While visiting the central Evangelical church in Osnabrück, Germany, I picked up a flyer about “Kirchenpädadogik” which fascinated me. Literally Kirchenpädagogik means “Church education” or more freely translated “The church building as a resource for learning”.
The Evangelical Church District of Osnabrück has a number of trained Church Educators who run a programme in their churches. This programme is aimed at various target groups from young children to adolescents and adults and covers a wide range of topics (more than twenty all told) under these headings: guided tours of the church, architecture, history, faith and religion. Here are just a few examples of individual themes: the work of the architect and the builders; a historical figure in costume tells the history of the church; Jesus as portayed in the church; Our Lady portrayed in the church (windows, statues, stations of the cross, etc.); the font and the importance of names; animals as Christian symbols; the meaning of Christmas (the crib, trees, portayals of the birth of Christ, etc.); …
Each session lasts between one and three hours and can be booked by school classes, youth or adult groups, and a variety of methods of learning with heart, head and hand are offered:
- hymn singing
- candlelight processions
- looking for symbols
- understanding statues, etc.
- story telling
- drawing and painting
- drafting a new church window
- bible study
I am really enthusiastic about this wonderful initiative. What a fantastic way of evangelising and especially of bringing people into the church. What do you think?