60th Anniversery

60th anniversary of the Ecumenical Youth Services – A good example of sustainable educational work, international understanding and peacebuilding for 60 years.

The Ecumenical Youth Services celebrated their 60th anniversary on October 22nd -23rd, 2016. The first Ecumenical International rec-onstruction camp took place in 1956 in Berlin-Weißensee. It was organised by the Gossner Mission, the youth department of the World Council of Churches and “Nationales Aufbauwerk”.

After the reunification of the two German states, the “Ecumenical Youth Service” with its various fields of work (ecumenical youth services: voluntary youth social services  and youth community services / international relations / INFORMATION (magazine) / conferences and seminars) was closed down.  The Ecumenical Youth Service, as it existed until the reunification, no longer existed. To bid farewell to the Ecumenical Youth Service, a conference was held in Hirschluch in December 1994 under the motto “ÖJD-ADE”. Through dedicated commitment, however, the work of the Ecumenical Youth Service (voluntary work assignments as youth social and youth community services) could be continued until today.

Today, the Ecumenical Youth Services are a programme of the Evangelical Church Berlin-Brandenburg-Schlesische Oberlausitz (EKBO) that radiates beyond the borders of the regional church and is an example of successful international youth work.
Volunteer leaders are trained, congregations are supported in their international work and local staff are accompanied, and the discussion of topics such as international understanding, reconciliation and tolerance is encouraged and promoted.

Bishop Dr. Dr. h.c. Markus Dröge sent a letter on the occasion of the anniversary.

The anniversary celebration took place with about 70 people in the Helmut-Gollwitzer-Haus (Protestant Retreat Home and Educational Centre) in Wünsdorf Waldstadt. In addition to joyful reunions, cosy exchanges and good food, Ottokar Schulz, the former person responsible for the EYS at the aej (now the managing director of the aej), welcomed the participants on Saturday with an introduction to the world of the Ecumenical Youth Services. In a following workshop work the question was worked on: “What has the engagement with the EYS triggered in me? . On Sunday, another workshop was held on the question: “The EYS in 10 years – What do we see?” to look into the future. The highlight of the celebrations was the anniversary service in the Wünsdorf village church with Dr. Christina-Maria Bammel. The participants concluded the anniversary weekend with a farewell snack in the Helmut-Gollwitzer-Haus.

A video from the weekend shows excerpts from the event.