Tuesday, May 24, 2005

To Cardinal Sterzinsky (Friends of All Saints)

His Eminence Georg Cardinal Sterzinsky
Berlin, April 25, 2005

Dear Cardinal Sterzinsky,

Your decision to close down the All Saints Catholic Community by June 23, 2005 fills the members of the association "Friends of All Saints" with great sorrow. The Friends Association, formed exclusively by members of the Catholic Community of All Saints, is committed to "conserve the former American Community Chapel as an ecumenical community center for the furtherance of English speaking social, cultural and religious activities". Our main interest of course is to support the continuing presence of the Catholic Community. The church has been used since 1957 in an ecumenical way by the Jewish and various Christian Communities, where the Catholic Community because of its large membership played a prominent role both in the use of time and space. When the American troops left in 1994, we continued this heritage with your great support, your Eminence.For one community alone the costs for rent and upkeep of the facility, now about 60000 Euro per year, are too high. The Friends Association has therefore looked for partners in using the building. They are, since 1994 the "Protestant Faith Fellowship", since 1999 the English speaking Montessori Kindergarden, since 2003 the Jewish Community "Sukkat Shalom", and since 2004 the "Crossway International Baptist Church". Through their rental payments to the Friends Association they make it possible that the Association bears all costs, with, of course, the Catholic Community of All Saints contributing an important share by their donations to the Friends Association.
In addition to the financial responsibility and the technical care for the facility, the Friends Association coordinates the common use by the different groups and religious communities by planning with them the schedule for the use of the building. This cooperation functions well and in harmony, without the Association influencing the content of the work of the different groups. The existence of a Catholic Community on H├╝ttenweg as the basis for the Friends of All Saints is therefore existentially important for the life of this ecumenical center. At a time, when Pope Benedict XVI makes ecumenical work his special concern, it would be extremely regrettable if the Catholic Church pulled out of this concrete, well functioning cooperation, and it would harm its image. We ask you therefore to allow the Catholic Community of All Saints under the leadership of Father Klaus Mertes SJ and Father Ralf Klein SJ to continue its presence here.


The executive committee of the "Friends of All Saints": Dr. Howard Eyth, Michael D. Hoth, Lupita Wilhelm, Heide Doblhofer

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