This is how the church needs to fight the scarcity of pastors | EUROtoday

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EAt the tip of the nineteenth century, the Braunschweig regional church with its virtually 300,000 members skilled a constructing increase. Many farmers within the area have been doing so nicely again then that they put massive “turnip churches” of their villages. Countless small church buildings are additionally proven on the small map that Provost Meike Bräuer-Ehgart spreads out on her desk. Whether Ackenhausen, Dankelsheim or Voldagsen – virtually each city has its personal church.

Reinhard Bingener

Political correspondent for Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Bremen primarily based in Hanover.

On main holidays, it has at all times labored out that each village that wished its personal church service obtained one, says Bräuer-Ehgart. “We can do it, but no longer with our pastors alone.” The theologian, who was elected provost of the area two years in the past, places a second colourful map on her desk. In this card, characters with grey hair and a cross round their neck smile in a pleasant method. The bigger figures signify the whole parish, the smaller figures signify half the parish. It’s clear at first look: there’s a hole between the variety of church towers on one map and the figures on the opposite map.

More church towers than parishes

Bräuer-Ehgart factors to the realm within the north of Bad Gandersheim. “There in the Heberbörde we have half a parish office for the six villages with their six church towers.” Six church providers on one Sunday is just not attainable. In addition, the variety of pastors is falling quickly. In 2010, there have been a complete of 25 pastors within the Bad Gandersheim and Seesen provosts, which had not but been merged, says Bräuer-Ehgart. There at the moment are solely 16.5 positions.

In addition, the existence of a pastor’s place doesn’t imply that it may be stuffed. The two massive church buildings are dealing with two developments: On the one hand, the decline in members and thus in monetary energy is accelerating, which requires robust cuts, together with personnel. On the opposite hand, there may be additionally a scarcity of younger expertise.

The scarcity is especially pronounced within the Catholic Church; within the dioceses, the variety of younger monks has been virtually zero for years. The Protestant parishes are considerably higher provided with pastors, however the image is altering there too. The 47-year-old Bräuer-Ehgart started her research at a time when the Braunschweig regional church was speaking about hiring freezes and pastor {couples} needed to share a place. In 2010, the provost and her husband have been the primary couple who have been not required to take action.

Provost Meike Bräuer-Ehgart shows maps of the Gandersheim and Seesen regions with numbers on vacant pastoral positions.

Provost Meike Bräuer-Ehgart exhibits maps of the Gandersheim and Seesen areas with numbers on vacant pastoral positions.

Photo: Patrick Slesiona

This state of affairs has now fully reversed. We hear from the schools that solely a single-digit or virtually double-digit variety of younger individuals who aspire to develop into pastors enroll there. However, their graduates are anticipated to interchange the era of child boomers who at the moment are retiring. This impact is especially pronounced within the Protestant Church. At the start of the Nineteen Eighties, within the spirit of the peace motion and different new social actions, many highschool graduates determined to check Protestant theology. You at the moment are reaching retirement age.