Download PDF: [Prayer for Berlin – March 2013]

Good News: Living Space for Christian Roma

Thanks to the commitment of the Catholic real estate manager Benjamin Marx, approx. 500 Christian Roma have a safe residence in Neukölln. He persuaded the Catholic Housing Association „Die Aachener“ to buy and renovate a run-down residential complex — complete with a playground, music rooms, and rooms for church services, for both the Pentecostal Roma (with about 400 people attending!) as well as for a Catholic Community.

30 Roma are employed as janitors, security personnel, etc. in the facility. In addition there are German and handcraft courses to help towards integration. The project shows: It is possible! Of course, the glowing Christian faith of the Roma has been a vital requirement for success–something which cannot be overlooked.

Prayer:

  • Thank God for this successful project
  • Pray that the project will be a good example for others

God’s intention with BER

Christians from Uganda have reported that they prayed for years against problems in their country. Somewhere along the line they realized that they should not be praying against the problems, but rather praying that God’s intentions and calling would come to pass. Then many problems would resolve themselves. God has good intentions for every individual person, but also for entire nations and even buildings — and infra-structure projects. They are designed to provide places for encounters between people and to help them get from one place to another. In light of this, we want to pray for the new Berlin airport which is still under construction –not only that the problems can be solved, but also that it will serve God’s plans and intentions, and thus also people.

Prayer:

  • Pray that God’s intentions for the BER will be realized
  • Pray for wisdom for all those in responsible positions — especially that Matthias Plazeck will make wise and trend-setting decisions
  • Pray for effective processing of the list of 20,000 defects

Theme of the Year „Diversity Destroyed“

Diversity DestroyedIn Berlin the theme of the year 2013 is designed to remember the diversity of life in Berlin and its destruction by the Nazis. The occasion is the 80th anniversary of the transfer of power to the Nazis in 1933 and the 75th anniversary of the November pogroms in 1938. Both dates have deep meaning for Berlin, because as the capital city of the Reich, it was the location of the transfer of power, and also because it was strongly impacted by the persecution of Jews, since 160,000 Jews were living in the city.

Many cultural events and activities in museums, churches, cultural centres, etc. will be contributing to the theme of the year and will show specific aspects of  the social marginalisation of the „others“. At the centre of all activities is the remembrance of people, Berliners who contributed to the diversity of the city.

(Source and information: Diversity Destroyed)

Prayer:

  • Thank God for these events which remind, admonish, and celebrate diversity
  • Pray that the remembrance will contribute to more tolerance and openness 
  • Pray that as a result, latent Neo-Nazi and Anti-Semitic attitudes will be diminished or prevented

New Concept for Berlin

Berlin is developing with great dynamic. That which was predicted immediately after reunification is now coming true: Berlin is growing. According to the newest demographic forecast, Berlin will reach approximately 250,000 residents by the year 2030. Politics must adjust to this situation and set the course now. The Senator for urban development Michael Müller is responsible for this area. In February, consultations about a new urban concept 2030 began. An intradepartmental concept for the city is to be developed by March, 2014.

If Berlin does indeed grow at this rate, there will be a great need for more residences, schools, better transportation connections, etc. In Berlin there is enough area to build about 210,000 flats. At the moment, the construction of 4,700 flats on the former airport Tegel is controversial. A citizen’s initiative against construction of any kind on the former airport has been organized.

In order to provide affordable housing for everyone, a new support initiative for residential construction is to be launched. It will support the construction of 1000 residences annually, in order to lower the rent to a square meter price of 6€, not including operating costs. The new concept will be discussed among residents in public events. Senator Müller is placing great emphasis on a concept for good community life.

Prayer:

  • Thank God for the dynamic growth of the city
  • Pray that it will become increasingly clear during the next year which components the new concept should include
  • Pray that God’s intentions for the city will be reflected in the concept

Conflict Concerning Housing for Refugees

During the last months a better distribution of refugees has been being debated. The fact that three districts absorb the most asylum-seekers is beyond dispute. Senator Mario Czaja (CDU) put pressure on the  mayors of the other districts to take their share. In case of necessity, buildings would be confiscated. That was last November, but nothing much has happened since then. In spite of the growing number of asylum-seekers, there is evidently no long-term housing concept for refugees.

More than 5000 refugees live in Berlin. 3000 of them applied for asylum just this past year. Many of them have fled the civil war in Syria. In addition, many Roma came to escape discrimination in their home countries in the Balkans. In Wittenau (District Reinickendorf) and Lichtenrade (District Tempelhof-Schöneberg) residents are resisting the establishment of refugee residences.

But–while few refugees live in Reinickendorf, Tempelhof-Schöneberg is one of the districts that offers the most places. Protesting refugees have been holding out for months in a tent camp on the Oranienplatz in Kreuzberg. (Source: Der Tagesspiegel 2/22/2013)

Prayer:

  • Pray for an agreement among the districts concerning a fair distribution of refugee accommodations
  • Pray for more tolerance and hospitality among residents
  • Pray for effective methods to help refugees attain a dignified existence

Young Spaniards and Greeks in Berlin

Germany is currently experiencing a migration wave. Well-trained professionals are fleeing from the countries most affected by the Euro-crisis first and foremost to Berlin, although the city has less jobs to offer than Stuttgart and Munich. In recent years, the influx of young Spaniards has more than doubled, from nearly 700 to 1700. In addition, many young Greeks have found their way to Berlin since the financial crisis began.

The young people are looking for a new perspective elsewhere, and many are coming to Germany. According to Federal Statistical Office, immigrants from Greece doubled during the first half of the year 2011. According to first reports, more Greeks came to Germany than the year before. The reason is simple–there are simply less and less jobs in Greece.

(Source: Deutschlandradio Kultur 2/6/2013)

Prayer:

  • Pray that many young southern Europeans find work and a new life-perspective here
  • Pray for understanding and hospitality on the part of Berliners
  • Pray that they will meet Christians who can give them more than just economic hope

Keeping On: Gentrification and Violence

Violent protests and wilful damage to property continue to take place during evictions of residences. Let us pray for solutions for the housing problem and for a decrease in violence.

Dates

  • March 2, 2013, 4:45-9:00 pm, Gemeinsam für Berlin-Fest – Fellowship, celebration, exemplary projects: music, dance, interviews, information and the unveiling of the new look for „Gemeinsam für Berlin“. 6:30pm „Tasty treats from around the world–Projects from Berlin“. 7:45pm: comedy, inspiring information from projects. Children’s program for 4-11 year olds.
  • March 13, 6pm: Political Prayer for the City in front of the Rotes Rathaus