Prayermails


Download as PDF: March 2019

Good News: 900 jobs every week

„Berlin Partner“ and the Federal Employment Agency see Berlin as Germany’s largest magnet for skilled workers. The total number of employees increased by 3.7 percent in 2018 – more than in any other federal state. Since 2014, 216,000 new jobs have been created, almost half of which were filled by highly qualified people. For this year 900 new jobs per week (!) are forecasted.

  • Thank you, God, for this good development

Strikes in the Civil Service Sector

After several warning strikes, the unions GEW and ver.di called for strikes in Berlin on February 26th and 27th. Negotiations will be held on February 28th and March 1st. The call for a strike concerns all employees of the public day-care centres, public schools, universities and colleges (except HTW), district offices and all other employees of the state of Berlin. The majority of civil servants work very hard and receive relatively little public recognition.

Prayer:

  • Pray for a good and quick completion of wage negotiations
  • Pray for reasonable wages and salaries
  • Pray for blessing, perseverance, and sound judgment for all public service workers
  • Pray for more jobs for pre-school teachers

725 Million for Berlin’s Infrastructure

As long as taxpayers‘ money in Berlin is still abundant, the Senate wants to spend surplus funds on important investment projects and reserves. Since 2012, the Berlin budget has been producing surpluses, but with 57.6 billion euros, Berlin is still deep in debt. 725 million euros of the 2.4 billion euros surplus income for the year 2018 are to be allocated to the „Special Fund Infrastructure of the Growing City“ (Siwana). This has now been agreed upon by the coalition parties of the SPD, Left and Greens. 75 million will go into the sustainability fund as a reserve for the times of the nationwide debt brake (beginning 2020).

The largest amount will be invested in public transport, such as in electric buses, bike paths, Wi-Fi in subways. Schools and day-care centres will receive funding of 65 million euros. Other major items on the list: 70 million for housing and the exercise of pre-emptive rights in protecting the architectural and social mix of individual neighbourhoods; 57.5 million for refugees and integration; 20 million for new large equipment of the Charité Clinic. The interreligious „House of One“ will receive 10 million (plus 10 million from the federal government) and 2 million will go into the planning for the reconstruction of the synagogue Fraenkelufer.

Prayer:

  • Thank God for the budget surpluses and new investments
  • Pray for responsible management of the allocated money
  • Pray for quick implementation that will serve the best interests of the city, its residents and visitors

 

Anti-Bullying-Campaigns

Bullying in Berlin schools is a real and often underestimated problem. For a long time people have been aware of students‘ violence against students, of marginalization and denigration, also called bullying. This happens in schools, but also through social networks. The affected students are often helpless and find little to no support from other students and adults as well. In 2016, the Berlin School Education Administration commissioned a „program against violence in schools“. The program will include prevention, education, and anti-bullying training in schools and teacher training. In addition, more social workers, school psychologists and student conflict counsellors will be hired to work in schools. Parents can get involved through a parental representative. Police are already offering to send prevention teams to schools on request. After the suicide of an eleven-year-old girl – probably because of bullying – the student-to-student initiative „We Against Mobbing“ was also launched by students. Projects of students against bullying can be supported here: https://www.gofundme.com/anti-mobbing-app

Prayer:

  • Pray for all students who are being bullied, that someone will see their distress, and that they can find people to help them
  • Pray that teachers and social workers can identify and respond to bullying
  • Pray that respect for the dignity of the individual will be modelled in families and that parents can influence their children

Housing Construction

A first glimmer of hope in the area of rising rents is that the Senate has suspended the scheduled rent increase for 46,200 social housing in Berlin on April 1. This prevents even public housing projects from becoming more expensive and thus unaffordable for financially weak residents. With regard to the new building, however, a dispute between building Senator Lompscher and the housing societies is emerging. The original target of 30,000 new apartments has been revised downwards several times. At present, only 24,000 apartments can be built in the next few years. A major problem remains in that the prices for new housing for low-income earners are only affordable with high subsidies. The FDP politician Czaja has proposed a construction summit with municipal housing societies, cooperatives, investors, districts, Senate and opposition.

Prayer:

  • Thank God for the suspension of the rent increase this year
  • Pray that Senator Lompscher makes the right decisions to speed up housing construction
  • Pray for constructive agreements for social housing also with private investors

 

The Community Organizing

The community organizing “We in Neukölln” is intensively involved again this year in launching a thematic campaign. The goal is to hear as many voices as possible from the approximately 20 different member groups. The Together for Berlin group met in the International Mission Church (mostly Indians and Tamils) and the Iranian church. The topics that were visible here were, among others, the lack of living space for university students and refugees – and the situation in the schools. All these topics will be collected by the end of March and then evaluated in a large joint action. Two topics will be chosen to be jointly addressed on a political level with those responsible.

Prayer:

  • Pray for a good process in the topic selection
  • Pray that people will be motivated to work on the topics
  • Pray for open doors on the part of the decision makers

 

New Family Forum

At the beginning of February, the forum „Marriage and Family“ was founded by Together for Berlin. A promising start with 48 representatives of family centres, organisations and initiatives, foundations, a midwife practice and a bridal fashion business came together! Among them were marriage and family counsellors, pastors, mentors, therapists, psychologists, educators. The goal was to work together on how to better connect the different services, but also how the existing offer can be made accessible to a wider public or what else could still be developed.

Prayer:

  • Pray for a good selection of the first topics to be tackled together
  • Pray for the finances for public relations
  • Pray for open doors among politicians and in society

 

Planned Reorganisation of the Police

The Berlin Police Director Barbara Slowik has been in office for ten months. She has now presented her plans for a comprehensive structural reform. For the time being, these are only „rough plans“, which will now be discussed in detail with trade unions and staff councils. Slowik wants to turn the police around. In the central districts, for example, there is to be a new focal point directorate which triples its police presence there. A new State Police Directorate will focus on strategic direction. Management structures and decision-making processes will be streamlined and law enforcement bundled. The traffic police will be upgraded to a directorate. The state criminal police will include the new department of terrorism. The far-reaching proposals have provoked criticism from opposition politicians and professional associations.

Prayer:

  • Pray for a constructive voting process on police reform
  • Pray for effective measures to increase security and fight crime

 

Keeping On: Clan Crime

The police and the judiciary continue to intensify their efforts against criminal family clans. Although crimes committed by large Arab families make up only a fraction of organized crime, the state is upgrading. Masked Special Forces stormed homes or restaurants nearly a dozen times in the previous year alone. The responsible senior prosecutor is being escorted by bodyguards. Three senators are currently planning new steps in the anti-clan struggle.

Let us continue to pray for effective action and visible progress.

 

Dates

March 13, 6pm: Prayer for city politics in front of the Rote Rathaus

 

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Download as PDF: February 2019

Good News: Day of Prayer EINS (ONE)

On January 19th, the Berlin Day of Prayer (also as the conclusion of the Alliance Week of Prayer) took place for the second time. Together for Berlin with its youth network Berlin United, the Evangelical Alliance and the Ecumenical Council organized the event—most probably unique nationwide because of its unique breadth. Around 450 Christians from 95 (!) churches and fellowships celebrated and prayed together. Two short plenary parts with spiritual input, musically enriched by the praise band of a Russian-German worship band and the choir of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, were the framework of the event. 18 prayer stations helped people to get to know different Christian prayer traditions or to intercede together. Participants then had the opportunity to fellowship with one another over a meal. In the evening, around 500 mostly young people came together for a prayer concert.

Prayer:

  • Thank God for the blessed day and for the testimony of unity in diversity
  • Pray that a movement will evolve that honours God and transforms the city

Less Crime, more Violence

Police chief Barbara Slowik presented the 2018 crime statistics. In 2018, there were positive developments in crime. The total number of offenses fell by 1.5 percent, and the number of thefts decreased. The number of pickpockets fell by more than 20 percent. Also, the number of burglaries in single-family homes fell again by about 16 percent. Better cooperation with the Polish police resulted in 15 percent fewer car thefts. The number of bicycle thefts also fell. However, the number of serious violent crimes is still alarmingly high. Also, the number of violent crimes against the police increased again last year by 3 percent. Most attacks do not happen during riot demos, but in everyday operations – such as in traffic controls, when drivers feel wronged. It can also quickly become dangerous when the police are called because of disturbing party noise. Even if police are alerted about domestic violence, they must pay more attention to „self-security“, because not infrequently, the aggression of a violent man will also be directed against the officials in such situations. The focal points of violence against police officers are, above all, certain neighbourhoods in Neukölln, Gesundbrunnen and Marzahn-Hellersdorf. Slowik identified a latent aggressiveness and a lowered inhibition threshold as the reason behind many attacks on police officers. There is also a problem of lack of appreciation and recognition for the police in the general population. (Source: Berliner Kurier 12/27/2018)

Prayer:

  • Thank God for the decreasing crime rate
  • Pray for protection of the police against violence
  • Pray for effective action to reduce violence and crime
  • Pray that God’s peace will touch the hearts, minds and deeds of the perpetrators

Apartments – building new or buying back

Berlin urgently needs more apartments. The Senate clearly lays behind its self-imposed new building goals. Many accuse the Senate of doing too little. The Governing Mayor Müller, SPD, supports a proposal of his coalition partners from the Greens and the Left, which is being discussed very controversially. The Senate plans to buy back up to 50,000 apartments from the private housing company Deutsche Wohnen. This should mean that the rents will remain affordable. The former municipal apartments were privatized in 2004 when public coffers were empty. Finance Senator Kollatz, SPD, has now warned against exaggerated expectations. The financial resources of the federal state of Berlin allow for at most „selective acquisitions“ and would have to be economically justifiable. Critics complain that no new apartments would be made available through repurchase and that billions are no longer available for the much-needed new housing construction.

Prayer:

  • Pray that the Senate will make housing construction a real priority
  • Pray for a de-ideologisation of the debate about buying back flats
  • Pray for effective measures to cap rents

More anti-Semitic attacks

Since four months, the Prosecutor General’s Office has an anti-Semitism commissioner, Chief Prosecutor Claudia Vanoni. She said, „There has been a recent increase in hatred against Jewish citizens. I have the impression that anti-Semitism is becoming louder, more open and aggressive. In addition, in Berlin, the most anti-Semitic offenses are recorded in relation to the number of inhabitants nationwide.“ Jews often try to avoid places where anti-Semitism is bad or could be expected to hit them. This is often not possible for schoolchildren. They are particularly vulnerable because they have to go to their school. Based on 227 interviews, the Frankfurt sociologist Julia Bernstein came to the conclusion that teachers often fail to recognize the anti-Semitic nature of the increasingly common curse word „Jew“ and that school leaders deny that there is anti-Semitism – out of fear that the reputation of the school could be harmed.

Prayer:

  • Pray for state protection for Jewish people and institutions and that Christians will play an active role in advocacy against anti-Semitism
  • Pray for blessing for the anti-Semitism commissioner
  • Pray for help and support for teachers in dealing with anti-Semitic incidents

Anniversary year: 30 years of the fall of the Berlin Wall

30 years of the fall of the Berlin Wall in Berlin: In 2019, Berlin and Germany celebrate the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. To celebrate this historic event, a large number of events and exhibitions will take place in the capital, dealing with the construction of the Berlin Wall and the division of Berlin, the Cold War and the Peaceful Revolution of 1989. Not only in the run-up to and around the 9th of November, but all year long, such events will be taking place in Berlin. An overview of events already planned can be found here: https://www.visitberlin.de/de/veranstaltungen-30-jahre-mauerfall

Prayer:

  • Pray for further promotion of the culture of remembrance
  • Pray that God gets the honour for intervening in our history 30 years ago

Urban research series: quality of life is deceleration

Good quality of life requires open spaces, which means green areas, but also that not every wasteland space is built up. In addition, quality of life means a Berlin neighbourhood structure where you can reach everything for everyday needs by foot or by bike. Ariane Sept is doing her PhD on deceleration in urban development. Core ideas are similar to the Slow Food initiative, which places value on proximity to the product through local cuisine as opposed to fast food. This means building a stronger connection of the residents to their city, perhaps by creating meeting places and reducing distances, so that people have to commute less. After all, how should one build a connection to a place through which one only passes through? That’s why, according to Septs, active civic engagement is the best way to do that, as it strengthens identification with the place and the neighborhood.

Prayer:

  • Pray for more spaces of recreation, of respite, places to meet others, which also counteract the reciprocal alienation
  • Pray that the people of our city time and again have moments of reflection, contemplation and reflection, in which they encounter questions about life and God

Hotspot Schools

Language deficits, truancy, violence – teachers at hotspot schools in Berlin often have to deal with these problems. There, more than 80 percent of children are freed from having to pay for books and learning material, because their families are poor. Most of them also have a high proportion of children from Hartz IV households or migration families. In December, it was decided to pay teachers 300 Euros a month more with retroactive effect at the beginning of the school year. This is to acknowledge the particularly difficult work of the teachers in these schools. The new allowance will benefit 2,298 educators at 58 facilities. The regulation also applies to those who are changing careers and also indirectly to the staff in day-care centres.

Prayer:

  • Pray that educators will have strength, patience and love

Keeping on: Speed limit 30

At six measuring points in the city, the annual limit of 40 micrograms was exceeded last year. This is shown by an evaluation of the preliminary hourly data of the Berlin Environmental Senate Administration, published by the Federal Environment Agency. At all 17 Berlin measuring points, the air quality improved after April 8th – although speed limits had not been introduced everywhere. This suggests that so far no impact on air quality has been detected by speed limit 30 km per hour. – Let’s continue to pray for air quality improvement, especially on busy roads!

Dates

Jan. 29, 7:30pm: Holocaust Remembrance Event sponsored by the Initiative January 27, Centrum Judaicum, Oranienburger Str. 28

Feb. 13, 6pm: Prayer for City Politicians in front of the Rote Rathaus

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Download as PDF: December/January

Good News: Salary Increase for Elementary School Teachers

Beginning August 1, 2019, the Senate will pay all elementary school teachers 5,300 euros per month, which is equal to the salary of secondary school teachers. That means a salary increase of more than 500 euros a month. The higher pension entitlement will also be included – the two-year waiting period will be eliminated. Even those who reach retirement age before the cut-off date can receive the higher pension if their retirement is postponed accordingly. This has a positive side effect for elementary schools suffering from a dramatic shortage of teachers.

Prayer:

  • Thank God for this sign of appreciation of teachers at elementary schools
  • Pray that it will have a quick impact and reduce teacher shortages

Welcoming Culture

In the first months after September 2015, an average 1,860 refugees have come to Berlin every month. Initially, the administration was overwhelmed by the onslaught (long queues at the LaGeSo); in the meantime, accommodation and provision are running quite smoothly. The „Masterplan Integration and Security“ of the previous Senate is now following the „Overall Concept for the Integration and Participation of Refugees“ of the current city government. The already refugee-friendly policy (the fewest amount of refugees are deported from Berlin) will be even friendlier. According to the integration commissioner, the high motivation of the refugees after their arrival in the city should be utilized so that integration can succeed from the beginning. All refugees receive a language course as soon as they arrive; already 11,000 refugees were able to begin employment; 8,039 children from “welcome classes” were able to switch to a regular school. In order to be able to measure the results of the integration, all measures are scientifically monitored and evaluated.

Prayer:

  • Thank God that people who have come from crisis and war areas have found a safe place with us and for the successful integration efforts
  • Pray that the refugees find a (possibly temporary) home in Berlin
  • Pray for further successful integration which benefit asylum seekers but do not overwhelm the locals

BER – New Deficiencies and Problems

Following the last opening delay, the BER Airport, under construction since 2006, is scheduled to open in October 2020. But whether the airport director Lütke Daldrup can confirm the opening date as planned in the early summer of 2019 now seems to be up in the air again. Even in 2019 after the fire system, the previous “headache”, will finally be completed, a new headache is emerging again — the wiring of the entire airport. Many defects have been discovered on the completely new cables which were laid in 2012 (botched construction). The cable ducts on the southern runway are almost completely under water. Instead of remedying deficiencies, too many new problems are being produced. Instead of being reported by the executing companies, the inspection is being “abused“.

The head of the airport has now proposed simplifying the construction regulations of the state of Brandenburg as has been done in other federal states, so that the operating permit can be issued by the scheduled opening date. The Brandenburg Minister of Construction Schneider opposes this, but may be willing to grant permission, provided that at least all safety-relevant deficiencies are resolved (the others will follow later). In the past, Christians have repeatedly gathered to pray for the new BER airport and its commissioning. Let’s not stop!

Prayer:

  • Pray for quick detection and error-free investigation of all remaining defects
  • Pray that good solutions for issuing the operating permit can be found
  • Pray that the opening in October 2020 can actually take place

Diesel Ban in Berlin?

A diesel driving ban for a small part of the city ring along the A 100 highway by the radio tower is imminent. This motorway section is the busiest section of highway in Germany with more than 200,000 vehicles a day. The permissible value limit for air pollution is already being exceeded. The section between Kaiserdamm and ICC is affected by the possible driving ban for diesel vehicles. According to a ruling by the Administrative Court, the Senate must take measures by the end of March 2019 to comply with the limit. However, a diesel driving ban on such a short section of the highway hardly seems practicable let alone enforceable.

Prayer:

  • Pray that a practical solution can be found to reduce air pollution, including the section on the A 100 highway

Raids on Left-Wing Radicals

In Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg and Neukölln 560 officials officially searched four apartments. The police union said: „It is absolutely necessary to consistently tackle criminal offences, also in this area.” After the raid, residents of the homes that had been searched called for violence against police officers. Retaliation acts are feared.

Prayer:

  • Pray for protection for residents and all police working in the Rigaer Street area
  • Pray for divine intervention to pacify the entire district
  • Pray for understanding that violence is not the answer

Protection of the Christmas Markets

Two years ago, there was the gruesome attack with a truck on the Christmas market at the Gedächtniskirche. Since then, people have been more concerned about safety for the 70 different Christmas markets in Berlin. A security concept coordinated with the police and the fire brigade and approved by the respective district is in place for all markets. The market at the Gedächtniskirche has particularly high security.

Prayer

  • Pray for God’s protection over all Christmas markets and similar events
  • Pray that fear and insecurity will not dominate Berliners

Urban Research Series – Blockade as Common Ground

Many Berliners show a blockade attitude. „Instead of agreeing on something in common, they are often simply against it,“ notes innovation coach Arvin Schwerin. „Sometimes it seems to me that being against everything is the only thing that connects Berliners.“ This has also been scientifically studied by Professor Martina Loew, who researched several cities in terms of their „intrinsic logic“. Unlike other cities, where respondents can agree relatively easily on things like progress orientation or a good atmosphere in the city, Berliners cannot agree. „It seems most important that everyone is unique and that the city does not connect anything.“ Thus, good moderation and constructive joint decision-making are needed in all questions concerning public spaces.

Prayer:

  • Pray that commonality and uniqueness have a healthy balance
  • Pray that the perspective of what is best for the city is stronger than criticism and exaggerated individualism

ONE (EINS) Day of Prayer January 19

After the enthusiastic response in January 2018, „ONE in Christ – the prayer event for Berlin with the motto “Praying, celebrating, acting together” will take place for the second time. The invitation states: „We want to celebrate our unity and diversity and discover the beautiful treasure of different forms of prayer. To do this, we gather in the name of Jesus Christ and pray for the concerns of our city.“ The approximately 20 prayer stations will be accompanied by a short joint program. Then there is time for sharing while eating together. A prayer concert will conclude the even. Details below on dates!

Prayer:

  • Pray that celebrating unity in diversity will be successful, encouraging, and lead to sending

Keeping On: Homeless in Winter

In recent years, public transport operators opened certain subway stations to homeless people during the winter, but this year, this was not planned due to safety concerns. After tough conversations took place, the U-Bahn stations Moritzplatz and Lichtenberg are now open for emergency accommodation. The Senate Department for Social Affairs and the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) agreed on a model project in which the districts of Lichtenberg and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg as well as the Berlin City Mission and the Social Foundation Karuna are involved.

Dates

Dec. 6, 7pm: Hanukkah at the Brandenburg Gate, solidarity event for Jewish life

Dec. 12 and Jan. 9, 6pm: Prayer for the city politicians in front of the Rote Rathaus

Jan. 13-20: Evangelical Alliance Week of Prayer, dates at http://www.evangelische-allianz-berlin.de

Jan. 19, 3pm: ONE (EINS) – Prayer Event. 7pm prayer concert, EFG Schöneberg, Hauptstr. 125 A, 10827 Berlin. More: http://www.einsfürberlin.de

 

With this double issue for December and January, the editorial team wishes all prayer partners a happy Jesus birthday and a blessed 2019!

Download as PDF: November 2018

Good News: Campus Siemensstadt

An innovation campus of the Siemens Group is to be created on the old Siemens location. The Senate has agreed with the company on a first concept. The innovation campus is intended to strengthen the competitiveness of Berlin as a business location internationally and to accelerate digital transformation. Modern research and office capacities are to be created on the campus, but also apartments. The group employs about 11,000 people in Berlin and will invest 600 million euros in the first step of the conversion.

  • Thank God for the common concept and the large investment in the future viability of Berlin

Homeless in the Winter

The emergency shelter Lehrter Straße, operated by the Berlin City Mission, is the core of the network of the Berliner Kältehilfe. This emergency system offers 1,000 places in total in the capital – with the sole goal that homeless people do not freeze outside. 500 places were already made available on October 1; the remaining 500 places will be available beginning November 1st. Until the end of April, homeless people will thus be protected from dangerously cold temperatures. The number of homeless people currently living in Berlin on the streets is not known. Estimates range from 4,000 to 5,000, but there are probably more. This network of care includes large institutions such as the City Mission or Caritas, but also many local churches of both main-line denominations and other institutions. Many dozens of volunteers make breakfast, cook, take care of sick people, talk with the guests, and some drive the “Rescue Bus”. People can call the Bus if they see a homeless person suffering from the cold who needs help. The number of the Bus is: 0178 523 58 38 or 030 810 56 04 25. The most important contact point for help against the cold is the Lehrter Straße in the center of the City Mission, because it has the widest range of help. The medical care is very good, because there is a doctor’s office in the complex and many medical staff are available. Above all, wheelchair users will find peace and help here.
After much back-and-forth, the BVG (public transport company) is now opening certain rooms in subway stations at night for the homeless. They had originally rejected this for this winter due hygienic and safety reasons. But those who spend the night in shelters have a better place. The City Mission, for example, takes care of 120 people daily at the Frankfurter Allee S-Bahn and subway station in an air-inflated hall. There are medical helpers, good food every day with a choice of a vegetarian or meat meal, a washing machine, shaving cream, and shower gel. If a facility is full, people – if they want to – can be driven to shelters that still have room. (Source: Tagesspiegel 10/22)

Prayer:

  • Pray for a warm shelter for as many homeless as possible, so they do not freeze to death
  • Pray for further work on the elimination of the causes of homelessness
  • Pray for love, patience and perseverance for the full-time and volunteer helpers
  • Pray for blessing on the work of the Christian institutions, especially the City Mission

Portal for Complaints against Teachers

The Berlin AfD (right wing populist party) activated an online portal on October 22nd. Teachers are to be reported there who are „indoctrinating“ students against the AfD. The Senate Administration and many others have great reservations about such incitement to denounce. School senator Scheeres emphasized that it was „contrary to the school peace“ to make such a portal. In addition, this project brings back fateful memories of practices during the two disastrous dictatorship periods in our country.

Prayer

  • Pray that possibilities can be found to stop the portal
  • Pray for civic courage among students, teaching staff, supervisors and school authorities

Staff Shortage in Youth Welfare Offices

The youth welfare offices are responsible for many areas, for instance for the advance payment of alimony (applications have increased by 60% since 07/17), supervised living for young people, accommodation of children in foster families, child protection, day care, integration aids for children and adolescents with developmental delays and mental disorders, etc. In each area of responsibility of the Youth Welfare Office, case numbers have risen steadily in recent years, for instance, in integration assistance, as more and more children and adolescents come from dysfunctional families and need help in their development. More and more children need to be taken out of problem families to receive care and new accommodations, or there are unaccompanied minor refugees to look after.

Even if significantly more jobs are provided for these tasks, there are too few new people being hired to compensate for the lack of staff. The reason for this is because there are too few well-trained social workers, educators, administrative staff, etc. and they are under-paid, so that suitable applicants accept other better-paid job offers. In addition, there are too few training places, or they are too expensive.

Prayer:

  • Pray for new ideas for advertising and recruitment of professionals
  • Pray for suitable professionals who accept the job offers
  • Pray that the situation of children and young people in their families of origin improves enough so that they no longer need support

Seven Excellence Clusters in Berlin

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has recently approved seven cluster applications from Berlin. This makes Berlin the most successful region nationwide. Work is now underway on the next step, the joint application, because in mid-December 2018 the application must be submitted to the DFG and the Wissenschaftsrat. An example from the approved clusters is MATH +. It connects the major universities FU, HU and TU with the Weierstrass Institute for Applied Analysis and Stochastics, as well as the Zuse Institute Berlin in the research and development of new approaches of application-oriented mathematics. Central to this are the mathematic foundations for the use of increasingly large amounts of data in the life and material sciences, energy and network research or the human and social sciences. The aim is to promote technical innovation and a general understanding of social processes.

Prayer

  • Pray that as a result, Berlin will be more visible as a science location and more profitable for society locally and globally
  • Pray that in science the common will overcome individualism
  • Pray that ultimately the knowledge of God will increase through research

Israeli-German Festival

The Israeli-German Festival took place from October 12 to 18. In small film sequences Berlin Jews told why they came to Berlin and what they have experienced here. However, there is no reasonably uniform Berlin-Jewish identity. People live here for a variety of reasons.

Prayer

  • Pray for the protection of the diverse Jewish life in Berlin
  • Pray that Israelis and Germans will get to know one another better and be good neighbours

Bridge Renovation

Eleven out of a total of 258 bridges in Berlin for which the federal government is responsible, must be renovated in the foreseeable future due to their poor condition. The bridges are regularly scored on a scale of one to four. Eleven Berlin bridges have received the grade „three“. This rating indicates that a bridge needs to be renovated. This is already planned for most of them. In Berlin there are a total of 1,085 bridges for road, foot or bicycle traffic. The bridges are repeatedly examined with regard to their stability, traffic safety and durability (source: rbb24 10/17).

Prayer:

  • Pray for wise decisions about the date of the renovation and if necessary the closing of bridges
  • Pray for God’s protection from collapse catastrophes

Keeping On: Clan Crime

As part of the cross-departemental overall strategy, the district office Neukölln is launching a district program for dropping out of criminal clan structures. In addition to the direct fight against crime, the exit from these structures should be as simple and attractive as possible. The rule of law should support people in the move to legality.

Dates

Nov. 10, 4pm: Solidarity rally for Israel at the Brandenburg Gate  

Nov. 10, 2:30-5:30pm: Evangelical Alliance Berlin Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians, EFG, Tempelhofer Damm 133-137, 12099 B-Tempelhof

Nov. 14, 6pm: Prayer for City Politicians in front of the Rote Rathaus
Dec. 12, 6pm: Chanukka at the Brandenburger Gate, Solidarity event for Jewish life in Berlin

 

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Download as PDF: October 2018

Good News: Berlin is growing slower

Berlin continues to grow, but not as dynamically as in previous years. This is good news given the acute housing shortage. The population increased by an average of almost 50,000 people a year from 2011 to 2016, in 2017 there was an increase of only 38,665 (Statistical Office Berlin-Brandenburg). At this rate of growth, Berlin will probably not reach more than four million inhabitants before 2030. Since the fall of the wall, there has been the same trend: the population of Berlin with a German passport is shrinking; the proportion of foreigners had risen to 17.6 percent at the end of last year. 193 (!) nationalities are now represented in Berlin. (Tagesspiegel 9/18)

  • Thank God for this population development and for the coexistence of the nations

Acute: Security Situation during the State Visit of Erdogan

From September 27 to 29 the Turkish President Erdogan will be on a state visit to Berlin. He is known to be controversial because of his autocratic rule and disregard of fundamental rights. Numerous demonstrations against the visit are registered, partly with potential for violence. Interior Senator Andreas Geisel (SPD) said: „These are difficult days that will push us to the limits of our capacity.“ During the state visit, the highest security level applies. As usual, the Berlin police will have reinforcements from other federal states and from the Federal Police, also because in the following days there are more large-scale operations of the police during the top match of the Bundesliga Hertha Berlin against Bayern Munich and because of the celebrations around October 3rd.

Prayer

  • Pray for God’s special protection over the city during these days
  • Pray for non-violent demos and good police tactics

“Only with you” – 28 Years Unity

The 28th day of German Re-unification will be celebrated in the capital in original settings of this historically unique process, which is still a miracle of God in the midst of our history and city. ONLY WITH YOU – this is the motto for the Day of German Unity. Since 1991, central celebrations for October 3rd have been organized in the federal state which has Federal Council Presidency, which changes annually. In 2018 it is Berlin. The celebration will take place from October 1 to 3 around the Brandenburg Gate and in frontof the Reichstag, where unified Germany began in 1990. Together with many hundreds of partners, a colourful programme will be offered on three days. In addition to political bodies, museums and foundations, volunteer projects, initiatives and associations will also be on the spot. Unfortunately (as far as known) no own programme contributions of the churches and Christian organisations came about. But at the opening there is an ecumenical service in the Berlin Cathedral. Info: https://www.tag-der-deutschen-einheit.berlin.de/

Prayer

  • Thank God for the miracle of unity and freedom, even after 28 years
  • Pray that courage and hope for the future will grow out of grateful remembrance

Prayer for Schools

We regularly report on specific prayer requests that affect our more than 700 schools in Berlin. It is clear: schools need prayer! An initiative of various prayer initiatives calls for every school in Germany to be surrounded by prayer of a church. According to information from „Moms in Prayer“, parent prayer groups for 11 schools in Berlin are known. So there is „still room for improvement“.

Prayer:

  • Pray for more prayer sponsorships for schools
  • Pray for prayer support, especially for Christian teachers in hotspot schools

More unfit teachers

There is a shortage of teachers in the capital. Berlin not only has a deficit in new teachers, but there is also a massive loss of teachers by premature retirement due to illness or disability. There has been a failure to train sufficient new teachers on time. Also, teaching in Berlin is not very attractive because there is a lack of the possibility to become a civil servant.

Prayer

  • Pray for more places at universities for education majors and the opportunity to become civil servants
  • Pray for the protection of teachers from excessive demand and burnout

More Protection for Cyclists

So far, ten cyclists have died in road traffic in Berlin this year, most of them by turning trucks. For a long time, the installation of so-called turn-assistants in trucks has been required, but that has so far failed due to technical problems and allegedly too high costs, and there is still no national or European legislation for it. The Berliner Stadtreinigung (BSR) is now setting a good example. Already 46 newly ordered garbage trucks are to be equipped with a turn-assistant. In addition, different systems will be tested by the end of the year – for example, with radar and 360-degree cameras. The other municipal companies in Berlin are to follow.

Prayer

  • Pray that the number of trucks with turn- assistants would rise rapidly
  • Pray that turn-assistants would soon be obligatory
  • Pray for the protection of cyclists in traffic

Care-givers from Albania and Mexico

Around 2,600 care-givers are missing in Berlin. In an attempt to tackle the shortage of skilled workers, the Charité University Hospital has been seeking care-givers and nurses from Albania since 2017. Over 75 Albanian employees have since been obtained through this program. Nursing is a field of study at the university level in Albania – as in many other countries. But before the care-givers are allowed to work in Germany, they still have to do additional training, learn German and pass the appropriate exams. Each year, 60 new nurses will come in the future. From the point of view of the Nursing Director, the program is so good that she intends to get nurses from Mexico soon, despite copious bureaucratic hurdles. (rbb 24, 9/25.)

Prayer

  • Pray for further creative ideas to solve the problem of the nursing crisis
  • Pray for good integration of the foreign care-givers

Razor Blades on Playground

Several times in the past weeks dangerous objects were found on the playground at Arnimplatz in Prenzlauer Berg. The playground was repeatedly blocked off and cleaned. Since razor blades were once again found, the playground is closed again. The district office has commissioned a cleaning company to clean the sand this week in the deeper layers. In recent weeks, in addition to the razor blades, broken glass and needles have been found in the sand. The police are investigating for attempted assault. Just a week ago, a woman injured herself in the playground with a needle in her foot as she played with her children in the sand. At the beginning of August, thumbtacks were found on the playground. City council Vollrad Kuhn suspects that the perpetrators may be local residents who feel disturbed by the children. Pankow’s district mayor Sören Benn condemned the acts in the „Berliner Morgenpost“ as „antisocial behaviour“. Anyone who does this should move away. (Tagesspiegel 9/17)

Prayer

  • Pray for rapid investigative success
  • Pray for more child friendliness among residents
  • Pray that God brings the hearts of the perpetrators to repentance

Keeping On: Clan Crime

Following the brutal murder of a clan member on Sept. 10, clashes between hostile Arab-born family clans continue to take place. The inner committee of the Berlin Parliament is now dealing with the topic and is looking for ways to put an end to the machinations of the clans. The mayor of Neukölln complains that „extreme brutality endangers social peace“, and that, as Hikel added, problems arise because the rest of the population lumps all Arab fellow-citizens into the same group and considers them all to be criminal. Some ideas are being examined such as the exchange of information between the authorities, by applications for welfare, the registration of businesses or in tax investigation. Taking away custody of children from these families is also being discussed

Prayer

  • Pray that all legal options will be fully exploited
  • Pray that social peace will not be endangered
  • Pray for wisdom and good cooperation between the responsible authorities

Dates

Prayer for City Politicians: Oct. 10, 6pm, in front of the Rotes Rathaus

„Moms in Prayer“ Informational meeting: Oct. 138, 10:00-12:30, Mavuno Berlin, Billy-Wilder-Promenade 4, 14167 Berlin
Registration: manuela.woldt@momsinprayer

Download as PDF: September 2018

Good News 1: Hotspot schools

Both preschool teachers and teachers in schools should benefit from the more than 17 million Euros that the Red-Red-Green government earmarked in the 2018/19 dual budget for salary supplements in special schools. According to this, around 2,000 teachers could receive about an additional 300 Euros per month. No such specific sum has been named for preschool teachers, but they can anticipate a salary raise as well.

  • Thank God for this specific measure

Good News 2: 41 Million for Berlin

Previously, the state had to prove that personal assets had been acquired illegally. A year ago this was reversed. Last year, this brought 41.5 million Euros to Berlin, and at the same time, it helped to combat organized crime. This did not even include 77 properties worth 9.3 million Euros possessed by an Arab family clan which were confiscated by the public prosecutor’s office in July. The new Berlin police chief Barbara Slowik announced that criminal parts of Arab clans would continue to be thoroughly investigated. More in the next article!

  • Thank God for the investigative success and the additional funds available to Berlin’s budget

Organized Crime

When the report of the Federal Criminal Office on Organized Crime in Germany was presented, it became clear that Berlin, with 68 cases, occupied second place. This is an increase of about 11% compared to the previous year. In particular, German-Arabian extended families are active in Berlin. It is believed that six clans are active in organized crime, but also Eastern European groups, for example from Bulgaria or Russia. A year ago, the burden of proof was reversed in this area. Thus, in raids in April and July assets of „unclear origin“ were able to be confiscated. These included real estate and luxury cars (see Good News). During the searches weapons and drugs also confiscated. Organized crime refers to systematic offenses (drug and human trafficking, theft and stealing) in combination with attempted influence on politics, administration and justice.

Prayer:

  • Pray for protection for the responsible policemen in department 4 of the state criminal police
  • Pray that the machinations and mafia structures will be uncovered and result in court cases
  • Pray for protection of Arab families suffering from clans (protection racket)
  • Pray that young family members will get out of these clans and not pursue a criminal career

 

Meeting Places with Immigrants

In the department „Transformation of Urban Spaces in an International Context“ at the Technical University of Berlin, Prof. Felicitas Hillmann is investigating how the integration of migrants into urban society can succeed and serve the growing city. „Quite often it is the marginal places where there are fewer regulations, more poverty, and therefore more risks and inconveniences in living together, that will be the starting point for such processes of change.“ In Berlin, such low-threshold places that facilitate the exchange between the most diverse people are district offices and public spaces, such as swimming pools, but also museums and libraries have the same potential. Since there is currently a lack of young people in many areas of public life (clubs, political parties and fire departments, etc.), this is where the connection could be made in a very practical way. Then what Hillmann calls „crocheted integration“ happens, but she sees the low amount of affordable housing as a big stumbling block in Berlin.

Prayer:

  • Pray for the creation of these low-threshold places which would foster encounters between diverse people
  • Pray for many encounters between new Berliners with a migration background and old Berliners
  • Pray for the establishment of a social attitude of „together“

 

Christians in the Startup-Scene

Berlin is known as highest-revenue startup scene in Germany. With around 100,000 employees, startups are one of the biggest employers in the city. To further the potential of this scene and to make it a blessing for our city, a new initiative called „Startup.life“ was launched under the umbrella of „Gemeinsam für Berlin“. The goal is to connect Christians within the startup scene in order to discover possible joint activity for the city. The 140 tickets for the first Meetup on Sept. 3 have already all been sold. Among other things, a mentoring program, co-working spaces and city-related projects are planned mid-term (www.startuplife.berlin).

Prayer:

  • Pray that as many Christians as possible in the startup scene are reached through the project and become visible as a community
  • Pray that the project becomes a blessing for the city
  • Pray for the emergence of sustainable work that contributes to a measurable improvement of current deplorable situations in Berlin

City Planning in Berlin

The search for a place to live in Berlin is getting more and more difficult. Families with children, seniors and students are particularly affected. Berlin desperately needs affordable living space. Urban planning should place social demands higher than the profit-oriented interests of investors. „What’s missing is a vision,“ says the Weimar professor of urban planning, Steffen de Rudder.

Prayer:

  • Pray for Building Senator Katrin Lompscher to see and correct mistakes and effectively advance housing construction
  • Pray that urban planning is not ruled by money, but rather that social aspects receive appropriate attention
  • Pray for an inspired vision of life in the future in Berlin with quality of life and human closeness

New Airport Opening?

The opening of the BER was originally planned for 2007 – since then there have been six delays. In light of this background, it is difficult to have confidence in the next planned opening date at the end of October 2020. In June 2018, the Red-Red-Green Senate determined that there would be no more funding from the Senate for the BER, as there is no urgent need for additional funding. A „Plan B“ to the opening of the airport in October 2020 was also rejected. Despite the problems with the sprinkler system, the fire alarm systems with 30,000 smoke detectors, cable systems and smoke ventilation control system, the Senate is holding on to the opening date, since the company Siemens wants to have these problems resolved by December 2018. Critics see the adherence to the planned opening date negatively, for instance SPD traffic expert Jörg Stroedter: „The commitment of FBB that the main terminal can go online in 2020, remains a pure question of faith.“ That’s a good opportunity for faith and prayer!

Prayer:

  • Lord, we believe that nothing is impossible for you: intervene so that the BER can be opened as planned!
  • Pray that the executing companies can solve all problems on schedule
  • Pray that the available funds are sufficient and used responsibly and purposefully
  • Pray for thorough and conscientious execution of all work, so that the building inspection control can quickly grant approval

Slow Internet

A survey by the Berlin Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) shows that every third Berlin company needs faster internet than it currently has available. The internet is simply too slow. If Berlin does not master the lame internet, the economic development of the city is in jeopardy.

Prayer:

  • Pray that Economics Senator Ramona Pop will set the right course
  • Pray for wise economic development in the city which will secure the livelihood for many

 

Keeping On:  Extremism

According to Homeland Security, extremist groups in Berlin are continuing to increase. The „Tagesspiegel“ citing the as yet un-published Annual Report 2017 reports that the numbers rose again: Salafists by 12%, so-called Reich Citizens 25%, supporters of the left-wing organization „Red Help“ 11%. An ongoing concern!

 

Dates

  • Prayer for City Politicians: September 12, 6pm in front of the Rote Rathaus
  • March for Life: September 22, 1:00-5:30pm start is at the Reichstag and ends with a worship service

 

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Download as PDF: July/August 18

Good news: Synagogue Fraenkelufer

The synagogue on Fraenkelufer was badly damaged during the pogroms in 1938. After a demolition in the 50s, there was only the side wing left, where the local synagogue community currently accommodates all their activities. SPD parliamentary leader Raed Saleh (of Muslim origin!) has won well-known and influential supporters for a planned reconstruction. A multi-purpose community centre is planned.

Prayer:

  • Thank God for active Jewish life in Berlin and for the broad support for the construction project

500 Teachers will be missing next school year

Dramatic forecast for the school year 2018/19: There are an additional 7,000 students; 3,000 teachers are needed. But the market is empty. According to education senator Sandra Scheeres, SPD, 500 to 600 teachers will be missing after the summer holidays in the Berlin schools. The training capacity of the Berlin Universities for new teachers has been doubled to 2,000 graduating students per year, but the big first momentum comes in two years. So far, Berlin has relied mainly on the recruitment of transfers from other professions. Other measures: Retrieve teachers from retirement, increase salaries, postpone retirement, volunteer to teach for more hours, employ less qualified teaching assistants, send student teachers to elementary schools. The already poor education standard at Berlin schools will be additionally burdened by the lack of staff.

Prayer:

  • Pray for a rapid and effective increase of educational staff
  • Pray that the negative consequences for students will be limited

Children in Traffic – Fatal Accidents

On June 12, a 13-year-old girl in Rummelsburg was hit by a tram and died; on June 13, in Spandau an 8-year-old boy died when a truck turned right and overlooked him. In 2017 there were a total of 917 accidents involving children, 157 children were seriously injured and one child died. Such news affects us deeply, and people ask why and look for ways to prevent such accidents from occurring. About 64 percent of the accidents involving were caused by their own behavior. Thus the children’s traffic education plays an important role. As a preventative measure, the transportation industry has begun to drive lorries to schools to show the pupils how limited the driver’s view is. Turning assistance (camera and sensor monitoring) for the vehicles are being developed and already installed, but this technique is not mature. The installation is not yet mandatory and is too expensive for many trucking companies.

Prayer:

  • Pray for protection for all children in the traffic on the streets
  • Pray for comfort for the parents of victims and the accident drivers
  • Pray for effective remedies (mirrors, traffic light phases, street signs, traffic flow)

Expansion of Administration and Housing Construction is stagnating

Unfortunately, there was hardly any progress on the urgent topics at the Senate retreat at the end of June. The three parties of the coalition have so far failed to agree on the implementation of the 115 proposals from the report of an expert commission on administrative reform. Also, the criticism of Senator Lompscher continues, because the urgently needed boost in housing construction remains far behind the self-imposed targets.

Prayer:

  • Pray for more unity in the Senate
  • Pray for ideas and acceleration in administrative reforms and housing construction

Dates

July 4-7, daily beginning 2pm: „ICK BRAUCH KEEN HAWAII“ Youth Festival on the Tempelhofer Feld. Attractive youth and family programs every afternoon with sports, music and art. Evangelistic worship services in the evenings. Saturday afternoon „Dance Battle“. Prayer support continues to be very welcome!
Prayer for City politicians: July 11 and August 15, 6pm, in front of the Rote Rathaus

Because of time constraints, this double issue July/August has only one page with just a list of current concerns. Please continue to pray for Berlin during the holiday season! The next issue will be published the end of August. The editors wish all prayer partners a restful and safe summer!

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