Practical Theology III

Selective Forms of Participation in Leisure and Touristic Programs of the Protestant Church of Germany as an Opportunity for Temporary Forms of Religious Community („Gemeinde auf Zeit“) (EKD-project)

Term: May 2012 – Oct 2016

Team: Prof. Dr. Peter Bubmann (Erlangen), Prof. Dr. Kristian Fechtner (Mainz), Prof. Dr. Birgit Weyel (Tübingen), Jonathan Kühn (Doctoral Student in Erlangen), Tanja Martin (Doctoral Student in Mainz), Kathrin Wanner (Doctoral Student in Tübingen) sowie Konrad Merzyn (EKD), Regional Bishop Prof. Dr. Stefan Ark Nitsche (Nürnberg) und Provost Dr. Sigurd Rink (EKHN)

The project centers on the German word “Gemeinde” which has many different connotations, such as community, parish, congregation, religious and political community. Very often it is related to the community in a “parish,” and thus to people who gather mainly in Sunday services, but it also carries a theological dimension, namely, the idea of a community that is based on communicating the word of the Holy Bible and administering sacraments.

Central to my research is the question of how selective participation in leisure and touristic offers comes to be. Who encounters church at these occasions and why? Which forms of community and especially of “Gemeinde” arise here? I will try to answer these questions by having a closer look at biblical journeys, services in nature and churches for cyclists. Methodically, I use interviews and questionnaires and additionally analyse four guestbooks for the example of churches for cyclists.