Erfurt (dpa/th) - The chairman of the national Christian youth festival "Christival", Karsten Hüttmann, has called for charity in view of the war in Ukraine. "Let's be good hosts, be good friends, be family substitutes," Hüttmann preached on Sunday at the closing service in front of almost 10,000 young people in the Erfurt exhibition center. The people from Ukraine who are now living in Germany need support. Behind the "Christival" are the Evangelical Alliance of Free Churches, the Evangelical Church in Central Germany (EKM) and the Working Group of Christian Churches (ACK). The next Christival is scheduled to take place in 2028. Place and date are still unclear.
The Erfurt edition was the seventh Christival. According to the organizers, a total of around 13,000 young people between the ages of 14 and 24 from Germany and abroad have come together in Thuringia's state capital since the start on Wednesday evening. The program of the meeting, held every six years in a different city, included church services, round tables, workshops and concerts.
The longing for community and the interest in content was surprisingly large, said project manager Chris Pahl. The young people, on average between 16 and 17 years old, "absorbed them like a squeezed sponge".
The majority of visitors came from the more Christian states of Baden-Württemberg and Hesse. But around 20 percent of the participants this year were also from the eastern federal states.
"Watching you celebrate, pray and dance was unbelievable for all of us," Hüttmann summarized the four days. In his closing sermon, he called on the young people to take the joy and hope of the past few days with them into everyday life. "Let us be messengers of joy, messengers of hope and bringers of faith in our environment."