Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Big church congress in Germany this weekend:

A religious event set to draw up to 300,000 Christiansto Berlin over the next five days could prove a turning point in reviving the flagging fortunes of the church in Germany, according to the event's organisers.

With a heady mixture of prayers, politics and pop, the Kirchentag or church congress, is set to dwarf music festivals, sports fixtures and other popular attractions in Europe this summer, and could prove to be the biggest ever international religious event of its kind.

"The Pope draws more people when he goes on tour, but that is just for a few hours. People are coming here for five days," says Theodor Bolzenius, Kirchentag spokesman. "This is going to be historic."

The religious extravaganza, organised jointly at a cost of €18m ($21.4m, £13m) by the lay associations in the German Catholic and Protestant churches, comprises over 3,200 individual events, starting with an open-air service at Berlin's landmark Brandenburg gate, where a huge, inflatable orange halo has been erected.

Here's the website. It's in German.

The coolest thing about it is the little picture up in the upper left-hand corner - it changes with the various pages. Ordinary people with lights over their heads in halo-like fashion. Very Teutonically Hip, very Dieter, if you ask me.

"And now...we pray!"