The word “reconciliaton” means repairing brokenness. But how did it become our church’s name?
In 1983, the year before he was called to start a new congregation in Wilmington, Pastor Frank Perry and his wife Martha visited Berlin to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s birth. A friend showed them the site where a church called the Church of Reconciliation once sat in the middle of the Berlin Wall.
The church had been founded in 1894 as a gift from Kaiser Wilhelm II. When the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, the East German government as a concession to tearing it down, enclosed the church within the wall. Since the parishioners were no longer able to use the church, a new Church of Reconciliation was built a block away. The old church stood until 1985 when it was torn down because guards claimed it impeded their vision.
Pastor Perry was so impressed with the history of the Church of Reconciliation that he recommended that the new church in Wilmington include “reconciliation” in its new name.
Out of brokeness comes reconciliation
From the ruins of the Reconciliation Church a new chapel rose. Volunteers from fourteen eastern and western European nations helped in the rebuilding.
“The chapel also has a replica of Coventry Cathedral’s Statue of Reconciliation, a gift of the Cathedral found in Hiroshima and Belfast too – also places emerging from the destructiveness of war.”