The people of 2021

A great deal can be accomplished with the power of faith: getting children in lockdown to move around, bringing new courage to people with Parkinson’s disease, and opening the hearts of seniors with music. Here are some of the people of 2021 in the spotlight.

Making music during the lockdown

Tina im Kirchturm [Tina in the church tower] is the name of a series that has been running on YouTube since January 2021. There, budding music teacher Tina Stephan from the Hannover South congregation in Germany publishes music videos that allow children to join in and dance along.

When it was no longer possible to sing together with the children due to COVID-19, the 30-year-old had the idea to carry on nevertheless. Thanks to the technical support of Marcel Felde, the idea became a reality—and the interactive music series on YouTube was born.

“At first I had some reservations because I didn’t want to encourage the children to sit in front of the screen all the time. But on the other hand, it offered an opportunity to learn new songs with Christian themes and move around,” says Tina before going on to add: “We wanted to provide the children with some good and meaningful activity during the lockdown.”

Full story: “Music is my life”

Everyday hero on a full-time basis

The diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease has accompanied Detlev Friedriszik (65) from the congregation of Kamp-Lintfort in Germany for fifteen years now. It is an incurable disease that markedly affects everyday life, but it does not prevent the retired Priest from giving other people suffering from Parkinson's the courage to live their best lives.

As a volunteer, he has worked with the public for years to raise awareness about Parkinson’s. Many of his project ideas are born from his daily experiences with the disease. For example, Detlev Friedriszik made the personal experience that, in addition to medical treatment, exercise is also beneficial.

In March 2021, Detlev Friedriszik was named an “everyday hero” for his achievements as a role model for active living with Parkinson’s. This monthly distinction is awarded by the Hilde Ulrich Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the first private foundation in Germany to support research into non-drug treatment methods for Parkinson’s disease.

Full story: “Inspirational brother named everyday hero”

Music as a pastoral care tool

There is hardly anything else that can unleash as much power as live music. But what if a person can no longer participate in concerts and performances due to high age? Anette Zanker-Belz has a solution: musical house calls.

The music geragogue has led several online seminars on making music with people of advanced age in the Church’s Academy of Southern Germany. She has done the same in the New Apostolic Church of Northern and Eastern Germany. Her intent is to inspire members to help the elderly to better participate in congregational life—even if it has to be outside under the window while we are still in the pandemic.

Her desire is to serve as a blessing to others with the things that bring her joy. In this she sees her role model in Jesus Christ: “He made it possible for all people to participate. He approached the sick, the elderly, the poor, and even the sinners, and took them all by the hand. And He always met them at eye level.”

The whole story: “Music sets the mood”

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Andreas Rother
Social commitment, Congregational life