A GROUP of ten people from local churches set off on Wednesday morning (February 17) for a five-day journey to former East Germany.
Comprising some of the youth group in Lisburn Baptist Church, together with their leaders, Gareth Elliott and Peter Lloyd, they will be involved with a small, new church which is developing in the city of Rostock on the Baltic Sea.
The effect of 40 years of communism on this city of 200,000 people is still recognisable, not only economically, with I3 unemployment, but also spiritually. Whereas before World War II 80% of people in this area of Germany were connected with the Lutheran Church, as a result of atheistic influence, now 80% have no connection with any church.
The trip is being organised by European Christian Mission (ECM), with which one member of the group, Victor Watson, is associated. Recently he spent a year with his wife, Marie, in Rostock helping in church work there.
Later, in May, he is organising a Discovery Visit for interested Christians to the city and details may be had from the ECM office which is located at Trinity Methodist Church.
The group from Lisburn Baptist are looking forward to enjoying some of the beautiful sights in this coastal city over this weekend. They will also hear first-hand how life under Communism was for Christians there, and visit the Stasi Secret Police Museum in Rostock. But their main purpose is to encourage and learn from Christians in another culture. So, they will share in a number of events organised by the local church, including a youth meeting, a 'Meet the Irish' night and a Sunday morning service.