Wash your feet in Hamburg Reeperbahn

DOMRADIO.DE: Clad in their robes, they appear tonight as chaplains at the Reeperbahn, an unusual place for washing feet. Why is there?

Emilia Handke (initiator and director of The Church in Dialogue): Because people are there. The number of people who come to our services is dwindling and we want to be a church where people are, that is, on the street.

DOMRADIO.DE: Do you stand on the street with a laundromat and talk to people?

Handke: Yes exactly. We stand on the Hamburg Reeperbahn near Davidwache, at Spielbudenplatz. We will put on our robes and some will kneel in front of the small prepared swimming pools. The pools have warm water and a little bit of foam to make them comfortable. Then we invite people to wash their feet.

For us, this grand gesture expresses a whole worldview that we want to remember. Behind this statement is not to trample on the world, not to trample on others, but to wash them away; Not war, but rather to serve each other. It is a sign of love that we bring into the world in these times when this world needs love more than ever.

Foot washing is a very intimate gesture. That’s why we don’t expect the fans to want us to wash their feet. We’ve also prepared other symbols of love to get people talking about the campaign and thinking with us why this day is such a special day on the calendar.

DOMRADIO.DE: What else do you have?

Handke: I don’t even dare reveal it. It won’t be a surprise anymore but we have a candy with little hearts on it and a small tattoo with heart and anchor symbols. We like to pass this on as a symbol of love. It’s a little easier on people than washing feet.

There will also be people who will say, “That’s too crazy for me. I definitely don’t want to take my shoes off and let strangers wash my feet. What do you imagine?” We answer: “It’s not bad at all. It’s about this sign of love that we want to convey.”

An evangelical “pop-up church” offers Bible foot washing on Maundy Thursday (April 14) at the Reeperbahn in Hamburg. The Pop-up Church said on Sunday in Hamburg that nine clergymen in robes will be there from 8 p.m. in the neighborhood in front of Davidwache. They will be supported by Reverend Sandra Starfinger and Reverend Sigard Willem of the local church community. The background is the biblical story from the Gospel of John, according to which Jesus washed the feet of his disciples one day before his death on the cross.

Later, these people might think about this unusual action, about the gesture that might have touched them in some way, and about Jesus, who did just that on Maundy Thursday.

That’s why we set up a big banner above us. She says, “Jesus speaks: I am ready to love from head to toe.” This is not a quote from the Bible but from Marlene Dietrich, but we think it expresses what Jesus meant.

DOMRADIO.DE: Is your act of this powerful image of washing the feet also an attempt to renew knowledge about Maundy Thursday?

Handke: exactly. Our observation is that public holidays that have a Christian background are becoming less well known. People may still be able to say what happened around Christmas or on Good Friday or Easter Sunday. With other public holidays it is more difficult – Pentecost, Ascension Day and Maundy Thursday. Often people can’t do anything with it anymore.

As a church, we have to explain why these days are special days, and the background and high value they have for us. Not only for ourselves as a church, but for society as a whole. Holidays express the attitudes and worldviews in which we live. These gestures are becoming more and more necessary and we want to convey them. This is our mission.

DOMRADIO.DE: Are your actions a reaction to leaving the church and the lack of youth in the church?

Handke: Yes, regardless of every departure from the Church, we are called to continue to bring the Church into the world anew; to bring something new into the conversation over and over; Keep calling different people. There are a number of initiatives for this purpose.

We are there to talk to people about matters of faith and to connect with them. We are not hidden behind walls, but we are a living Church that always finds young people who put themselves in this ministry, preserving what is sacred to us and standing up for the faith. This is what we do on the street today.

Interviewed by Michelle Ollon.

Leave a Comment