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Projects


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Out of the many submitted applications already eight projects are supported by LIGHTHOUSE. All of them derive from experiences made in the United States which are transferred innovatively and experimentally for German pastoral care.

Rev. Ludger Molitor
Training of Cantors / Liturgical Excellence

Statement
"When I was in the United States what struck me most was the liturgical excellence. They celebrate very deliberately, they prepare well and have faith in the liturgy. Especially the way Americans use church music is inspiring. There was one mass where a cantor performed the psalms - and a shiver ran down my spine. I thought: 'Why is this voluntary ministry so behind in Germany? Why do we deny the German churchgoers the beauty of this music?' When I heard of LIGHTHOUSE I made an application for this project immediately. Today we train cantors - and though we are still at the beginning of this project we already notice the enrichment."

Idea of Project

We are looking for volunteers that have the confidence to do the service of a cantor. These people receive a special training. Moreover, the liturgical backgrounds will be explained theologically and spiritually. We purchase scores from the United States and adapt them into the German liturgy. There is a close cooperation with the department for church music of the diocese of Essen.

Innovation
The project 'Training of Cantors' starts at an important point for pastoral change: the quality of the liturgy. Often a bad prepared or careless celebrated mass scares off people permanently. Especially the quality but also the style of the church music belongs to the most important factors for an attractive mass. The pastoral innovation of this project is an increased liturgical quality with the help of the cantors. This way a new service that has not been used sufficiently in the German church until now will be discovered and tested. New church music influences will be adapted. The voluntary participation of laypeople will be strengthened too.

First experiences and further information
A first result of the learning processes that emerged out of the cantor project was a journey to the United States in the fall of 2011.
This is the link to the parish: www.st-josef-ruhrhalbinsel.de
You can read about Father Molitor's experiences in his report (2006-4).

Rev. Matthias Hembrock
The Parish Office as Pastoral Service Center

Statement
"In 2007 I got the chance to be part of the CrossingOver project and therefore completed a stay in the Queens of All Saints' parish. I was impressed by the American parish including the rich liturgy, the hospitality, the engagement of the volunteers in many lay ministries. Still the organization of the parish office inspired me most. The rectory, which seems very professionally organized, has two offices: one 'front office', where the parishioner's concerns are taken care of, and one 'back office', where the pastoral team and the parish staff work."

Idea of Project
Against the background of the recent parish development and organization Matthias Hembrock and his staff shaped one central parish office from the three smaller offices in the St. Regina's parish. The new office was established in a new environment. Aim is a new communicative transparency of processes and responsibilities, a consistent working routine in the subsidiary offices, an efficient service culture within the team, the committees and the volunteers, and a sensible improvement of the quality concerning the time spend in the pastoral office.
Parking spots are provided, the opening hours are adjusted to the visitors. With the "front- and back-office-structure" hospitality and working efficiency  can be improved.

Innovation
The project "The Parish Office as Pastoral Service Center" forms a typical German weakness into a pastoral strength. The automatism of the church tax promotes a thinking of authority and a certainty of coverage no matter what. Unprofessionalism, unfriendliness and a certain lethargy are often consequences of the lack of incentives. Often parish offices do not have a good reputation: they are considered to be uncommunicative, dull and non-transparent. Consequently it is even more innovative to form thee need into a strength. The pastoral Service Center in Drensteinfurt raises hope for a new approach of pastoral care that takes the people, the committees and the volunteers seriously and serves them without losing that kind of humanity one may expect from a pastoral office.

First experiences and further information
Even though the project is rather young it already has accomplished the status of a model project in the diocese of M├╝nster.
This is the link to the parish: www.katholische-kirche-drensteinfurt.de
You can read about Father Hembrock's experiences in his report (2007-5).


Florian Sobetzko
New Forms of Evangelization through Performances

Statement
"Chicago inspired me very much. When I started planning my stay in 2009 I quickly realized I'd also have to visit the places that are not Catholic or less Catholic to get into the full Christian panorama of the religious scene in Chicago. With the help of blogs and small forums on emerging churches I made contacts to Christian actors in the urban environment. Among other things a New Yorker Jazz Church and street communions in Boston aroused my interest and in Chicago I went looking for new reference points between Willow Creek, Hip Hop Church, LGBT parishes, street preachers, Free Churches, Methodists and Mexican house church founders.
The Urban Village Church has been an idea of a young Methodist priest announced in his blog before my arrival to Chicago. The Church has been founded with ten members in his living room and since then develops into an impressive faith community I still learn from in view of communication of faith.
What fascinates me most: the professional and extroverted use of music in liturgy. The sound. The performance, the rhetoric, the liturgical forms, the light, the aesthetics as a whole. It doesn't matter if it is a gigantic church, a well established parish or the starting of a new faith community: music is prayer and is the central point. To speak new languages and to sing. Church for beginners. Church for post-seekers. To learn from others and to start something new.
Caution - extreme awesomeness!"

Idea of Project
Following the experiences from the USA we have started to develop forms of liturgy that will especially reach young adults in downtown Aachen. Based on the infrastructure and the logistics of the house church project 'kafarna:um' this is about performatively strong church appearances that show and express the typical urban styles of life and aesthetics. Elements of such a form of liturgy are the use of new music, professional graphics, precisely fitting event technology and explicit public relations. Depending on the process we work with elements of dance theater. Examples may be summer night services in urban backyard ambience, music sessions with worship character, basement meetings or lounge mass in club atmosphere. Furthermore, with the help of streaming such forms of mass in the internet virtual communities may be reached and established as well by using social networks like facebook, twitter, ping et al.

Innovation
Aside from the innovative overall system of the youth church 'kafarna:um' it is especially the decision to use a complete unexpected form of liturgy for the target group that constitutes the innovation of this project. The connection between mega church and house church experiences promises a still untested form of liturgy. The determined use of media, event and presentation technology meets the need for aesthetics and quality of young downtown citizens. The analysis of the target group does not assume a search for religious orientation of any kind, but is confidently aimed at post-seekers who do not expect anything relevant by the church and whose attention has to be earned anew. Furthermore, innovation is the open attitude towards learning, e.g. from Anglican or free church founding experiments like emerging church, church for beginners or Cologne worship night. And all this is not about simple concertante performances that are wrongly declared as being liturgical. Decisive is a clear vote for evangelization and for the common discovery and communication of faith.

First experiences and further information
As is customary for performance projects there is already much to look at. The youth church 'kafarna:um' maintains a very extensive and humorous internet presence together with newsletter, blogs, tubes and much more. This is the link: www.kafarnaum.de.
An interview by sinnstifermag with project founder Florian Sobetzko can be found here (in German).

Rev. Dr. Wolfgang Beck / Deacon Ingo Langner
To Experience the Voluntary Year of Social Service as Vocation

Statement
"Working in Campus Ministry I was interested in how in the USA pastoral care approaches young adults - one of the most challenging groups concerning meaning of life, faith and church. Especially the personal and the diocesan commitment in the field of young adult ministries fascinated me when I was there. I learned a lot from the ways the parishes and projects of the archdiocese of Chicago use to work in this field. One example is the 'Amate House': a diocesan project which offer students after their bachelor degree the possibility to form a household for one year and to contribute to social projects. The young adults are accompanied spiritually and biographically and this way they get a feedback for vital questions, career plans and development of faith.
Something like this should be existent in Germany, some kind of a 'soul side house'. And, well, that is what we in Hannover drove forth."

Idea of Project
Four young people who decide to do a Voluntary Year of Social Service and who want to try the Christian way of living form a household. They orientate themselves by the spirituality of Francis of Assisi and experiment with the simple lifestyle. Basis is the mutual obligation between participant and the team based on a contract. Housekeeping is done together. Once a week the small community meets for a common evening to talk, cook and pray. An organizational as well as spiritual guidance is ensured by the team of SoulSideHouse, Reverend Beck and deacon Langner, by their mere presence, by inviting guests who talk about their job or their way of living or by inviting to orientation days. The aim is to find a place where questions concerning life and career arise, grow and may be further developed.

Innovation
The Voluntary Year of Social Service has been popular for a long time for young graduates. Especially for women it is an attractive time that was used as orientation when questions regarding apprenticeship or jobs or the way of living aroused. After the abolition of compulsory military service and alternative service the Year of Social Service will be used in the future by men too. But many of these programs (Year of Social Service as well as the Voluntary Ecological Year) amount to nothing more than provision of logistics. This often leads to disappointments regarding questions of the way of living, self-discovery and vocation. Here the innovation of the SoulSideHouse starts. Young people will be approached with regard to their context, questions coming from a challenging job for example. The proportion between self determination and duties within the community consider the needs of both aspects. It is not the aim to establish a small monastery but a living community consisting of people that are to find their own way of life. The SoulSideHouse takes into consideration that young people today need to learn to be Christians again and to do so it offers a place of learning where the well known elements of church tradition are recombined in a demanding yet discrete mode: to live in a community, the self-discovery and the personal accompaniment on this way.

First experiences and further information
The SoulSideHouse is part of an initiative called 'SoulSideLinden'. The first inhabitants of the house have moved in. You can already take a look at our internet presence: www.soul-side-house.de.
You can read about Father Beck's experiences in his report (2008-1) and you find Ingo Langner's experiences in his report (2009-8).

Rev. Johannes Arntz
Volunteering in Parish Life

Statement
"When observing US parishes it is striking to see how many different people feel called to serve the parish and engage themselves in various ministries. I am impressed that the people in charge of the lay ministries leave nothing to chance when accompanying, advising and qualifying the work of the volunteers. During my stay in St. Norbert in Northbrook there was one member of staff working with the youth, two people in charge of catechesis and one staff member working for the sick and grieving. Their main tasks were the coordination and guidance of the volunteers helping in the different working fields. Their work was independent, creative and it supported the pastors in the parish. Since I did not know of any German parish that provides a professional for the coordination of the volunteer work, I came to the conclusion: We in Raesfeld will be the first!"

Idea of Project
Within the scope of a 400-Euro job there is one staff member who keeps track of all volunteer work of the St. Martin's parish in Raesfeld and Rhedebr├╝gge. The different volunteer activities are surveyed and profiled. Within the new panorama it is easier to arrange further training, to find new volunteers and to work on public relation. The person in charge of the volunteer organisation is a full staff member.

Innovation
The project "volunteering in parish life" emphazises a dimension, which is without exaggeration of great importance for the Catholic Church in Germany. Regarding the declining amount of resources like money, personell, building facilities, etc. it becomes quite clear what has been clarified theologically a long time ago: Pastoral care is not a matter of the full-time staff members, who "let" the volunteers help. The sustainability of pastoral care depends on the lay people and the pastoral staff of a parish can develop a feeling of mutual responsibility towards the Christian life in the parish. By implementing a member of the pastoral staff to take care of the volunteer work the responsibilities within the parish become more obvious, get vitalized and intensified. With the project the "universal priesthood of the faithful" (Lumen Gentium 10) was activated and put into practice through strategies of US-Catholic volunteering which were adapted for the German Catholic Church.

First experiences and further information
The project has started in 2009. It was surprising how many volunteer activities could actually be catalogued in the spring of  2010. By now the new volunteer coordinator has worked her way into the job very well.
You can read about Father Arntz' experiences in his report (2006-1) and on the St. Martin's parish homepage www.stmartin-raesfeld.de.

Cordula Holte / Kai Kaczikowski
Touch and go - Faith Courses for Young Adults

Statement
"The project 'Theology on Tap' in Chicago appealed to me because for over 30 years now it succeeds in bringing two different worlds together. I am sure that there are young people here in Germany that are interested in talking about their life and faith in a relaxed atmosphere with like-minded people. There are many offerings for children and teens in our parishes but young adults tend to come off badly. The concept of 'Touch and go' follows the concept that everybody is invited and does not need to attend every evening. I hope we can approach some young adults and touch and enrich their faith in this way."

Idea of Project
A brewhouse in Bottrop is going to become the place where young adults can talk about their faith on four evenings. Following the role-model of the US American course program "Theology on Tap", an invited speaker will illustrate a question of faith regarding its relevance for her / his life. One question may for example deal with the celibacy: Why is it so important for the church tradition? Another speaker will deal with his work as a Military Chaplain. The evenings are no series but may be attended individually.

Innovation
The place, the topic and the target group of this project are innovative. The target group is young adults. This is the population group which has nearly nothing to do with the offers from the church (see www.milieus-kirche.de/jugend-U27.html). The psychological and sociological challenges (like career management, permanent relationship, biographically great decisions, relocation, self-awareness and so on) are extremely dominant so they usually do not have time to find their own faith. In addition young adults cannot find a place very often in a typical parish. Many parishes hope that a sacrament like marriage or the baptism of possible children will be a reason for the young adults to reconnect with the church. Consequently they overlook that such an attitude confirms that the church is not substantially relevant for young adults.
"Touch and go" approaches young adults on a local basis. We know that young adults have a great aesthetic distance to church performances and accordingly we won't get them into a church environment but we have to meet them where they use to meet. The positive signal: church shows up at an unfamiliar place, church takes risks, advertizes itself and makes itself comparable.
Regarding the content: No participant needs to be afraid to be drawn into group dynamics or intimate forms of communication. Everybody is able to decide about  the intensity oft the controversy. Who wants to talk on an existential level can do so and who does not can stop it. There is no pastoral weight of expectation but the wish of dedicatet members of the church to learn more about the life, faith and thinking of young adults.

First experiences and further information
The project "Touch and go" has started in November 2010. First experiences have been made in February 2011. Because of the great success the project continued in 2012. This is where you can find information on "Theology on Tap".
Both the reports of Cordula Holte (2009-3) and Kai Kaczikowski (2009-5) examine how pastoral care for youth and young adults is shaped in the USA.

Rev. Kai Reinhold / Elisabeth Keilmann-Stadtler
Mobile Narthex in front of the Church

Statement
"'You are welcome.' This is the leading impression we got from all the American parishes. We experienced hospitality and honesty in many parishes of the archdiocese of Chicago. Full-time pastoral staff members and institutionalized voluntary services like the 'greeters' and 'ushers' contribute to the experience of hospitality. Most of the recent new built churches have a narthex, a meeting place in front of the liturgical room. Again and again we learned that churchgoers stayed together after mass and got into conversation with each other in an uncomplicated way. Coffee and doughnuts are quite natural.
We know from the German parish context that meetings with coffee in the rectory or the parish hall are only attended by those members of the parish that belong to the inner circle. Therefore our project wants to establish a mobile and discreet narthex that offers subtle way of communication. We want to provide it via a mobile Meeting Point that will be driven in front of the churches for Sunday Mass. 'Ministers of Hospitality' offer drinks and invite people to get into conversation. Furthermore we want to find 'greeters' similar to the USA that contribute to an atmosphere of hospitality when entering the church before the liturgy."


Idea of Project
As it says in the application form of the project: "We want to become the most hospitable parish in the whole diocese of Essen!" To realize this attractive idea there are many measures to be taken: professional training of the welcoming service (by experts from an agency called 'Agency for Friendliness'), precise public relations, making contact to newcomers, series of homilies and so on. A banner on a site fence ('to give the parish a new profile') is giving evidence of the determination of the participants to present themselves communicatively and welcoming since the early beginnings of the project. But the narthex is going to be the most important and figurative object of the project. Due to the fact that the church building of Altenbochum does not have a narthex like most of the US churches we want to build a mobile narthex. This narthex won't be a hastily erected booth but a mobile meeting point in accordance with the modern presentation standards one knows from industrial fairs for example. The mobile narthex will increase the quality of the stay and the communication on the church square remarkably. And it is not just that but the mobile narthex can be utilized everywhere the parish comes together. It is going to become a memo, a symbol, and a mobile logo of the idea that the parochial philosophy of Altenbochum has a name: hospitality.

Innovation
One could say: no innovation. There is already a place where coffee is offered after mass, namely in the parish hall. This is the place people can go to if they want. Basically, that's right. However, experience has shown that only those people find the way into the parish hall that are already part of the active core of the parish.
The project 'mobile narthex' is about something else. The communicative offer is more discrete, more openly and has more style. More discrete: no one needs to go into another building but finds oneself in a context of hospitality already on the church square. More openly: it's the marketplace where hospitality is presented, following the signal that church does not only take place in the own buildings but moves out in the open, it shows and formats itself. More style: the narthex helps to put distance between the style of German rectories that many people think strange, we maintain the modern coffee culture, and we want to become comparable with similar standards of the secular culture like those on weekly markets, park festivals or big events.
Moreover, the project as a whole is innovative. A parish sets itself a confident and a clear competitive goal as the core of the own corporate philosophy: "We want to become the most hospitable parish in the whole diocese of Essen!" This goal has to be specified pragmatically (what are the criteria for hospitality? What about the time we're living in? How do we evaluate?) but nonetheless this is an obvious decision-making process. This process will cause an organizational movement for more quality awareness and a better definition of goals.

First experiences and further information
The project started in November 2010. You can follow the project on the parochial homepage www.liebfrauen-altenbochum.de and the popular parochial newspaper "Mittendrin" will report for sure. Kai Reinhold has written a church historical PhD about the parochial life in the USA that is published in 2011 by the Aschendorff press ("Die katholischen Pfarrgemeinden in den USA in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Eine transatlantische Perspektive").

Peter Havers / Alexander Peters
"It's time2celebrate!" (Campus Ministry J├╝lich / 'Mentorat' Essen)

Statement
"Like! Today a Facebook fan page is as normal for the public outreach of a parish as editing videos on YouTube. This is what we experienced during our stay in the United States. Church 'on the spot' also means being together with those surfing in the World Wide Web. That has inspired us and encouraged to start a video project called 'time2celebrate'. With the help of videos we want to explain, invite, offer answers - we want to be church!"

Idea of Project
The idea is to inform young adults during their studies by media use what Christians commit to when they celebrate Easter, Christmas or Pentecost; what is the meaning of Lent; and why they are transforming the year into a Church year. And not only that: the videos from "time2celebrate" will be produced by young adults themselves. The idea behind this is: using the media to point out and emphasize the beauty, fun, reason and significance of our faith.

Innovation
The pastoral use of the potential of the new media and the social networks is still in its very beginning. The project "time2celebrate" sees this gap and develops new ways of articulating our faith. It is by no way a coincidence that this is a project from campus ministry and the mentoring of prospective teachers for religious education. Young adults are one of the groups that are most critical and skeptical to Church. They often find nothing that may link them in their current life to their home parish. Campus ministry is one of the last places where Church can present itself in the lives of young adults. But only when it makes an effort. And only when Church respects the way of life of young adults. And this is where the new media comes into play: young adults are one of the groups in our population who use most intensively modern media."time2celebrate" is as an example for the imaginative way to share the faith realizing that today tubing, posting, blogging or mapping are integral parts of pastoral care.

First experiences and further information
The project has just started and the videos have already been rewarded! They received professional appreciation. On our homepage you may get a first impression: www.time2celebrate.de, an overview of the videos can be found on YouTube and don't forget to like us on Facebook. Finally, this is the link to the article that was written when we received the award of the Bergmoser+H├Âller foundation.

Crossingover. Kirche der USA erfahren, Kirche hier neu denken.

Ein Projekt zur F÷rderung des Dialogs Řber katholische Kirche und Gemeindeleben in den USA und Deutschland