Looking back

Sunday 06-09-03 Congregation festival for the neighbourhood at Holy Cross

A new idea the leaders of the congregation put into practice this year:
All the neighbours of Holy Cross were invited to attend the annual congregation festival. And there was an overwhelming response.Many of them came to see what happens on the church plot. The theme of the festival was:
…“ foreigners should become neighbours and neighbours should become friends!“
That’s the message we tried to give during the family service, prepared from many members of the congregation. The Lord’s loves the foreigners and wants us to do the same. He wants us to have a very good life – living together with friends an neighbours friendly and trustful. After service the adults took their time for meal and communication while the children started to do the different activities. ‘Trabbi-fahren (driving with an old GDR car, reconstructed as a ten-men-bike), jumping on a trampoline, doing crafts and many more things to do.At the end: puppet theatre! We saw the fairy tale: ‘The golden goose’. Not only children were excited but also the adults because of the fantastic language art the puppet player did and the many relationships he established to nowadays.
Many thanks to everybody who helped preparing this festival.
Thanks to the Lord, blessing this day for us.

sm_diakoniecamp2006-fotoDiakonie-Camp Cottbus 09.07. – 23.07.06

Like the years before, we had participants from Poland, USA and Germany. Language: English – a hard job for all Polish and German people.Main task of the team was to carry out two times a VBS, during the first week at Holy Cross in Cottbus, during the second week at Luther-Church in Senftenberg, one of the subsidiary congregations of Cottbus Holy Cross.„This is not a beauty farm, this is a work camp!“This sentence  – several times told by the leader – was program. The attending young people had to do a hard job. Two very different children groups in two weeks!However there was time and energy for some day-trips to different cities. To watch nightlife with music, artists, many people strolling along the market place called the Rynek in the middle of Breslau, a very famous city in Poland, that was one of the highlights of this daytrips. Of course, to visit Luthertown Wittenberg is a duty when anyone stays in Cottbus. So we did and we also saw Dresden and Leipzig.Thanks – many thanks to all who invested much money, much time to help our congregations in this very important outreach work!

Hinrich Müller

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Vacation Bible School and Basketball-Camp in Döbbrick v. 05.- 09.07.06 together with a team from St. Luke LCMS, Meza / AZ / USA

At about 50 children and youth attended this camp. The youth were more interested in basketball, the children more liked crafts and games.Wednesday:

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Opening evening with barbecue and games and introduction into the theme. Parents a

nd children got the chance to get in touch with each

other.Thursday: 10.00 a.m.: The program was started.  „We follow the disciples, walking the way, Jesus did walk!“ With theatre, a fantastic pantomime and surprising realistic experiences the children and youth got known to those things which happened during Jesus lived on earth. The aim was that

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they should understand and got known to, why God became human and was crucified and rose again and why we have Christmas and Easter and Pentecost. Some of them had never heard this before.Following the childre

n did handicrafts while the youth went to a gym, to have their basketball training.In spite of scorching heat they were dedicated playing with their basketballs. They were trained by a team from young people from St. Luke, Meza AZ, who were very familiar to training children for basketball. The children enjoyed their really good job and liked it very much to be trained by them.Saturday afternoon there was baseball – time.
At first the children were playing in different age-groups. Following there was am exciting match of the American guests against members of our congregation supported by some baseball players from the Cottbus University. But they lost the game. The American guests were too strong!!!Finally at the end we all together worshipped in an inspiring family-service on Sunday morning, before the US-guests left us to go to Dresden to spend some days vacation before going home. We say many thanks to our guest! Thank you for this wonderful experience of fellowship and spiritual confraternity.
We say thanks to Bob und Rita Flohrs, Nate McAvoy, David Kanning, Rachel Holmes, Sarah Hoffmann, Don und Mary Smith, Britney Nelson, Becca Hoffmann, Ryan Dandy, Chris Temme, Lauren und Sterling Williams, and also the Germans in our team: Stefanie Engels, Andrea Hilscher, Harald Skaletz, Doris Klinke-Schulze, Regina Niche, Sylvia Thomas, und Annett Jäger.

Holger Thomas, Hinrich Müller

Vacation Bible School in Cottbus  12. – 16.07.06

sm_kinderferientage2006-002The program for the VBS in Holy Cross Cottbus was already well proven a week before at VBS in Döbbrick.
At the opening evening on Wednesday with barbecue and games and an introduction into the theme parents and children had the chance to get known to each other. And at once the attraction: roasting marshmallows. The American members of the team showed us, how to enjoy and how to celebrate this sweet custom.Thursday and Friday the program was to walk along the way that Jesus walked and to explore why we have Christmas and Easter. Some of the children never had heard about this.The team had prepared a program with theatre, games, songs and handicrafts to show the 25 attending children the Lord’s path of life.The special feature of this camp was, that there were participants from different countries – not speaking the German language. So the children had to use hands and feet to show, what they liked to say or they had to use their English wordssm_kinderferientage2006-001

they learnt in school. This was a challenge especially for the older kids who tried to speak English too.
Saturday a special program was to visit a forest school near to Cottbus to have experiences with God’s creation and to swim in a lake.Worshipping together in a family service was the aiming point of the Cottbus VBS, which brought together parents and children with the congregation of Holy Cross in Cottbus.And the very best: The trampoline! A long line during the whole day. Apparently Children like to jump – but not only the children, also Robin and other members of the team.We say „Thank you very much!“ to you from Poland, to you from the US (Ypsilanti / MI and Bloomington / IL), to all of you from Germany and also to all the members of Holy Cross who helped to arrange this VBS 06.

Hinrich Müller

A family service held on August 5, 2005, marks the beginning of the school year in Cottbus and Döbbrick

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Why did everyone who attended the family service receive five marbles for his or her trouser pocket? Par-ents were asked to take every opportunity to show support for their children as the new school year began and to move one marble from the right trouser pocket into the left every time they remembered to do so.  Children, too, were instructed to transfer a marble from the right to the left pocket whenever they encouraged a schoolmate.  In this way the message of the service was reinforced. „No one must go his own way alone because the Lord is our companion wherever we go.  He supports and encourages us!“
So many families responded to the invitation to attend the worship service that St. Peter’s Church in Döbbrick was full.  The lovely summer weather was especially welcome because it allowed the entire group to enjoy lunch outdoors.

foto-11Canooing tour with fathers and children 2005

Nine fathers and thirteen children explored the lake district north of Berlin that is called the „Feldberger Seenplatte“.   A special highlight was to canoe down a restricted white water river that is open to recreation only two times in the year.

Servant event camp 2005

foto-12The camp began on Monday, June 27.  There were 28 participants, a larger group than in previous years.  Twelve came from the U.S.A., six from Poland, and ten from Germany.
The schedule included trips to Berlin, Dresden, and Wittenberg; rollerblading and biking on the levee of the Spree River; swimming; and canoeing.   But most of the volunteers’ time was used to prepare for the children’s camp.  All of the lessons and discussions were to be conducted in English, which made preparations easy for the Americans but hard at times for the youth from Po-land and Germany.  However, after initial difficulties things went smoothly.  Those from Poland and Ger-many who weren’t as practiced in the English language could make themselves understood.  And translation was always an option when someone got stuck.Language differences can be a huge challenge for the youth at the servant camps.   But afterward they often are heard to say, „You can learn a lot in those two weeks.“
The experience of fellowship during worship was a highlight for many participants. Although they may not have understood every word, they still could recognize the order of service because it was the same in their home churches.   Praying the Lord’s prayer in three different languages at the same time was a moving experience for many parishioners, also.
Many thanks to Reverend Christoph Barnbrock, who delivered the sermon at several services, and was in charge of the camp along with Pastor Mueller.
Since 2003 the servant event camp has continued an annual tradition of planning and providing a children’s Bible camp in Döbbrick and Cottbus.

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Children´s Camp in Cottbus in 2005

foto-13Forty-three children registered for the camp.  And the exciting agenda planned by the teens from the servant event camp didn’t disappoint them!    One of the camp’s biggest challenges was to provide lunch for the more than sixty participants.  But the kitchen’s staff and facili-ties handled the situation masterfully.    Rainy weather posed an unforeseen difficulty for the camp’s organiz-ers.  On four of the days it was necessary to move the outdoor activities into the church and the fellowship hall on short notice.   It was by the Lord’s grace that the youth were able to conduct the program.   With a posi-tive attitude and in high spirits, the children still could learn about God’s dealings with Jacob.   Although he wickedly deceived his brother Esau and his father Ja-cob, God did not allow Jacob to fall from His grace.
At the same time we sponsored a camp in Senftenberg. Every day some of the staff went from Cottbus to Sen-ftenberg to conduct the program there in the same way.Fourteen children were registered; by the end twenty-two had signed on.  It was great to see that more chil-dren would join the activities at church once they no-ticed that something was happening there.  This fall we will work to strengthen our connections with the children who attended the camp.  We want to do all that we can to encourage them in their Christian walk.

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Children’s camp in Döbbrick in 2005

foto-14On Wednesday, June 5, 2005, a team of five adults and two teens from St. Luke’s Church in Meza, AZ, USA, arrived in Cottbus under the leadership of Pastor Bob Flohrs.  Together with the team from St. Peter’s in Döb-brick, they organized the children’s camp.  It lasted from Wednesday to Sunday and ended with a family service.  More than thirty children participated in an exciting program that helped them grow closer to Jesus Christ.
The program also included a sports afternoon for the children and their parents.  With a group from the U.S.A. on hand, sports could mean only one thing.    „Let’s play baseball!“
Sincere thanks to Pastor Flohrs and his team, who spared no cost or effort in providing the program in Doebbrick with meaningful content and lots of fun.Next year the group from Mesa, AZ, will join us for an-other children’s camp. We are looking forward to it..

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Congregational trip to Breslau, Poland, on June 5, 2005

foto-15Two buses were needed to accommodate all of the parishioners who wanted to go on the day trip to Breslau.   „It was fantastic to have participants of all ages with us,“ many of our church members said after-ward.
A worship service in German was sponsored by mem-bers of St. Christopher’s Church.  Our congregations and a additional guest congregation were invited.  The service was held in the Gustav Adolf Memorial Church, which is used by St. Christopher’s congregation for some of its events.   Afterward, lunch was served with time allowed for fellowship with the members of the Breslau congregation.   Many new and enjoyable ac-quaintances were made.
The program continued with music from the Cottbus adult choir and brass ensemble plus a theater perform-ance by the church’s youth.
Later, those present broke into smaller groups to tour the city.  Reverend Andrej Fober, a tour guide, and several congregation members led the groups.
During our ride to Poland that morning we had watched a video that portrayed the former splendor and beauty of this important city.   In spite of years of domination by foreign powers—Austria, Prussia, Germany, and now Poland—Breslau has maintained its independence as the capital of Silesia.  Silesia has always been, and is to this day, an area set apart by its uniqueness.  At least, this is what we were told by the dyed-in-the-wool Sile-sians who were our guides.  And we believed them because in many places Breslau’s original magnificence could still be seen and admired.
Before departing for Cottbus, we gathered in the Church of St. Christopher, an ancient and splendid house of God that is located directly on the traffic circle that surrounds the city’s center.   Our day in Breslau ended with a time of thanksgiving to God.  Many thanks to the members of St. Christopher’s Church for the wonderful day in their city.