Thursday, October 30
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Convinced that the first step toward reconciliation following the Nazi atrocities of World War II had to be made by the perpetrators and their descendants, Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ARSP) was founded in 1958 with the Protestant Church in Germany acknowledging Germany’s guilt for Nazi crimes as part of a public appeal. The group also set forth a concrete response. The ARSP would not offer assistance but instead ask if it could help. This attitude, a rejection of paternalism, indicated a readiness to get wholly involved—to learn by doing and by dialogue.
Since 1968, more than 700 ARSP volunteers have also worked in the United States. After World War II, young American volunteers from the historic peace churches came to a destroyed Europe to work in refugee camps and settlements for displaced persons. In the late 1960s, when the Vietnam War was at its peak and the United States was struggling to overcome racism, American church groups invited young, highly motivated German volunteers, believing that they could learn from each other, since both nations faced similar problems of racism and militarism.
Every year ARSP offers 20 summer camps in 10 European countries for young people from around the world. The participants work, learn, and celebrate together by restoring Jewish graveyards and memorial sites, supporting antiracism projects, or working with people with disabilities. For more information, visit.
—Burkhard Paetzold, PC(USA) regional liaison for Central Europe/Roma Ministry
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) People in Mission
Burkhard Paetzold, regional liaison for Central Europe/Roma Ministry, Presbyterian World Mission • Berliner Missionswerk: Alan Smith, coordinator of minority outreach, Evangelism and Church Twinning Project • Black Forest Academy: James and Nancy Adams, school administrators • Iranian Presbyterian Church in Berlin: Ryan White, ministry with Iranian Refugees, Alethia White, team ministry • Iranian Presbyterian Fellowship in Europe: Azizollah Sadaghiani, refugee worker, Rev. Sadegh Sepehri, minister, Reformed Bethlehem Church
Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD): Präses Dr. Nikolaus Schneider, council chair • Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz: Bishop Dr. Markus Dröge • Union of Evangelical Churches in the EKD: Bishop Dr. Ulrich Fischer, chair • Evangelisches Missionswerk in Germany: Rev. Christoph Anders, director • Diakonisches Werk, Hoffnung für Osteuropa: Cornelia Füllkrug-Weitzel, chair • Berliner Missionswerk: Kirchenrat Roland Herpich, director, Dr. Christoph Theilemann, ecumenical relations and world mission, Wolfgang Iskraut, liaison for Eastern Europe • Berliner Stadtmission: Rev. Hans-Georg Filker, director • Reformierter Bund Germany: D. Peter Bukowski, moderator, Jörg Schmidt, general secretary • Reformed Diakonie: Rev. Dietmar Arends, chair • European Diaconal Year Network: John Stringham, director
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Dottie Smith, PMA
Let us pray
Reconciling God, we ask your blessing on young people who work together and discover a new and peaceful path. Give courage to those who keep our historic memory awake and stand against new forms of racism and violence. Amen.