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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sabah Heilbronn Ecumenical Partnership ~ the 5th Day

By Raymond Wong

Heilbronn, Germany : On the fifth day, Wednesday 26th September, the group paid a visit to the Dean of the Protestant Church of Heilbronn. There are 51 Deaneries within Heilbronn and are responsible of the partnership. It began in 1980 where Christians from Heilbronn began their evangelism mission in Sabah especially in Kudat with the Rungus people in collaboration with BCCM Malaysia.
L-R : Peter Seitz, Rev. Ralf and the Dean Otto Friedrich of the Protestant Church, Heilbronn
Since then a group of 12 will visit Sabah every fourth year and in between the four years a group of 12 from Sabah will make a return visit.
A welcoming gesture from the Dean before the distribution of gifts
In Heilbronn the protestants total 2.2 million members within its four regions. There are 2,400 pastors and 1,400 parishes with 15,000 parish employees.
A representative handing a souvenir to the Dean
The system in Germany allows 8% tax on each Christian, collected by the State and in return the State will provide the funds to the Churches for development, employees and others. Heilbronn has also Muslim immigrants especially from Turkey.
Confirmation class at a Protestant Church
A figure of about 40% of children are not baptized although the parents are regular church goers as the the parents feel that it is better for the children to decide for themselves when they are mature enough. Therefore it is a big challenge for the present Christian population as the present Christians are getting older and older and with smaller families.

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