Sonntag, 5. Juni 2016

Last days of our Small Community


In the morning we had a meeting with Monika Thalman, an old lady full of experiences with catechesis. Just interesting to compare notes with such a person.

For lunch we were invited by the other pastor Marc of Birmensdorf (working together with Carl) and his wife who is catholic pastoral assistent. We had interesting talks about theology, studies and life while we had a delicious meal.
In the evening we met a last time for a common prayer in the reformed church of Birmensdorf. Many people who we know came. It was a nice last prayer. Afterwords we didn't meet to drink tea this time, but to eat delicous carrot ginger soup with homemade bread. They prepared the room so nice! With candles and flowers... Later we showed them some fotos and shared about our experiences of the lsat month. Meanwhile we drank tea and ate original swiss "Rüeblikuchen" (carrot cake) and apricot cake - everything selfmade! It was such a good atmosphere, such a nice commuity =)


After a short midday prayer in the catholic university community (aki) we helped Silvia a last time with the food waste projekt. To warm up the food and give it to the students. This time we collected money for the fraternity in Brazil. Thank you :)

In the afternoon we enjoyed listening to a bachelor exam of a cello player. Magnificent!

Also we met Seyed from Afghanistan a last time. He has such an impressing life story. He has such a strong will and motivation. We are thankful that we got to know him, he is an example for many people! He arrived with 21 years in Switzerland, he had German lessons for half a year but had to learn to write and to read his own language to the same time (in Afghanistan it isn't self-evident to go to school!). Nowadays he is speaking such a good German and at the moment he is learning English to start an apprenticeship. His goal is to become a trainer. He will be a great one! Good luck, you will do it :)
Also Seyed joined us for our Taize prayer in the catholic university community (aki) where around 10 students participated. He liked it a lot and was surprised about such a nice prayer. As well for the supper afterwords he stayed and was happy because he felt like at home: sitting on a big table with many people, eating, talking.


For breakfast we visited again Vroni, the old lady of the neighbouring village Aesch. We had a good conversation and helped her apperently with a decision for her life. She was very happy to meet us again. All of us profited by each other - how nice.

In the evening we prepared the prayer in the Crypte of the Grossmünster in Zürich. It was a deep and fulfilling prayer with around 20 people. The meeting afterwords with cheese and bread was joyful and harmonious.

For our last evening we went with some of our new friends, Silvia, Martin, Laura and Boris, to a Jazz festival. Dear friends, thanks for the good time with you =) We are happy that we met you.





We prepared our departure, enjoyed the festival of the village and met people for the last time.
Silvia and Laura, Edith and Jürg joined us for our very last Taize prayer at home. Wonderful prayer.


Today we went to church together. It was nice to meet many people of Birmensdorf again. It was a warm and emotional goodbye. We have to come back :)
Now it is time of our departure. Everyone of us goes in an other direction. One is travelling by bus, one by train and one by plane. And we will continue our lifes...


Dienstag, 31. Mai 2016

Brunch with refugees
The retired pastor of Urdorf, who is also responsible for the organisation to arrange meetings with the refugees and the create a common base for communication to each other, invited us to come to their Brunch at the new reformed church which is always one time in the month. At 10:00 am we helped to prepare the room, tables, food,... . Around 11:00 the Brunch began. It was a good athmosphere with some interesting conversations between the inhabitans from Urdorf and the refugees. We also played table football in this big room (meeting point next to the church) and had good conversations. At about 2:00 pm it finished and all together we helped to clean and so on.

Montag, 30. Mai 2016

Review of a busy week


German lesson: We met again the guy from Ecuador and spent one hour together to practis 
e speaking German by playing games and drinking tea. Afterwards we invited him for our middayprayer at home and for lunch. Also Silvia a German girl living in Zürich and who already was in Taizé for several times joined us.

Preparing bibles for confirmands: The pastor of Birmensdorf asked us to help the librarian to wrap the bibles in special plastic to protect them. The bibles will be a present for the new confirmads who start their year of lessons for the confirmation next month.

Taize prayer in Schlieren: We were invited by the pastor of the neighbourhood parish named Schlieren to join their evening prayer with Taize songs. We created carpools with 10 people from Birmensdorf and drove to Schlieren. We prayed togehter for one hour and the pastor supported the singing with her guitar play. It was a nice coming together and we had good conversations and a nice finish with some tea and cookies. It was kind of a prayer intership because the week before they came to the Taize prayer in Birmensdorf and the people from Schlieren were happy to show us their new church which they had to build because of more and more church visitors.


Lunch with our pastor in Birmensdorf: We enjoyed the delicious food and his warm welcome in his nice old house. After eating we  prepared  the service in the old people`s home where we helped in the next morning. In between we had very good conversations especially about Taize and about people who inspired him in his life - most important is br. Roger. Many years ago he also has been permanent in Taize and also travelled in dieffernt countries for Taize.

Meeting with an immigrant from Afganistan who lives in Zürich for already 4 years. Maxie met the young guy for a second time to help him with his Engllish which he needs for an apprenticeship. They also talked about his life story and the situation in Afghanistan and in Switzerland, the lifestyle and so on. One sentence which made her thoughtful was: " I think people in Afghanistan are happier in life than in Switzerland, eventhough there is war !"

Helping in the garden of our host family, common prayer in the reformed church of Birmensdorf and helping with "Food Waste"the project of Silvia.



Praying with the residents of the old people`s home in Birmensdorf: The ecumencial service that takes place once in a month is a beautiful offering for all the old people who are not able to come to church on sunday anymore. For this time the pastor invited us to help in the service which was under the theme of Pentecost. We were reading the lecture and the intercessions. We supported in singing and we passed two ceramical doves to every person that they could touch and whatch it. The biggest challenge for us was to understand the sermon in swiss german :) - we tried our best and we recognized that after three weeks in Switzerland we get more and more into this difficult dialect.
After the last song in the service we gathered around a big table for some coffee. We had good talks with people of this facility and we hope to come back to meet with one or the other person again.

Adventure time at the edge of the forest: We met the youth worker Thomas of the reformed church of Urdorf and together with him and his youth group of around 15 fifth grade kids made a little hike to the  forest of Urdorf. In our luggage we carried some saws, old canvases, an axe, some firewood and a guitar up the hill and soon we found a nice fireplace. Before we searched for more firewood and sticks to make twist bread, we explaned the children a bit about Taize. Together with the guitar play of Marlen we taught them as well two Taize songs and had a nice atmosphere at the fireplace.

We concluded the day with an evening prayer in the reformed church of Birmensdorf and with a tea-time afterwards as it became our tradition. It is amazing that we have this possibility to organise these prayers on many evenings in our week and to share our praying with the people from the parish. It is always a highlight in our daily life here in Birmensdorf.


Hiking around the lake of Zürich with a beautiful view on the Alpes: We met at 9 o`clock in the morning with an elderly couple from Birmensdorf and two more women who are part of the group which organized our stay in Birmensdorf. Soon we found out that we all are enthusiastic hikers and that we picked the perfect day to make this day trip. We walked alternating through little woods, across fields or through small towns around the lake of Zürich. Great nature!

Prayer with Taize songs in the Krypta of the Grossmünster in Zürich. As in our first week we participated in the Taize prayer and enjoyed the nice meeting afterwords with swiss cheese and other snacks to end the day. Also Silvia joined us and Michael who was permanent aswell and lived several months in the fraternity in Brazil.


Trip with kids of catechesis to a bible museum: By bus and ferry we went to Meersburg (Germany) and visited the bibel museum. It is an interactive museum for kids where they can discover the bible and its stories. All of them printed psalm 23 in the old style of letterpress and felt like Gutenberg.
In the evening we helped working in the garden of our host family and played with their children.


Excursion with the parish to Castrisch /Bündner Land: With members of the parish we went in two mini buses to the twin parish of Birmensdorf: Castrisch. After three hours of driving we were invited for coffee and croissants of our hosts. Together we joined the service where we had the chance to listen to Rhaeto-Romance language, which is only spoken in this region. A very well sounding choir enriched the service in this old church in the mountains. For lunch we had a little barbecue (sadly inside because it was raining) and our hosts offered a huge amount of selfmade cakes. When the clouds were gone we visited the region and went to a viewpoint from which we had an amazing view on the mountains and the overwhelming gorge with its rapid river flowing in the middle. Still there are wolfs living in this region!
We were happy that also the Omar from Ecuador joined us for the tour. He had the chance to get to know the parish.




Walk with inhabitants of the old people's house: Every Monday some carers and voluteers go for a walk with old people in wheelchairs. They are too weak to walk by themselves so they are happy and thankful to get company and help. It is nice to see how easy you can give some joy to people.

German lesson for refugees: Like last Monday we went to Urdorf and joined the German lesson for some young male refugees. It is amazing to see their entuthiasm and motivation to learn a foreign language in a country where they speak mainly in dialect. This time we worked also in pairs to practise phrases. Again it was a comfortable, nice and relaxed atmosphere.

Montag, 23. Mai 2016

Highlights of the weekend

Social guided tour through Zürich (Friday): we discovered the city from an other few. Two former homeless men who are working now for the initiative "surprise" showed us how it is possible for homeless people to survive in Zürich the most expensive city in the world. There are several  places where they can sleep and get hot meals for little money or even for free. If you know where to go you can eat in one week for only 30 CHF! One of the guides showed us a place in the center of the city where some volunteers cook for homeless people four times a week in summer and five times a week in winter. One volunteer welcomed us to join the cooking team and to help one day, hopefully next week.

We went to an intercultural garden (Saturday). It is an initative of a family where people from different countries and cultures have the possibility to work and while working to come together, meet... Because of the same work they have a common base what makes it easy to get in contact. One of the brothers showed us the place. The field owned his grandfather and is still property of the family. A year ago it was full of wild grass, not used. Now they created several vegetable patches which you can rent for a season for really few money. The man is architecture and they built up a big wooden garden house, with a terasse with a roof above, a cooking place, ... useable for all gardeners - a place to meet.

Help with the preparation of a snack after catholic students mass (Sunday)

Meeting with an immigrant from Ecuador (Monday): the father, whose family is living in Barcelona at the moment, can't find a job without speaking good German! Since three years he is living in Switzerland allready. We want to meet him from now on regulary to improve his language skills and to integrate him and to give him new hope and motivation.

German lesson for refugees (Monday)
we joined a little team to teach some refugees German. We were surprised about such a good atmosphere between teachers and learners. 

Samstag, 21. Mai 2016

The beginning

Reformed church of Birmensdorf

Finally we have internet, we have a laptop and both is working together which makes it possible to write in this blog ;) First of all we want to give you a short report about our last 2 weeks we are allready living here in Birmensdorf, which is very close to Zürich.

The three of us arrived on the 7th of May at the trainstation in Zürich. We had a very warm welcome from Sandra, Rene and Edith who invited us, volunteers of Taize, to their parish. On the same evening we were invited for supper with all of them. On Sunday we went to church in Birmensdorf and afterwords we were invited for the traditional mother's day brunch, which was amazing. More than 100 people of the parish came and around 20 men (fathers, sons) prepared everything. It was a happy atmosphere, many families, delicious food - a very nice tradition :)
The next morning we joined the ecumenical group of women, which meets every week. They feel connected through Taize and on this base they take time to share about questions and topics in their lifes. Mainly this group organized everything for us. Thank you :)
In the end of that morning Trudi read the reading of the day (from Taize) and it fit so well in our situation! Incredible. That bible verse, which is written on top of this site, leads us through this month.
Still we didn't know at all what we would do the coming month and which ideas they would have for us. We were incredible curious! Finally we met with Sandra, Rene, Edith and pastor Carl Schnetzer Monday evening. They presented us their ideas of activities and gave us a whole list of people of different institutions around Zürich who we could contact. Everyone of us also received a colorful timetable with some allready fixed meetings. Orange marks our common prayers in church, which take place there nearly every evening.
Morning and midday prayer we are doing in our own small but beautiful flat.

Now we could start to contact all the people and fill up the gaps in our timetable. We were full of enthusiasm and motivation :) 

 Here some of our activities:
- Meeting with a Jesuit who works with students in aki, the catholic university parish led by Jesuits. He offers pastoral care and organizes different events with the students like a supper with refugees for example.   Afterwords he took us to a Taize prayer in the faculty of arts (Toni Areal) which was organized by some students. They try to connect art and faith/spirituality.

- "Food waste" is a project of a student who belongs to aki. Once a week they take the leftovers of a restaurant and distribute it on the next day in aki for the students for free. They can donate some money to support a current project. At the moment it is an Indian Jesuit who is building up a dancing school in India.
We joined the student in taking the food of the restaurant in the late evening and to organize the distribution to the students on the next day.

- Counseling for Youth: We were happy to get such a warm welcome in this house led by the catholic church. They took several hours to show us the different sectors. On one side they offer coaching for youth workers and on the other side they offer profesional counseling for young people between 12 and 28 years, which is for free and anonymous. It is open for every youth no matter which religion or background.

- Invitations for lunch
Several times we were invited for lunch by parish members. We were cooking together and shared about life.

- Meeting with a retired pastor in Urdorf, the next village to Birmensdorf: We had great and interesting talk with him and his wife during lunch. Both of them know Taize since the beginning of the youth meetings and they had many stories to share with us. They were happy to welcome us like they were welcomed when they travelled in Eastern Germany for Taize in the 1980's. Eventhough he is a retired pastor he is still very active and is the responsible for a network for refugees.

- Taize prayer in the crypte of the Grossmünster Zürich: we joined the weekly Friday evening prayer which exists for 40 years allready and which was found by the pastor couple of Urdorf when br. Roger visited Zürich. Today Sandra and Rene of Birmensdorf are part of the organisation team of the prayers.
The evening before Pentecost we helped in a Taize prayer with Eucharist in the same place which was prepared with many candles, icons, flowers and where instruments joined the songs.

- Indian Jesuit dancing for refugees: Pater Saju George from Kalkutta, who worked several times together with Mother Theresa, performed with a young group from India. Around 50 refugees mainly from Afghanistan, Syria and Somalia came to this opportunity of meeting and special program. Afterwords there was the possibility of sharing while eating traditional food cooked by some families.