Download PDF: [Prayer for Berlin – April 2014]
Good News: Peaceful demonstration
A demonstration sponsored by left-wing activists was planned for March 22 in Berlin-Wedding. The police were expecting as many as 3,000 demonstrators and assumed that there was a possibility of violence during the demonstration and the “planned activities” on the evening.
Christians did a prayer walk in the area in the forefront of the demonstration. They asked God for forgiveness for injustices and prayed for a peaceful demonstration and evening. Only about 850 demonstrators came, although the organizers had advertised all over Germany. When some of the demonstrators began to put on masks to cover their faces, the demonstration was dissolved peacefully, and the evening stayed peaceful as well.
· Thank God that the demonstration stayed peaceful
· Pray that Berlin will continue to be protected from left-wing and right-wing violence
Good News: The Economy is growing
The Businessmen’s Association Berlin (UVB) is anticipating 1.5 to 2% economic growth in Berlin in 2014. Thus, Berlin would be above the national average. There is a growing need for employees in the areas of tourism, IT, and export-oriented industry. That means less unemployment. Even the number of older employees has more than doubled from 53,000 to 120,000 in the last 12 years.
Nevertheless, workers with deficient training are a large problem, because there are very few jobs for them. 44% of the unemployed in Berlin belong in this category. More than 70% of the 18,000 unemployed Berlin youth have no vocational training.
The UVB wants more orientation measures in the schools and better cooperation with the surrounding areas, where around 450 vocational training places were not filled in 2013.
· Thank God for the growth of the economy and the decline in unemployment
· Pray the more youth can find vocational training placements
Protest Camp Oranienplatz and Gerhart-Hauptmann-Schule
On March 18, an agreement was introduced which the Senator of the Interior, Dilek Kolat (SPD), the Senate, and representatives of the refugees had reached. The agreement contains a peaceful solution for the refugees—for those in the protest camp on the Oranienplatz, those who had been moved from there to accommodations in Wedding and Marienfelde before the winter, as well as the refugees who had occupied the Gerhart-Hauptmann-Schule. Since 2012 the refugees, together with supporters and activists, had demanded with their high-publicity protest a change in the German policies for refugees—a general stop for deportations and the annulment of compulsory residence.
In addition to about 200 Lampedusa-refugees who were sent on by Italy, the groups represented are refugees from other states in Germany with ongoing applications for asylum, and asylum seekers whose applications have been already turned down. The agreement arranges for a case-by-case review on the part of the Aliens Authority, during which deportation is suspended (tolerance), and for counselling, supervision, and housing for the refugees. In exchange, the camp on the Oranienplatz as well as the occupied school is to be peacefully vacated.
Following the initial euphoria, uncertainty and criticism quickly began to grow among the refugees. Refugee representatives whose groups would profit from the new rulings had signed the agreement following deliberations which had not been completely transparent, but most of the refugees are still living with the threat of deportation. The majority do not feel that their demands were met and do not want to give up the occupation. The question of alternative housing provided by the authorities also does not seem to be cleared up from their point of view.
The atmosphere on the Oranienplatz is becoming more radical—Other activists are inciting the campers to continue; they are on CNN, BBC and Al-Dschasira and are receiving a lot of attention. Dilek Kolat has started new negotiations.
· Pray for wisdom for Dilek Kolat who is doing a marvellous job in the midst of a difficult situation
· Pray for a solution which has people as a priority and deal justly with the refugees
· Pray for a quick, good solution for housing
Initiative for a peaceful May 1st
The planning group had planned to have an intercultural music-stage near the Kottbusser Tor on May 1st, and had applied for permission through local residents who work with us. The Myfest-committee was hopeful, but the police denied permission for security reasons (no emergency escape route). Next year there could be the opportunity to have an “official” stage on the Myfest premises.
On April 30 and May 1 there will once again be prayer events for a peaceful May 1. In addition there will be a 50-hour “BURN” (continuous praise) in the prayer basement at Kottbusser Tor (from April 30 8pm to May 2, 10pm) More information will be coming on our website http://www.gebet-fuer-berlin.de and on enquiry.
· Pray for peaceful days surrounding May 1st
· Pray for blessing through the times of prayer and praise
· Pray for the opportunity to have an intercultural music-stage next year
Security in Görlitzer Park
In our last prayer mail, we asked for prayer for this situation. Now something is happening:
“Beginning in April, uniformed policemen and tracking dogs will be providing more security in Görlitzer Park. This is designed to discourage drug dealers and buyers. The idea is part of a combined security concept which is currently being worked out between the district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, the regulatory agency, and the police. The hope is that drug dealers and buyers will be frightened away by the continual presence of the police. In two weeks the first suggestions for the security concept, the design of the park, and the public relations department will be discussed in a further meeting. The concept is to be done by the end of April, when the strengthened police presence and tracking dogs will be in place.
During the last weeks, the Görlizter Park has been in the focus of politicians and the police. Early in March children found cocaine at a playground. On Tuesday a plainclothes policeman was attacked and severely injured during the arrest of a drug dealer. The offender has been released.” (Source: Der Tagesspiegel, 3/28/2014)
· Thank God for the beginning of an answer to prayer
· Pray that the district and the police can develop a concept which can be implemented
· Pray that the drug dealing and danger for residents can be eliminated
More teachers in the schools
In order to fill the need for teachers in the coming years, the school administration is apparently trying to get as many university graduates as possible to commit to teaching—without the usual student teaching. “…Teachers in training who have just passed their first set of final exams and have applied for a student teaching position are getting letters from the Senate Administration for Education which explain that they can immediately get an unlimited teaching contract while doing their student teaching.” Critics fear that the actual thought behind the student teaching period, namely to prepare the person for teaching, will be annulled and that as a result the teaching profession would be damaged. Source: Der Tagesspiegel, 3/28/2014
· Pray for good and financially feasible solutions to alleviate the problem of teacher shortage
· Pray that new ideas will not be carried out at the expense of the children
Keeping On: The BER airport
Air traffic in Berlin is growing faster than in other places. In the last ten years the number of passengers doubled. The trade associations feel that an imminent opening of the new airport and adequate operating duration during the night hours is absolutely necessary for the further development of Berlin’s economy and the improvement of the labour market. The construction continues to suffer from delays because of continued new regulations, perpetually changing personnel and many other problems. In the meantime, there is talk of a further increase in costs.
· Pray for speedy progress on the construction site
· Pray for competent leadership personnel
· Pray for agreement about flight times which will account for the needs of residents, users, and operators
· Pray for the development of new jobs
· April 9, 6pm, Prayer for the city: Meeting place in front of the entrance of the Rote Rathaus
· April 4, 8pm until May 2, 10pm: “BURN” Praise and Worship, Gebetskeller Adalbertstr. 97 at the Kottbusser Tor
· May 1, 2pm and 6pm Prayer for a peaceful May 1st in the Gebetskeller