(Report in 5 parts)
The solemn finale was set at the place where the idea of PeaceBread had initially been started. Welcomed by magnificent late summer weather, participants of the conference as well as visitors of the Berlin Wall memorial site at the Chapel of Reconciliation at Bernauer Straße gathered for an ecumenical service with priest Thomas Jeutner and colleagues from different denominations.
This included Ivica Sucic, Croatian Parish, priest Eva-Maria Menard, Evangelic Parish at Weinberg Berlin, Andreas Wagner, Catholic Parish Expert Worker at St. Sebastian, Father Emmanuel Pannier, Catholic Herz Jesu Parish, Archpriest Ljubomir Leontinow, Bishop Vicar of the Bulgarian-Orthodox Church, as well as the Evangelic-Lutheran priest Zsolt Lazar from Szarvas, Hungary. Sermon, prayers and songs – framed by festive ringing of the bells and a trombone choir – gave evidence of the gratitude and joy “for Your God’s gifts”.
Now it was time: representatives of all partner countries carried the first European PeaceBread to the Chapel of Reconcilation. In front of the harvesting carriage, festively decorated by members of the Rural Women Association and farmers from Berlin, and following the blessing of the bread, the European PeaceBread was solemnly broken and tasted.
Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Christian Schmidt, patron of PeaceBread, complimented the “emotional situation” that rye is now grown on the former death strip and that the idea of a European PeaceBread gains momentum. He characterised PeaceBread as an “important task” and emphasised that – in the sense of peace-keeping and securing food supply – sowing and harvesting should be continued, as “bread also has the power to create peace”. As a symbolic sign of taking the idea of PeaceBread beyond that day, the minister handed over the first PeaceBread to the Ambassador of Latvia to Germany, Mrs Elita Kuzma; as partner of International Green Week 2015, Latvia will tell its national PeaceBread story at Green Week and then hand over the baton to Poland, country of the PeaceBread conference in 2015.
The President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Frenchman Henri Malosse, gratefully brought to mind the role of civil society in such historical transformations – and highlighted the reciprocal relation between peace-keeping and agriculture as indeed an obvious one.
The PeaceBread, baked by master baker Wolfgang Zimmermann from Berlin Spandau, rye soup, bockwurst and a “peace beer” as special contribution of Schoppe-Bräu Berlin and the German Brewers’ Association, provided for an equally tasteful and nutritious refreshment. Teenagers from the encounter platform ‘open houses’ from several countries busily helped to serve the guests.
As a very symbolic high point and solemn finale of the PeaceBread-celebration, and accompanied by the European hymn “Ode to Joy” that was performed by the Zentral-Kapelle Berlin, participants “embraced” the field of rye which has already been sown for 2015.
Impressions over Impressions
Pictures: Anton Blöth (Berlin), Zsolt Lazar (Szarvas), Rüdiger Pelikan (Brandenburg), Marion Schenk (Zirndorf), Ulrich Wiltsch (Berlin)