Führer was awarded a special prize by the Protestant Literature Portal for his book, “Und wir sind dabei gewesen: Die Revolution, die aus der Kirche kam” (“And we were there. The revolution that came from the Church”).
On October 9, Leipzig in eastern Germany marks the 20th anniversary of tens of thousands of people taking to the streets after the prayers for what turned out to be a peaceful demonstration for change, despite fears of a Beijing-style Tiananmen Square crackdown.
The peaceful outcome of the Leipzig demonstration marked a turning point in the democracy protests that led to the opening of the Berlin Wall exactly one month later, on November 9, 1989. Führer’s autobiography recounts the spirit of optimism people felt during that year and what is left of it today.
Führer was pastor of the church of St Nicholas in Leipzig where the weekly prayers for peace began in 1982 when Europe faced the deployment of nuclear missiles in West and in East and at a time of the growth of an independent peace movement in East Germany
The award was made during a gathering in Kassel organized by the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), the country’s biggest Protestant grouping.
“The peaceful revolution of 1989/1990 was formed by the Protestant church and has deep roots there,” said the EKD’s Eckhart von Vietinghoff in his tribute. “Recounting the story of his contribution and exceptional life, Christian Führer, who was for more than 30 years pastor at St Nicholas’ in Leipzig, brings this experience back to life.”
The meeting in Kassel marked a step in the process that EKD started in January 2007 to prepare for the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation in 2017.
During the meeting, other awards were given to outstanding missionary work.
The “fantasy of faith” award of the Association of Missionary Services (AMD) was given to a small Christian community in Essen called e/motion. The community was founded in 1999 and now has 90 members aged between 20 and 30. They share daily life and organize evening services each Sunday. “E/motion is the answer to the question as to how the Church will look when money is short,” said Axel Noack, presenting the award.
The Protestant Youth in Germany (AEJ) presented an award for the “Move your life” project in Laatzen, near Hanover. This encourages young people to use physical exercise and sport in urban settings.