at the meeting last weekend. On 5 and 6 May, 27 members of the three UEM networks Women, Young Adults and Partnerships met in Wuppertal to discuss the future structure of their work in the UEM German Region.
Diversity, international congregations, discrimination and (anti-)colonialism: these were the focal points in the presentations and workshops that the members of the networks dealt with on Friday and Saturday. "That was a lot of input at once, but the group was able to handle it well. The atmosphere was one of appreciation and openness," says Fischer.
After the workshops, the three networks each met for individual discussions on their future structure and working methods. The networks each elected a structural group for coordination and contact with the Regional Board Germany (GfA). Each network determined its own topics within the theme of this legislative period: The beam in our eye - discrimination in church and diaconia.
In the Women's Network, in addition to a digital newsletter and Zoom meetings, an annual Women's Day is planned, as well as creative activities to cook, travel, make music or paint together. Topics include the dialogue between generations, how women are perceived in society and how they see themselves, as well as various forms of discrimination and abuse in church spaces.
The Young Adult Network will open up more to people who have not been volunteers with the UEM. Another meeting is scheduled for the end of November, where there will be input on the topic of discrimination and space for exchange. For next year, some network members are already planning to go to Taizé together.
The Partnership network will use online tools where all members can ask questions, which in turn can be answered by all members. In this way, those active in partnership will help each other. Topics of the network are in particular the problems with the granting of visas by German embassies, anti-racism training for those active in partnership work as well as the EKHN's confession of guilt towards queer people.
*EKHN = Evangelische Kirche in Hessen und Nassau (Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau)
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