The Church District of Hattingen-Witten is our partner in Germany. It's located in the Ruhr area, Germany's industrial heartland. Hattingen and Witten are two medium sized towns, not far from Bochum, Sheffield's twin town. The urban and cultural centres of Dortmund, Dusseldorf, Cologne and Essen are not far away. It's a diverse and interesting area - and much greener than you might imagine. The Church District forms part of the Protestant Church of Westphalia, and is made up of twenty-seven parishes. It's a lively and varied church. It faces similar questions to our Diocese: how do we find fresh ways of communicating the gospel, while remaining faithful to our roots? How can we serve Christ in our neighbour? How can we be a confident and effective Christian presence in a secular, multi-faith society?
A bit of history......
The Diocese of Sheffield's link with the Church District of Hattingen Witten goes back to 1987. The partnership was ratified in 1990, and a year later in 1991 the Meissen Declaration was published. The Meissen Declaration commits the Church of England and the EKD (the Evangelical/Protestant Church in Germany) to "take all steps in steps to closer fellowship in as many areas of Christian life and witness as possible, so that our members may advance on the way to full visible unity."
What's the link about?
It's about partnership, reconciliation, and friendship. Through our mutual visits, we deepen our understanding of Christian discipleship. By experiencing church in another context, we gain fresh insights on what it means to be church in our own situation.
How do I get involved?
From 20-26 October 2018 a diverse group of church members from Hattingen-Witten church district will be visiting the Diocese, some seasoned visitors, and some visiting for the first time. Would you like to host a German visitor/s? Your commitment is to accommodate your guest/s for 6 nights, and give them breakfast and some evening meals (though hosts are invited along with their guests to welcome and farewell services and meals), and to transport them to drop off/pick up points for their visits during the week, though we hope to be able to include hosts in some of these visits if there is interest. Your reward is to learn more about church life in another country, and hopefully to make good friends.
Who do I contact?
Chair: Revd Vicky Camber 01909 771101
Secretary: Mrs Jayne Spaven 07852 312363
Guests from Hattingen-Witten will visit the Diocese from 20-26 October. See how you can get involved in the section above.
24 guests travelled from the Diocese at the end of October 2017 for a very special week long visit. We carried on the previous year's theme of “God’s creation and the environment” but the main focus was to mark 500 years of the Reformation in Germany sparked by Martin Luther. On 31st October, Reformation Day, we visited a fascinating exhibition on the religious history of the Ruhr in Essen which included all faiths. We were invited to be part of a special service that evening in the Erlöserkirche in Witten, attended by well over 500 people, and with a personal message from Bishop Pete delivered in person by Canon Geoffrey Harbord. Lashings of Luther Beer were served afterwards. Further Reformation history was experienced in Paderborn, and we had some time to relax in Dortmund visiting an urban residential/leisure development on a former steelworks site, and sampling a few beers at the Dortmund Brewery Museum. As always the week went by very quickly, good conversations were had, and relationships deepened.
The recent visit of German Guests from our link Diocese in the Ruhr District of Germany has been a great success. The theme of 'Gods Creation and Caring for the Environment' was explored with visits to Holy Trinity Thorpe Hesley and Old Moor RSPB Reserve, Eyam and St Lawrence Church, Drax Power Station and Snaith Priory and All Saints RC High School Sheffield. Lots of ideas were shared regarding our churches and homes becoming 'greener' as well as the visit allowing us to share Christian Witness and Fellowship. Thanks to St Peters Warmsworth for the welcome service and meal and St Mary's Bramall Lane for the farewell service and meal. Further information about the link can be found on the Diocese Website.