May 2018 Newsletter Our Mission We welcome all people. We serve the neighbors of Berlin. We grow together in Christ. We celebrate God's amazing love. AMERICAN CHURCH IN


Page 2 American Church in Berlin Interim Pastor Ben Coltvet Office: Leberstr. 7 10829 Berlin Telephone: +49 (0) 30 813 20 21 Fax: +49 (0) 30 813 2845 E-mail: THE ACB MAY 2018 NEWSLETTER Contents Page 2 President’s Message Page 3-4 Interim Pastor`s Message Page 5-6 Intern Pastor’s Message Page 7-9 Sunday Texts in May Page 10 May Birthdays Page 11 ACB Congregational Meeting Page 12 Movie Night Learning Café Page 13 ACB Missions Update Page 14-15 New Staff Opening Page 16 INSIDE THIS ISSUE May Missions Sunday 1st May Learn how we serve Berlin and the world. Be ready to join in with your praise and offering!!

June newsletter deadline: 20th May Pastoral Intern: Jim Vitale Organist: Amelia Puspita Financial Secretary: Diale Conrad Choir Director: Drew Lusher Contemporary Worship Leader: Eva Diestel ACB Gospel Choir: Nanita Winniewski


Page 3 Philippians 1:3-6: I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. This is the scripture with which Pastor Ben closed his final report as our Interim Pastor to the Church Council yesterday, and as I write to you all to Dear sisters and brothers in Christ at ACB, I am filled with that deep gratitude for this past 6 months we have had Pastor Ben and Margit at our sides and confident that God’s Grace has been and continues to carry us onward at ACB! We –the Council and Leadership of ACB- have grown with the support of the Coltvet’s steadfast witness and wise guidance in our midst, and feel strengthened in the hope and promise of God’s faithful guiding us the not only in the past, present, but also in the near and not so distant future! There is much to report, which will happen in more detail at our upcoming Special Congregational Meeting on May 13th from 12:15-13:15 between the services (please see Agenda announcement in this newsletter).

I wish to highlight 3 things here for you now, which we will be sharing at this special meeting: First of all, we the Church Council (aka the Call Committee) are extremely pleased to be able to update you on our search process for a new Senior Pastor at ACB and introduce our choice for a candidate on Sunday, May 13th . This is exciting news we can’t wait to share with you! We have felt blessed and carried by God’s leading throughout this process, using the Dwelling in the Word tool for the opening of all of our meetings. As we have learned from Intern Jim, this serves as our prayerful focus to listening in actively to God’s Calling each time we meet! We truly and unanimously feel that this candidate fully fits the Call God has in store for us and our leadership needs at this time at ACB!

PLEASE come one and all to learn more and cast your vote. Proxy Votes will only be accepted, up to 3 per delegated person, when received in writing at the church office by latest May 10th . Forms will be available at the church or per e-mail request sent to the office.


Page 4 Secondly, the Church Council is excited to be able to announce the posting of a new OFFICE MANAGER hire to begin mid-June as a 66% position encompassing office administration, business management and communications coordination. Herewith we hope to fulfill the mandate we received at our last Congregational Meeting to strengthen and reorganize our office infrastructure! Please see the job advert which is also included in this newsletters as well as in the upcoming Mid-Week Blasts, Facebook, the church newsletters of the German Lutheran (EKBO) and Catholic Churches, Tagesspiegel and the Morgenpost. We are deeply indebted to our current part time office staff; Diale Conrad and Eva Diestel, who have been supportive of this step and are currently working with us diligently as we prepare for this transition. We also are deeply grateful for the tireless work from our volunteer office staff, Kumar, Beulla, Ursula, Claudia and Smitha, who have picked up the extra work with daily office management and the preparations of our publications; bulletins and newsletters. Thirdly, we will be sharing a short summary of the presentation Margit Coltvet and I gave to the AFCU Board at their spring meeting in Arizona on the 20th and 21st of April. A 5-year review reflecting our responses to our new Vision and Mission focus on WELCOME, SERVE, GROW, CELEBRATE (adopted in 2013) along with a touching ACB Testimonial film about “Who We Are” and ACB’s Ministry will be shared. It will suffice then for here and now to share that we are deeply grateful, reaffirmed and encouraged by the amazing support we receive from our partners in the AFCU and the ELCA as well as by the signs of positive growth in our membership and giving in lieu of the significant challenges and transitions we have faced. There is a deep sense of God’s Grace steering and leading us that was felt and shared at that meeting in Ariziona! The spiritual and tangible support we have and continue to receive from our brothers and sisters in Christ on the AFCU Board in the USA is a true gift! But also our renewed and growing relationship with the ELCA during this Call Process and the collaboration with the German churches in our district of Schöneberg and Tempelhof in the EKBO are a witness to us at ACB that God is with us, for which we are truly and humbly grateful!

So please join us with glad and open hearts for the Special Congregational Meeting on Mother’s Day between our service from 12:15-13:15! Yours with love in Christ, Karin


Page 5 Love – Abide – Be Thankful Pastor Ben asked me to write an article for our final newsletter. We have had the privilege of living among you for six months. What do I say? What does the scripture for this week say? Love each other – “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God….God sent his only son into the world so that we might live through him…..there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (I John 4:7a, 9, 18a) Fifty years ago in July I had some fear. My life would change drastically as I married my love of 5 years, Ben Coltvet. I would move from New Your City to a town of 100 people in Canada, a new country. This was a big risk. We engraved I John 4:15-19 in our wedding rings, “There is no fear in love”, because we believed then that God’s love was center in our relationship. He would lead and guide us step by step. He has been with us through the joy and pain of at least 12 moves in four countries. God is faithful to His promises. He loves us so we love each other.

We are not alone – Jesus said, “Abide in me and I in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me… I am the vine, and you are the branches.” (John 15:4-5a) What does “Abide in me” mean? I have found it means spending time loving, listening and learning from Jesus in the Bible, through worship, through songs, through Bible studies, and through spending time listening in pray- er. I loved spending time with Moms and Babies at “Mom’s and Tots”. Thank you ACB for strengthening my faith here as I have lived among you. My faith was also strengthened as I attended the AFCU Board meeting in Tucson, Arizona with Karin von Rosen, your president. This Board is filled with people of faith who de- sire that our church in Berlin thrives. We are not alone!


Page 6 We are called to bear fruit – “Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 & 6). I am not a very good gardener. I don’t like getting dirty. But growing things does involve being willing to face the dirty jobs, face the pain, face the brokenness – then knowing where to “dump it”. When we abide in Jesus we can bow at the cross, ask for for- giveness and healing. This enables us to bear fruit and turn our at- tention to the needs of others – for food, clothes, shelter and love – and be the hands of Christ. Thank you ACB for modeling this at Laib und Seele, working behind the scenes at ACB singing and making music, volunteering, teaching children, working on boards and committees, providing welcome and hospitality to the stranger. We are called to bear fruit.

Thank you ACB – for loving us, for opening your hearts, your homes and your lives to us. We know you will continue to be the welcoming presence of Christ to all who enter ACB. We will pray for the future as you continue to support Intern Jim, Isabel and Ez- ra, welcome the next Interim Janice Kibler in June & July and the next pastor at the end of the summer. To God be the glory! With Love, Margit Coltvet


Page 7 Refreshed in Spirit and Enriched in Sight: A Week in Greece Just a couple weeks ago Pastor Ben, Mar- git, Isabel, Ezra, and me had the pleasure of joining the Association of International Churches in Europe and the Middle East (AICEME) in Athens for their annual pas- tor and spouse retreat. The gathering theme this year was “Refreshed in Spirit and En- riched in Sight” and focused particularly on the Apostle Paul’s ministry in Greece. The AICEME leadership assembled a wonder- ful experience, combining captivating sightseeing, stimulating lectures, and rejuvenating conversation—and plenty of good Greek food, too! After having traveled all day, we gathered as a group on Monday, April 16th for opening worship and dinner at the Stanley Hotel in Athens. Having gotten acquainted with each other we left early on Tuesday to explore ancient Cor- inth, where Paul spent some time after his famed and troubled encounter with the Athenians (Acts 17:16-33). In Corinth we wandered where Paul preached and stood at the judge’s seat where Paul was held on trial (Acts 18:1-17). On Wednesday we toured the city of Ath- ens, rich in its history. The whirlwind outing began with a brief bus tour, orienting us to the city. Next, we climbed the ancient Acropolis and wandered among the ruins of great Gre- cian temples, built thou- sands of years ago. We stood atop Mars Hill where Paul delivered his famous (though in- complete) sermon to the Athenians. We walked through the Agora where in ancient times Socrates taught philosophy.


Page 8 Bright and early Thursday morning we left Athens and headed north through the coun- try to Kalambaka. Driving high into the mountains we stopped along the way at the ancient Delphi. At the so-called center of civilization, it was here that the ancient oracle famously spun her cryptic predictions. Continuing our northerly jour- ney, we finally reached Kalam- baka, home of the famous Monasteries at Meteora. These monasteries are truly breathtaking and inspiring. These buildings have been perched atop ancient hundred-meter-tall rock formations for almost a thou- sand years, with Greek Orthodox monks and nuns still praying in and operat- ing them today. We were able to catch a glimpse into their lives as we ex- plored their churches and chambers, smelling the incense and contemplating the icons.

Our time in Greece was truly rewarding. Having never been to that corner of the world, I came away amazed at what ancient cultures could accomplish. Still more amazing to me, however, is the ways in which Christianity blos- somed and continues to flourish in Greece. As a group of Protestant clergy, we were caught a glimpse of eastern Christian traditions, so beautiful and dif- ferent from our own. In a short week we were able to watch the whole history of Christianity unfold: from the pagan orators whose philosophy laid a foun- dation, to Paul who wan- dered the Mediterranean preaching the good news, to the Medieval monks who secluded themselves in the mountains to con- template their faith, to the modern believers who taught us and journeyed with us along the way.


Page 9 After a week spent touring Athens, engaged in fruitful conversation with oth- er AICEME pastors, and worshipping our Lord in some beautiful settings, we came home from Greece feeling truly refreshed in Spirit and enriched in sight!


Page 10 Sunday, May 6, 2018-Sixth Sunday of Easter: Acts 10:44-48 ,Psalm 98 ,1 John 5:1-6 John 15:9-17 This Sunday’s image of the life the risen Christ shares with us is the image of friendship. We are called to serve others as Jesus came to serve; but for John’s gospel, the image of servanthood is too hierarchical, too distant, to capture the essence of life with Christ. Friendship captures the love, the joy, the deep mutuality of the relationship into which Christ invites us. The Greeks believed that true friends are willing to die for each other. This is the mutual love of Christian community commanded by Christ and enabled by the Spirit. Sunday, May 13, 2018-Seventh Sunday of Easter:Acts 1:15-17, 21- 26 ,Psalm 1 ,1 John 5:9-13 ,John 17:6-19 The gospel for Easter’s seventh Sunday is always taken from the long prayer Jesus prays for his followers in John’s gospel on the night before his death, and always includes Jesus’ desire that his followers will be one as he and the Father are one. This oneness is not mere doctrinal agreement or institutional unity, but mutual abiding, interpenetrating life, mutual love and joy. This oneness is the work of the Spirit whom we have received but also await. Come, Holy Spirit!

Sunday,May20,2018-Day of Pentecost:Acts 2:1-21 ,Ezekiel 37:1- 14 ,Psalm 104:24-34, 35b ,Romans 8:22-27 ,Acts 2:1-21 ,John 15:26- 27; 16:4b-15 On the fiftieth day of Easter we celebrate the Spirit, through whom and in whom the people of God are created and re-created. Pentecost is sometimes called the church’s birthday, but might more appropriately be called its baptism day, since the gift of the Spirit is the fullness of baptism. Ezekiel’s vision shows the Spirit resurrecting and re- creating not just individuals but a whole people. Romans makes it clear that God is in the process of re-creating the entire cosmos; yet the Spirit is also at work in the most intimate and personal way, praying in us “with sighs too deep for words” when we do not know how to pray.

Sunday,May27,2018-The Holy Trinity: Isaiah 6:1-8 ,Psalm 29 ,Romans 8:12-17 ,John 3:1-17 When we say God is the triune God, we are saying something about who God is beyond, before, and after the universe: that there is community within God. Our experience of this is reflected in Paul’s words today. When we pray to God as Jesus prayed to his Abba (an everyday, intimate parental address), the Spirit prays within us, creating between us and God the same relationship Jesus has with the one who sent him.

From Sundays and Copyright © 2016 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SAS004128. Sunday Texts in May Worship at 11:00 and 13:30 in the Luther Church

Page 11 May BIRTHDAYS Heike V. 2 Wisdom A. 3 Franklin A. 4 Margaret D. 4 Jukka O. 6 Denis R. 7 Matthias W. 7 Claudia S. 8 Sabine G. 10 Africa O. 11 Eline vH. 13 Mareen C. 15 Vivian A. 15 Annemarie M. 15 Hanna J. 15 Lily S. 20 Cynthia A. 20 Evelyn N. 20 Evander F. 21 Lily P. 21 Ivanol N. 22 Elliott M. 22 Steffi M. 24 Jennifer C. 24 Alexia P. 26 Phoebe F. 27 Philipp M. 27 Christian B. 27 Magdalene O. 28 Marie A. 28 Andrea A. 28 Jamiro M. 28 Petra R. 29

Page 12

Page 13 Learning Café will contiinue again on Monday 16:00-18:00 at the Luther Kirche. LEARNING CAFÉ

Page 14 Quite often it is said, that one should go back to basics to be able to move forward. With that in mind, we must ask the question, “What should be the mission of the church?”, and only then can we see if we are still on the right path with our different Mission projects. The answer to the question is this; The church is a creation of God (Acts 20: 28; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 17 and 15:9), founded and owned by Jesus Christ – “I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18) and is directed and energized by the Holy Spirit (1 Corin- thians 10:17; 12:5-27; Romans 12:4-5). Therefore, it is the church’s joy to look to God to explain His mission for it. The mission of the church is to make disciples. Just before Jesus returned to heaven, He commis- sioned His disciples this way: “Going in- to all the world, make disciples of all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe eve- rything that I com- manded you”. (Matthew 28:19-20) ACB Mission Update

Page 15 Secondly, the mission of the church is to glorify Christ, and to know and love Christ so supremely as to represent Him and His values accurately and vividly to the world and serve people’s deepest needs in the way Christ Himself would meet them. With the above question and answers in mind, I attended the March Mission Evening, where Ellen Smith and Jennifer Cripe told us more about their trip to India and the amazing work done by ISPCK (India Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge) and the Disha Project. I realized that this is exactly what they did – they “represented Him and His values accurately and vividly to the world (India) and serve people’s deepest needs in the way Christ Himself would meet them”.

We also had the privilege to obtain first-hand information about another ACB Mission project, the one in Ethiopia. During the April Mission Committee meeting, Dr Martin Frank, Secretary for Africa with Berliner Missionswerk told us about his recent trip to Ethiopia and the needs of the people there. Dr Frank will hopeful- ly, in the near future, attend a Mission Sunday to tell the congrega- tion more about the projects they support and how ACB’s sponsor- ship to send woman to Theological College, are helping the need for more female pastors and leaders in the church in Ethiopia.

Let us always remember that we represent Him and His values, and that we can only do that if we know and love Him su- premely. Only then can we serve people’s deepest needs in the way Christ Himself would meet them.

Page 16 ACB Church Council Announces A New Staff Opening Beginning, June 15th, 2018 "Office Manager" The American Church in Berlin is looking for an office manag- er beginning June 15th. ACB is an ecumenical, international protestant church with more than 17 Christian denominations from 30+ different nations which has been active in Berlin for more than 150 years. Responsibilities will include: • Administrative/office Management • Communications coordination • Financial manage- ment Zweisprachigkeit mündlich u. schriftlich ist eine Vo- raussetzung!

Compensation will follow the guidelines from "Tarifgruppe 5" TG5 over 66% Interested applicants, please submit a CV With a cover letter to the Church Office ( by May 20, 2018. To learn more about ACB please go to Join us for Bible Study on Sunday morning 9:30-10:30am! We will dwell together in the appointed scripture for Sunday.