2014年10月10日 星期五

Did a prayer meeting 25 years ago today help bring down the Berlin Wall?Christian Führer, born March 5 1943, died June 30 2014 萊比錫尼哥拉教會的富樂牧師 (盧俊義)





Did a prayer meeting 25 years ago today help bring down the Berlin Wall? http://bbc.in/1lzDgn6

Christian Führer - obituary

Christian Führer was an East German pastor whose weekly 'prayers for peace’ blossomed into huge demonstrations that ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall

Christian Fuehrer standing in front of St Nicholas Church in Leipzig, Germany
Christian Fuehrer standing in front of St Nicholas Church in Leipzig, Germany  Photo: AP
Christian Führer, who has died aged 71, was pastor of the St Nicholas Church in Leipzig which, in 1989, became the focus of the demonstrations that brought down the communist regime in East Germany (GDR).
Führer became the pastor at the city’s 16th-century Lutheran church in 1980 at the height of the Cold War. In the GDR, although atheism was the official ideology, churches were spied upon but allowed to stay open, providing a modicum of “free space” where people could discuss things they could not discuss in public.
In 1982 Führer began holding weekly prayers for peace on Monday evenings, which were tolerated by the authorities because, at a time of intense controversy in western Europe over the deployment of US Pershing missiles, it was thought to be helpful for church-based peace groups to make connections with their counterparts in the west. Few came at first, but attendance grew as the Soviet Union began the process of reform under Mikhail Gorbachev.
In February 1988, however, Führer invited 50 people who were part of a movement that advocated the right to leave East Germany to a discussion at the church. In the event about 600 turned up and many began attending his regular prayer sessions. Over the following year the prayers and the open-air vigils that followed attracted more and more people.
In May 1989 police attempted to cut off the church by barricading the surrounding streets, an effort which backfired when even more people turned up. As word spread, people in other East German cities began repeating the Leipzig demonstrations, meeting at city squares on Monday evenings.
Pastor Christian Fuehrer as he speaks a prayer for peace in the Nikolai Church in Leipzig
On October 7, the 40th anniversary of the founding of the GDR, St Nicholas was closed, but some 4,000 people gathered outside and tried to march on the city’s ring road. The demonstration was broken up violently by police using batons, water cannon and dogs. There were many injuries and arrests.
In preparation for the weekly vigil scheduled to take place two days later, police warned that protests would be put down “with whatever means necessary”. In anticipation of violence, paratroopers were flown in and hospitals cleared for an expected influx of patients, specifically ones with gunshot wounds.
On the evening of October 9, what began as a few hundred gatherers at the church swelled to more than 70,000 in the streets outside. At the urging of Führer and other speakers, however, the protest remained nonviolent and the crowd, clutching candles and flowers, marched through the city in a peaceful demonstration, chanting the slogan Wir sind das Volk! (“We are the people!”) as armed soldiers looked on.
Although there were some arrests, without precise orders from East Berlin and surprised by the size of the demonstration, local police and political leaders shied away from causing a massacre. “We were ready for anything, except for candles and prayer,” an East German official was quoted as saying.
The following week, 120,000 people turned up for the vigil and the week after that, 320,000. On November 9 the Berlin Wall tumbled down.
Rally in Leipzig in 1989
“What I saw that evening still gives me the shivers today,” Führer said in an interview in 2009. “And if anything deserves the word 'miracle’ at all, then this was a miracle of Biblical proportions. We succeeded in bringing about a revolution which achieved Germany’s unity... It was a peaceful revolution after so much violence and so many wars that we, the Germans, so often started. I will never forget that day.”
The son of a Lutheran pastor, Christian Führer was born in Leipzig on March 5 1943 and, from a young age, knew he wanted to follow his father into the ministry. He studied Theology at what was then Karl Marx University (now the University of Leipzig), working during his vacations in a car factory, as a telegram delivery boy and as a waiter on a train.
He worked as Pastor in Lastau and Colditz until his appointment to St Nicholas in 1980.
After German reunification, Führer threw his energies into helping to mitigate the worst effects of the economic crisis that followed the conversion of the Ostmark to the Deutschmark at a rate that forced many old East German industries to the wall. He travelled to the former West Germany to learn how churches could help the unemployed, and in 1991 started the St Nicholas Church’s initiative for the jobless, helping people to find work, even just volunteer work, dealing with debt and advising on benefits.
Like many other former East Germans he regretted some of what unification had brought: “People here feel a real schizophrenia,” he explained in 1994. “No one wants to go back to the days of dictatorship, but at the same time we’re not really happy with the new system... Even those who have jobs and have cars and take nice vacations are worried about what is happening to our society. Brutal competition and the lust for money are destroying our sense of community. Almost everyone feels a level of fear or depression or insecurity.”
In 2004 he again organised Monday demonstrations against the cuts in welfare benefits introduced under German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. The following year he shared the Augsburg Peace Prize with the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. He stood down as pastor of St Nicholas in 2008.
With the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall approaching, last week Führer was awarded Germany’s National Prize. Prevented by illness from appearing in person, his daughter accepted on his behalf.
Christian Führer’s wife Monika died last year. He is survived by their four children.
Christian Führer, born March 5 1943, died June 30 2014
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​他改變了今日世界歷史和地理




高雄市人。台南神學院畢業。曾在台東關山、嘉義西門、台北東門等長老教會牧師。2013年2月28日退休。現專事帶領查經班。 曾擔任過高雄少年感化院、武陵外役監獄教誨師 現任:台北和信醫院宗教師、倫理、安寧委員,北醫大附設醫院臨床倫理委員。
​他改變了今日世界歷史和地理
1989年東德發生的「和平革命(Peaceful Revolution)」(圖片:網路資料)
今年六月30日,德國萊比錫尼哥拉教會的富樂牧師(Christian Führer 1943- 2014)去世了,享年72歲。
在1980年代初期,當時東德的基督教會引用舊約以賽亞書第二章4節先知傳遞出來的話推出這樣的標語:「把鎗矛打成犁頭」。有許多教會舉辦「平安祈禱會」響應這項活動。
當時東德萊比錫的「尼哥拉教堂」富樂牧師鼓勵民眾隨時可以進入教堂裡,安靜地坐下來,他會帶大家一起唱首詩歌,讀一段聖經,並簡短地講解經文,接著帶大家一起跪下來懇切地為國事禱告。沒有大聲喊叫的禱告聲音,大家都用安靜的心靈和上帝對話,述說國家發生的事。因為禱告是和上帝講話,不用很大聲,即使不說出口,全能的上帝很清楚知道人心中所想的一切。開始之初,只有寥寥幾人參加而已。
有幾位青年下班後到萊比錫的尼哥拉教會參加「平安祈禱會」。有一天他們讀到以賽亞書第九章1至7節的經文;該段經文述說上帝會賞賜給祂子民一個嶄新的盼望—給生活在黑暗中的人看見大光。這幾位青年開始思索著,並在聚會後與富樂牧師討論要怎樣才能將這種生命的亮光彰顯出來。幾經反覆討論之後,他們決定用歐洲民眾最喜愛且是家家戶戶都會自做的小蠟燭,送給親朋好友。要送之前都先問:「你是否願意讓東德共產社會看見亮光?」若是對方說「當然願意」,就將蠟燭點燃送給他,然後請他也去傳遞這樣的信息。
收到蠟燭的民眾開始覺得稀奇,問他們為甚麼會想出這種方式來表達心中的願望。他們說從參加「平安祈禱會」學來的。詢問的人越多,加入這項聚會的人數也隨著贈送蠟燭和問安而增加,且是急速地在遽增,使這間原本僅可容納約一千五百名民眾的尼哥拉教會,到1985年時,禮拜堂幾乎都擠滿了民眾,甚至晚到的民眾需要到禮拜堂外的廣場,手中捧著蠟燭加入祈禱會,坐在地上安靜地傾聽從禮拜內透過擴音器傳出來的聖經信息。富樂牧師簡短扼要地解釋經文的信息,並告訴民眾可以將上帝的話用實際行動給實踐出來,東德就可以看見生命活力的亮光。
1989年九月開始祈禱會結束後,參加的民眾不是將手中的蠟燭吹熄,而是拿在手中相偕走回家去,逐漸地,用這種方式走回家的人越來越多。同年十月,他們決定拿著點燃蠟燭上街遊行,他們一面高唱詩歌,一面喊著說:「我們要讓國家看見亮光。」這樣,經過一個月,參加遊行的人數已經超過十萬人,而這項活動很快就傳遍了整個東德。
1989年十一月9日下午兩點,東柏林街上先是有幾個上了年紀的婦女,學習萊比錫居民也手拿著蠟燭走上街頭,她們輕輕地唱著詩歌走在街上,而輕輕的歌聲卻引來更多民眾湧入,直到下午五點多,參加遊行的民眾已經超過二十萬,震驚了西柏林民眾,他們經過聯繫之後才知道,於是西柏林民眾也紛紛出來響應加入這項遊行。就這樣,東、西柏林兩邊的居民不約而同地朝向圍牆的邊界海關「布蘭登堡大門」走去。
東柏林警備隊衛兵接到命令荷槍實彈地準備要驅離民眾,但卻因為看見民眾是手捧蠟燭吟唱詩歌,而那是他們熟悉的聖詩,於是他們眼盯著民眾,卻也開口跟著唱。民眾有人將他們手中的蠟燭插在士兵的槍口上,也有人送給打開坦克車蓋向外觀看的駕駛兵,並送了一句話:「裡面很暗,來吧,把光帶進去。」有的是把蠟燭折斷,把點燃的一小節放在坦克砲管口。
兩邊民眾來到布蘭登堡大門海關處,海關人員看見黑麻麻的一片人潮,不知所措,但聽到熟悉的詩歌他們也跟著唱,先是西柏林海關人員允許民眾過關,接著東邊的海關跟著學樣,結果一個真正的奇蹟就這樣發生了:海關打開讓兩邊居民載歌載舞地跑過來又跑過去。就這樣,東西柏林合併了!一個月後,也就是1990年,分裂的東西德國宣佈合一。也就在這一年,蘇聯宣佈從東德撤兵回去,蘇聯和東歐共產集團就此瓦解!
德國人稱這是「蠟燭政變」,而這項政變的背後推手是富樂牧師,他默默地在教會推動這項讀聖經和祈禱活動,結果所帶出來的是無法預估的信仰大力量,既改變了歷史,也改變了地理版圖。
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