Service Programs

International Advent Celebration in Stuttgart Raises Funds for Charity

Stuttgart, Germany - Ending the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2010), UPF-Stuttgart organized an international Advent celebration on December 11. More than 70 people — young and old — enjoyed not only coffee and cookies but also various presentations of international art and culture. The room and tables were beautifully decorated with Christmas ornaments.

The program started with Maike Tijsterman playing the piano piece "Kiss the Rain" by Yiruma. Ute Lemme, the MC of the event, welcomed the guests, and everybody joined together singing a traditional German Christmas carol: "Macht hoch die Tür."

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Christoph Wenzel, head of the Family Federation in Stuttgart, read a Christmas story called "Wonder" by Heike Denzau. It was followed by the piano piece "Nuvole bianche" by Einaudi, played by Katrin Daudert. The actress Ida Kassiekpo-Schmidt then sang a moving African song. She is from Cote d’Ivoire, where she and her husband are supporting a relief project. She spoke briefly about the political and social turmoil of her country (especially because of the contested outcome of the November 28 presidential elections) and asked everybody to pray for her country and the children supported by this project.

Mr. Bernhard Volk, head of the International Relief Friendship Foundation of Germany, gave a short introduction about the foundation and together with Ute Lemme presented an appeal to help the orphans in the Kawangare slums of Nairobi, Kenya. This was the idea of the participating youth, who were selling their homemade Christmas cookies to collect donations for the relief project. Simon Kingori, the founder of Orphans and Street Kids Kenya, intends to use the money to bring some Christmas joy to these children. A slide show explained the work of Mr. Kingori and this project. We raised 310 Euros to send as a donation.

Mr. Hubert Arnoldi, head of UPF-Stuttgart, sang the song "Jerusalem" while playing the guitar. Then Mr. Samir El Midani, a native of Egypt, read Surah 19 from the Qur’an, the story of the birth of Jesus. Many of the guests never realized that this important Christian event was also included in the Qur'an.

Everybody sang the song "Daughter Zion." together. Then a girl band sang "Hear You Me."

The last contribution before the coffee break was from a Japanese women’s choir, which offered two songs — the Russian song "Troika," which is well known in Japan, as well as a Japanese winter song.

Everyone enjoyed the plentiful cakes and homemade cookies during the coffee break while Grandpa Wenzel played some songs on his harmonica.

To everyone's surprise even Santa Claus found his way into the gathering. Was it Santa Claus himself or someone in disguise? Whatever the answer, his presents were plentiful, not only for the children but also for the adults. A group photo was taken before everyone went home.

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