Rainbow Centre at the German Protestant Kirchentag (Church Convention) in Stuttgart/Germany
In June 2015 under the theme of that we may become wise more than 100.000 people gathered in Stuttgart for 5 days of celebrating, listening, sharing, discussing on important issues of faith and society in todays globalized world. The Rainbow Centre was located in a local congregation at the suburbs of Stuttgart. During three days hundreds of LGBTIQ people visited the center, attended workshops and panels and lectures and film presentations.
We survived increasing temperatures not only due to controversial discussions but also caused by the hot weather. Nevertheless many participants, allies, parents of LGBTIQ, church officials and curious visitors, activists and journalists attended our programme.
The European Forum became visible though the involvement in the international program at the Rainbow Centre: a workshop on Young queers with four members of the East- European mentoring program offered a moving space to learn more about the situation of young people in Latvia, Russia, Estonia and Rumania and their struggles to live their lives as members of sexual minorities but also as people with a strong longing for searching their spirituality.
The workshop on Queer theology by a feminist theologian from Hong Kong provided new insights into the situation of LGBTIQ people in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan – and their theological reflection in East-Asian contexts.
The panel on Closed Doors – opening windows - homosexuality in North-South church dialogue- offered voices and best practices from Cameroon, Indonesia and Hong Kong. The senior Madame Alice Nkom, advocate from Cameroon, was such an impressive voice of courage in the midst of threats against LGBTs in Cameroon.
Church leaders such as Bishop Hein from Kassel came together from church bodies in Germany and the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches to reflect on strategies how to open windows despite closed doors of many churches in Africa and Asia, but also in parts of Europe. The feedback from the audience and participants revealed how important such a pioneering dialogue has been. New collaborations between churches in East and West, North and South had become feasible.