“Mercy is falling all over me!” – what that means became noticeable on July 2 in the church office of the EKD:
50 students of grades 9a and 9b of the Öffentlich-Stiftisches Gymnasium Bethel visited the GPENreformation office and filled the chapel, corridors and meeting with singing, laughter, conversations and cheering. They came to receive the prize awarded to them for their inspiring videos on peace and discord in everyday school life.
The festivities were preceded by a common prayer in which Pastor Birgit Sendler-Koschel encouraged everyone to work for peace without violence by means of the biographies of Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks and Denis Mukwege (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2018). The musical contributions of the students and their peace petitions underlined the touching words. In groups, the visitors then inquired about the church office building and gained an insight into the work of the EKD at three stations: Dr. Christina Ernst, personal adviser to the President and the Presidium of the Synod, presented the structure of the EKD and its committees as well as the plans for the upcoming “Peace Synod”; Janina Finkemeyer and Suzan Müller-Rohde presented the public relations work and especially the social media channels of the EKD and harvested new followers; Torben Stamer and Annika Hensel, as employees of the Education Department, made clear the diversity of Protestant schools and church professions.
And then it finally happened: The two videos of classes 9a and 9b were shown, explained by the students Emma Kunze and Inga Lienenlyke as well as their teacher Jessica Weingart, cheered with great applause by the audience and awarded as winning contributions by Birgit Sendler-Koschel with five tablets and a school sign. This was celebrated extensively at the following reception and during a joint lunch before the two classes made their way home.
Dear students of 9a and 9b, dear Mrs. Weingart and dear Mrs. Pfenningschmidt-Gläsker, thank you very much for your wonderful contributions and your great commitment! With peacemakers like you, we can make the world a more peaceful, better place!
Within the framework of the “Peace Education Period” GPENreformation is particularly concerned with peace education in the years 2018 to 2021. Therefore, in September 2018, students, teachers and school leaders from all over the world were called upon to find out how they can become a community of peacemakers and their Protestant schools into peace gardens. 15 groups from nine countries and four continents took part in the campaign for peace and discord in Protestant schools worldwide. Their results were brought together in the framework of the “Digital Peace Exhibition” and provide inspiring insights into what peace and discord mean in everyday school life. The creativity and uniqueness of each contribution made it difficult for the International Network Council, which formed the jury for the participatory campaign, to select the winning schools. After long consultation, the Majengo Institute (DR Congo), the TTC Rubengera (Rwanda), the Öffentlich-Stiftisches Gymnasium Bethel (Germany; grades 9a and 9b) and the Escola Barão do Rio Branco (Brazil) were selected. Their contributions are particularly distinguished by their depth of content, unique presentation of the content developed and the participation of the students.