Christian hope and perseverance contributed significantly to the fall of the Berlin Wall, says the Rev Samuel Kobia, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, commenting on the 20th anniversary of the event which brought to an end the cold war era.
Reflecting on the events two decades ago in East Germany, Dr Kobia said that the people who "gathered in the churches and became the nucleus for the movement of change [...] taught us that Christian faith can inspire a resistance movement against fatalism and despair - a lesson which is as important today as it was twenty years ago".
In his message released today, he declared: "A movement that started with prayers and candle light vigils in the Saint Nicolas Church in the centre of Leipzig, spread all over East Germany and inspired and encouraged people to confront the power of police and secret service in a very effective and peaceful way. The church in the former German Democratic Republic offered an inclusive space to people in search of freedom and a spiritual home.
"When we celebrate today twenty years of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which marked the end of the cold war era, let us remember the faith and the courage of all those people who gathered in the churches and became the nucleus for the movement of change."
Kobia added: "There are still many walls separating humankind: the "Demilitarised Zone" between North and South Korea, the 'Security Wall' on the occupied territory in Palestine, but also the walls of injustice, racism and prejudice that separate rich and poor, stigmatise persons suffering from HIV and AIDS and destroy the lives of many people."
Also on Ekklesia: 'The Berlin Wall fell in many places', by Stephen Brown.