Good News – more jobs in Berlin

In spite of the financial crisis, the number of people employed grew by 1.6%. That means 26,100 jobs more—in no other state of has there been such a high percent of growth. Nevertheless, Berlin still has an unemployment rate (14%) that is much too high in comparison with other states, and the number of those receiving welfare benefits because of long-term unemployment is particularly high. However, there is hope that the rate of unemployment can be further lowered, because Berlin has a good economic structure and many young companies capable of competi-tion. In the crisis year of 2009, Berlin’s economic performance declined much less than in other states.
Prayer:
  • Thank God for all positive developments in spite of the financial crisis
  • Pray for ways to increase Berlin’s economic potential

Gentrification and poverty

According to a recent social analysis from the Berlin Senate, Kreuzberg (without Bergmannkiez) and Nordneukölln are the socially weakest and most stagnating districts in Berlin. At the same time, they are the districts in which the rents are growing the fastest. Many landlords raise the rent by 30% when re-letting. This is only one example of how the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer in these two districts. The only course left to the “original” residents is to leave the district and move to another one with lower rents.
Thus the “typical” Kreuzberg mixture is in real danger. Up until now, this mixture of intellectual left-wing activists, traditional blue-collar workers and immigrants was the reason why the district has been a place of understanding, tolerance and mutual help in spite of its problems. For this reason, people from Kreuzberg identify themselves with the district because their deep sense of justice unites them.
On the other hand, new renters bring capital to Kreuzberg. In particular, people involved in the cultural sector and creative artists profit from the money coming into Kreuzberg. Cafés are opening, private fashion labels are being founded, galleries are opening and tourists are swarming into the district. Those, however, who are not part of this “creative” group are often the losers. The so-called social peace is thus endangered.
Prayer:
  • Pray for wisdom for the politicians who have influence in the area of housing policy
  • Pray for solutions for the poor social conditions
  • Pray that the poor and the rich will cooperate and that the rich will assume responsibility

Preparations for a peaceful May 1

Again last month there was an arson attack with a gas cartridge on the Haus der Wirtschaft (House of the Economy) in Berlin-Charolottenburg. A note from a group that calls itself the “Revolutionäre Aktionszellen” (RAZ ) (revolutionary cells) claiming responsibility for the attack was found. Such exploding gas cartridges can kill people and are much more dangerous than Molotow-cocktails that have been used up until now by left-wing activists.
Such events show that the tendency to violence is continuing to grow. We need to pray that violence will not escalate in Berlin. For this reason, Christians, churches and individual prayer part-ners are inviting people to take part in a Fasting and Prayer Chain from April 5-May 5 for a peaceful May 1, 2010 in Berlin (details below under “dates”).
The police are also rethinking their concept for keeping the peace on May 1st. A study showed that alcohol has played a leading role in the violent activities. For this reason, authorities are taking measures to curb the use of alcohol. Last year, however, they were not successful in this attempt.
Prayer:
  • Pray for effective measures to curb the use of alcohol during the Myfest
  • Pray for the many frustrated youth, that God will help them develop new perspective for their lives
  • Pray that God will bless all those who are working to help prevent violence
  • Pray for the preparations for the open-air services on May 1st

Projects of Hope (3): The “Hirtenhof für Demenzkranke“ (Shepherd’s Court for dementia patients)

Dementia patients are often an unloved and neglected fringe group in our achiever-society, but the numbers of dementia patients is continually growing. Since the fall of 2009, the Christian entrepreneurial company Salomo Dienste UG has been developing a service for them in Berlin. Its goal is to actively change the care of dementia patients from a “fed and clean situation” to “need-oriented care” according to Biblical principles. The vision and counselling principles are founded on the “Hirtenhof-Konzept” (Shepherd’s Court Concept) which was developed by two nurses based on Psalm 23.
A sick and confused person is dependent upon the direction and leading of a Good Shepherd in a special way. In order to make this vision become a reality, a Hirtenhof is being planned as a model project. The goal is to build further safe places where the care of the patients is not the only priority. The vision is to give patients a home where they are allowed to do what they still can do and where their deficits are lovingly supplemented. A prayer ministry for people with dementia is part of the concept. Presently the first step is the development of a day-care centre for dementia patients which will then develop into the first Hirtenhof.
Prayer:
  • Pray that God will direct further steps towards the building and financing of the Hirtenhof
  • Pray for success, strength and wisdom for the initiators
  • Pray that the support team will grow

Berlin’s artistic potential

With its diversity and charisma, Berlin’s artistic landscape is a huge potential for the city and its residents. Approximately 7,700 visual artists, authors and dancers as well as 4,600 various music and theatre groups live and work in Berlin. (Source: Berlin Senate). They contribute toward self-reflection in society, criticism, integration, (inter)cultural exchange and education.
The German Cultural Council predicts that the financial crisis will result in 2010 in cutbacks and closings all over the country. The Berlin Senate is pursuing a different course and is promoting the “Kulturmetropole Berlin” (Culture Metropolis Berlin) by increasing the budget in the area of culture for 2010/2011. Nevertheless the large number of freelance artists and free venues for whom creative space is declining through the decrease in the revenue and project financing will be greatly affected. This is notably the case among artists who are believers.
Prayer:
  • Thank God for the potential of the arts in the city and for a government which acknowledges this and is actively protecting and supporting the arts in spite of the finan-cial crisis
  • Pray that artists will realize and develop their creative potential despite the crisis
  • Pray that freelance artists, including Christians, will find new ways of contributing to society within the city

Dates

  • Sunday, March 21 7 pm City-wide prayer service for a peaceful May 1st; City- Kirche, Alexandrinenstr.118, Kreuzberg
  • Prayer chain and Fasting chain from April 5-May 5 for a peaceful May 1st, 2010 (see article above). Please enter your name or name of the group and prayer times here: http://tiny.cc/yiv9f
  • Friday, April 16. Training for prayer „Draußen beten“ (street prayer); 6-9pm, Café Sehnsucht, Skalitzer Straße 133 (Near Kottbusser Tor)
  • Public Worship Service on May 1st: probably on the stage on the Mariannenplatz on the edge of the Myfest, approximately noon to 1pm, followed by prayer walks in groups with leaders through the district