The Berlin church of interbeing

Begun a little over two years ago, the Berlin Church of Interbeing has become an ecosystem of regular events, centered around a “service” held every Sunday, designed and hosted by volunteers from the community, and open to the public. Built out of ritual and practice components that are common to many traditions — meditation, movement, dialogue, singing, and sharing food — each Sunday service is an experiential inquiry into a thematic question, offered by the hosts and explored together by hosts the participants. From a very small start, the project has grown by word-of-mouth, now attracting around sixty people each Sunday, from a wider participant community of about 1,200 Berliners.

Project website | Instagram | Constitution

Project ecosystem and governance

In addition to Sunday services, the Berlin project includes morning meditations three days per week, an evening practice space every Tuesday, monthly singing and chanting events, and community dinners and public events produced in collaboration with other projects in the neighbourhood. Sunday services are held at the Genezareth Kirche, a renovated church building in Berlin’s multicultural Neukölln district. The project has an ongoing partnership with the religious organization that manages this church building.

The Berlin church of interbeing is governed by a council of stewards, elected from among the participants and hosts. A circle of international advisors with substantial organizational leadership experience supports the council. Volunteer working groups carry out much of the operational tasks in the project, under the leadership and coordination of one paid project lead. The project is primarily funded from donations from the local community.

Learning context

The Berlin Church of Interbeing remains a work in progress. Areas that are particularly important for continued development include:

  • Bringing more diversity of background, experience, and perspective into the stewards council and host team.
  • Increasing intergenerational and cross-cultural participation in services.
  • Strengthening feedback and learning processes in the organization, and safeguards to prevent drift into ideological or metaphysical assumptions in services and other project offerings.
  • Creating a stronger local financial base through fundraising events, patronage, and local grant funding.

Although the Berlin project is still evolving, it presents a strong case for the hypothesis that such pluralistic ritual spaces can serve an important function in societies of the future.