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(Photo: Ralf Krämer)

“A piece of heaven on earth”
Kindernothilfe celebrates anniversary with televised worship service

(Duisburg, 31.05.2019) On Ascension Day, the leading German television network (ARD) celebrated the 60th anniversary of Kindernothilfe with the live broadcast of a service of worship in Duisburg. For everyone involved, the Protestant worship celebration in the city’s packed Gothic Salvator Church was a memorable occasion.

In his sermon, the current leader of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland (EKiR), Praeses Manfred Rekowski, praised Kindernothilfe for the work it has done on behalf of children in need over the last six decades. Kindernothilfe makes life more worth living for so many children, the Praeses said, and, in doing so, creates for them a piece of heaven on earth. In her dialogue sermon, Reverend Katrin Weidemann stressed the importance of protecting children throughout the world and standing up for children’s rights: “We don’t have to look towards Ethiopia or Honduras. In Germany, too, children are subjected to violence”, said Kindernothilfe’s Chief Executive Officer. She promised that Kindernothilfe would continue to do everything in its power to help children living in poverty, in need or subjected to violence worldwide.

Sinafikish Legesse, a Kindernothilfe member of staff in Ethiopia, explained how help towards self-help has enabled many women and children in their countries to have a better future. Kindernothilfe ambassador, Christine Rau, spoke about her experiences of child poverty and with street children and on the importance of giving children love. “If you, yourself, have never experienced love”, she said, “you will not be able to pass it on”. Christine Rau, wife of the former German President, who died in 2006, and, thus, the former First Lady, also referred to her most recent visit on behalf of Kindernothilfe to Africa and specifically praised the contribution made by the women involved in self-help groups to sustainable improvements in the living conditions – above all the educational opportunities – of their children and to the creation of new role models, especially for women, in the societies in which they live.

Frau Rau is also the patron of Kindernothilfe’s “Aktion!Kidz” campaign. As representatives of the many “Aktion!Kidz” groups throughout Germany, pupils from the Mercator High School in Duisburg reported on their activities to raise donations for children forced to work in the quarries near Quetzaltenango in Guatemala. The young people of Duisburg called on those at the service to focus more resolutely on the living realities of the girl and boy victims of exploitative child labour throughout the world.

The worship service was presented by Sabine Heinrich, a newscaster with the West German Broadcasting Corporation in Cologne (WDR) and Kindernothilfe ambassador.

Musical accompaniment during the Ascension Day service was provided by the girls’ and boys’ choir of the “Wuppertal Kurrende” and Gospel singer Chioma Igwe from Nigeria.

As one of the biggest Christian child rights organisations in Europe, Kindernothilfe supports more than 2.1 million children, their families and communities in 32 countries throughout the world, to bring about sustainable improvements in their living conditions.

Recording of the TV worship service available on the ARD media library