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Promote a culture of peace

Release of the latest membership magazine "initiativ" in July 2016

The latest membership magazine of the the Ecumenical One World Initiative focusses on the article 16 of the Earth Charter:

Promote a culture of tolerance, nonviolence, and peace.

The German version of the booklet is available for download here: initiativ 146 (1,9 MB).


Two English articles (translated by Fabian Bethge) are available below:

The International Fellowship of Reconciliation signs the Earth Charter

The members‘ meeting of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation has signed the Earth Charter.

The executive committee had discussed this step on its preceding meetings. At its meeting in January 2016 in Bielefeld the organization concluded to support the Earth Charter in the name of the German branch of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation. The resolution included the following note: „With regards to national and international security systems we oppose a military defence, which includes the use of war weapons. Those should be abolished completely. All weapons of war must be abolished!“

The Earth Charter at the international „Pilgrimage for Justice and Peace“

Pilgrims from five countries and Earth Charter ambassadors visited the Colbitz-Letzlinger heath (an area in central germany) together – and they made a military journey in time from 1945 to 2016.

Mid of April 2016 a pilgrimage on the topic of peace took place for several days. It was part of the „Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace“, which is a joint initiative of associated churches of the World Council of Churches, resolved in 2013 in Busan. Representatives of five associated churches from the USA, Tanzania, Sweden, Finland, Poland and England followed the invitation of the Lothar-Kreyssig Ecumenical Centre of the protestant church in central Germany. Bernd Luge from the citizen’s initiative Open Heath („Offene Heide“)* and Joris Spindler, who is an Earth Charter embassador and member of the „Vitopia“ project in Magdeburg, accompanied the group of pilgrims on their way through the Colbitz-Letzinger heath. In words, pictures and reports about current developments they explained the military history of the area and dared to give an outlook on a possible future development where the heath can be used peacefully, again.

On this day the pilgrimage path started at the northern edge of the Colbitz-Letzlinger heath, at the memorial „Feldscheune Isenschnibbe“. 71 years before, on April 13th 1945, one thousand concentration camp prisoners had been burned alive. The perpetrators were members of several entities of the National Socialist regime. Among them were members of the NSDAP, SA-men, members of the SS and Waffen-SS but also members of the Hitler-Jugend and of the Reichsarbeitsdienst. The cruel murder was committed only a few days before the amercian soldiers arrived.

Afterwards the journey lead along the heath which is used as a military drill ground since World War II. The impressive silence of nature at the edge of the area was a remarkable sensation to the pilgrims. At a tank memorial, directly at the heath road the group could not rest for long: An employee of a private security service which works in the name of Bundeswehr told the group to move on immediately.

Till today war has been practicing in the heath without intermission. At times of the cold war the area was used as a site for nuclear weapons. These days a „battle city“ is built as a scenery with more than 500 buildings inside of the natural reserve. Soldiers from Germany and other European countries prepare for foreign assignments. The German army is involved in 15 international military missions with 3000 soldiers.



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