Ecumenical Relations

The Ecumenical Relations Mission Team (ERMT) represents and encourages official and informal overseas partnerships between PSE Conference and equivalent church bodies so that each may be in dialogue and share in exchange visits and significant events. The Team also serves to report interfaith work and events within the bounds of the Conference.  The formal partnerships are with Cuba and Germany.

Events – Germany
2015 German Mission Visit

August 14 to 17, the PSEC Ecumenical Relations Mission Team hosted our German guests from the Berlin Mission: (left to right) Andreas Boeer and his wife Karin, Rev. Dr. Christof Theilemann, Rev. Roland Herpich and his wife Anette, and Rev. Joachim Liebig and his wife Andrea, representing the Berlin Mission.

Our guests arrived on Friday. We visited some sites in Philadelphia including the Masonic Temple Museum, Old First Church, and Independence Hall for the Pastor’s welcome and recognition of the “official” delegate body.

Saturday, we visited the Amish Farm in Lancaster and the Quilt and Coach (Wooden Wheels) Shops.

Sunday, we toured the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center and spent time with Dr. Allen Viemeyer and Caspar Schwenckfeld’s Bible. We also visited “The Shrine of American Lutheranism” and the Old Trappe Church founded in 1743 by Henry Melchior Muhlenberg. In the evening guests, hosts, visitors, and members of the Trinity Church family in Collegeville enjoyed a festive spread, rejoiced to hear Rev. Herpich, Berlin Mission Director and Rev. Dr. Theilemann, Deputy Director share the inspiring story of the work being done. We heard a response, closing prayer, and Benediction from Rev. Bill Worley, PSEC Conference Minister. We celebrated an engagement announcement in the Liebig family (their daughter) and then the Berlin Mission’ new children’s Bible – Uli’s project, with a gift copy for us. Then we all joined hands and sang, “Blest be the tie that binds our hearts
in Christian love.”

Monday brought an early send-off with prayers of thanks and the word, “Until,
by God’s grace, we are together again in Berlin.”

Vicar Ulrike Bischoff Visits Ecumenical Relations Mission Team

  • Vicar Ulrike Bischoff Visits Ecumenical Relations Mission Team On June 26, 2014 the Ecumenical Relations Mission Team met with guest, Vicar Ulrike Bischoff our partner from the Anhalt District Church in Germany. Uli told of her experiences in her year-long, backpacking trip that took her to Russia, Japan, Mexico, Ecuador, Columbia, and Peru. She observed cultures and enjoyed Christian hospitality before returning to ...
  • Visit from Anhalt District Church in March 2014 Trinity Reformed Church UCC in Collegeville hosted their German partner congregations, St. Peter, Toerten, and Kruez in Dessau, Germany, during their most recent visit to the United Statesn March 19-24, 2014 . They toured the Schwenkfelder Library and other sites in Lancaster, the Bertoia Studio in Balley, and historical sites in Philadelphia.
Visit from Anhalt District Church in March 2014

PSEC: The visit in May, 2013 from the Wittenberg Gospel Choir. Concerts were held throughout the PSE area. Plans are underway for a return concert in May or October, 2016.

The most recent new venture involves shared ministry pastors and congregations (Lutheran and UCC). An 8-day visit was hosted by the Anhalt District Church in Oct. and four pastors representing PSE and PNE shared ministry congregations were the first to visit. A reciprocal experience is a future event.

Upcoming invitation: President Joachim Liebig is planning a 2017 Anhalt event to which we would send participants (as guests) to be on site for the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

Local churches:  Six are in partnership with churches in the Anhalt District Church, Dessau, Germany and exchange visits are scheduled regularly.

The six are: St. James, Havertown; Trinity, Holland; Good Shepherd, Tuckerton, Reading; Huff’s Church, Alburtis; Trinity, Collegeville.

Presently Good Shepherd and Huffs Churches are anticipating a reaffirmation of their partnerships.

Events – Cuba

PSEC: Since the formal partnership with the Fraternity of Baptist Churches in Cuba three visits have taken place and a summer time of PSEC youth visit is anticipated.

Through two members on the Team regular communication continues and one volunteers in a summer drama program and invites money gifts for a church’s three times a week meals for needy children. $66.48 feeds one person for a year.

An interesting note: Funds for Cuban missions among the poor can be channeled through our German partner’s district church.

A future possibility: The Fellowship of Baptists Churches wants to connect with the UCC and the Philadelphia Association.

RESOURCES & LINKS 

Upon request to the ERMT chair, all minutes of meetings and the comprehensive report to the denomination’s UEK are available from kriebel1@verizon.net.

The UCC website linked to UEK provides information and slide shows of the partnership with the EKD and UEK.

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