A pastor for a church in the neighborhood

Marc-Albrecht Harms leaves Krefeld in the south
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A pastor for a church in the neighborhood

Marc-Albrecht Harms will move to the Friedenskirche in July. He is facing the challenge of leading a parish that has to do an important part of social work in the city center, especially in the youth sector.

The time in Fischeln and the surrounding area is over for Pastor Marc-Albrecht Harms. Yesterday, Sunday, he was adopted by the parish in St. Mark’s Church. At the beginning of July he will move from the Evangelical Church Community Krefeld-Süd to the Friedenskirche, where he will be introduced to his new office on Sunday, July 4th from 12 noon by Superintendent Barbara Schwahn. “A long time ago I was asked whether I was interested,” he remembers and describes his new job as follows: “There is a different kind of church work there, church work than in Krefeld-Süd.” Harms decided on the new one Challenge.

It was a tough decision. Numerous questions went through the mind of the pastor. “What can I expect in the south in the next few years? What could stimulate me to change parishes? ”Some time ago, he says, he completed a further training course“ Church in the social space ”and explained:“ This neighborhood work has opened doors to another type of church. I got to know the local church. “

There are many groups and circles in a parish. However, they all led their own lives. They only meet each other on special occasions and big celebrations. In a social room, on the other hand, the meetings might take place in a looser context, but address very different people. “I am convinced,” says Harms, “that we can only survive as a people’s church if we set out on the path.” The church will bring in what it has. “We have a lot of resources, a full-time structure, a lot of volunteers or buildings,” the pastor enumerates. “The Friedenskirche has long been attractive and appealing with its offers. The culture point radiates into society and has a good reputation. “

In this way, the church will simply move a little further into the city. “With what we have set out to do,” explains Harms, “it can be more successful from a central location such as Friedenskirche and Old Church than from the edge.” Neighborhood work is important in order to help people around the Friedenskirche. For this, the pastoral team also wants to draw on the experience of the Diakonie Krefeld-Viersen. “We want the best for the city,” says the future pastor of the Friedenskirche.

For example, a postcard interview campaign is planned. The aim is to ask what the people in the neighborhood are missing, what they want. This could be a sewing cafe, outdoor seating, or a meeting room in a church.

Krefeld’s Protestant communities are changing. Within a year, three new people were introduced to the parish at a central location. Marc-Albrecht Harms would like to cooperate with his colleagues Gerhard Herbrecht at the old church and Falk Schöller as the city church pastor. At the beginning of June, Harms and Herbrecht started offering confirmation classes across parish boundaries. The age group of the Alter Kirche and Friedenskirche includes 29 young people. “These are not numbers like those on the outskirts,” says Harms, “I’m used to double to triple numbers.”

In his opinion, participation in lessons is more likely to be decided in the schoolyards in the city center. The young people have little connection to their own congregation, the communal boundaries are fluid. Every Tuesday there are confectionery lessons in the respective communities, and together on Saturdays, and in the autumn holidays they go to Wittenberg.

Both Friedenskirche and Alt-Krefeld offer open youth work. “We’re trying to do a bit of church work again,” explains Harms. In addition to the two pastors, youth leader Konny Gurr and student teacher Monique Schlösser are also involved in the confectionery lessons.

Harms was pastor in Krefeld-Süd for over twelve years, initially in a relief pastor’s office of the superintendent, later in his own pastor’s office. Born in Lower Saxony, the 52-year-old grew up in Gahlen, in the parish of Dinslaken, on the border with Westphalia. After studying theology in Münster and Bonn, he did a trial service in St. Tönis and Anrath, as well as helping with telephone counseling. He then went to the European School in Willich for a year. Harms is married and has two daughters.

“I want to do something with people in faith,” says Harms, explaining his choice of profession. “Take a look at what has always been, pass it on and try out new things. Show people, especially young people, that you can come up with new ideas, we are open to them. “He experienced this himself as a youth in his congregation:” Usually our Christmas party always took place in the parish hall. In a year we asked if it could not take place in the church. The answer: OK, if you clean up. Of course the presbytery knew us, but they were brave to give up their ancient village church for it. We received the ancient church key and few conditions were set. There was also no indication of when the celebration should end on Saturday. It was clear to us that there was a service on Sunday at 10.45 a.m. Everything has to be tidied up by then. We wanted to change, but more evolutionary than revolutionary. “

If Harms now changes to the Friedenskirche, he will have something special in his luggage: “The Privilege”, a Christian rap song that he got to know in 2017 with his confirmands at the nationwide Konficamp in Wittenberg. At the confirmations in Krefeld-Süd, the young people sang rap as a choir.

The confectioners from the Alte Kirche and Friedenskirche are also learning it. They sang it together on the first Confi Saturday. “That was a great experience,” remembers Pastor Harms. “The voice of boys at that age sounds very different, because the voice breaks they have to reorient themselves.” Munsang Hwang, church musician at the Friedenskirche, sang with the boys, the confectionary team leaders with the girls. It is a project that welds together.

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