Christhard Elle

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The STAUNEN! 2018 team

Katrin Aretz

Born 1968, widow and mother of 2 great kids, who love the fact that I work as a teacher for maths and handicrafts (fortunately I did actually learn a skilled trade at one point in time. ;-).

I've been living in Bremerhaven for 9 years now, and EmK Bremerhaven has been my home for 5 years.

Being at home in this particular church community means constantly following new paths on behalf of the Lord.

I spend my free time preferably doing things with friends, e.g. cooking and eating, or cycling, particularly on the dike.


"I've got involved in STAUNEN, because

-  God moves in wonder-ful ways.

-  it offers scope for very intensive encounters with God and for community.

-  my involvement in STAUNEN 2015 was for me a very special blessing and gift."

Christhard Elle

50, pastor in the Bremerhaven re-building project, married to Karin and father of 2 children. One of his great passions consists in helping people to keep telling each other more about their faith experiences. This was the vision that resulted in Staunen! 2015. He has run 3 faith conferences together with Kai Schoof: 2008 and 2011 in Walsrode-Krelingen and 2015 at Dünenhof. Originally from the Ruhr, he now also lives on the North Sea coast. Whether walking on the beach or sailing out at sea, this is where he finds rest and recharges his batteries. Two other important things in his life are the barbecue and his guitar.


"I've got involved in STAUNEN, because I hope that God will use this special time to touch as many people as possible. And that perhaps our church will also find a new beginning."

Iris Heiting-Gießmann

Born 15 September 1963 in Marburg. Mother of two wonderful daughters, I work as a school social worker at a primary school in Bremerhaven. I love life and the people in my surroundings.


I love discovering nature, preferably by cycling. My new garden is currently very fulfilling. Photography is also increasingly becoming a very exciting pleasure.


"I've got involved in STAUNEN, because faith in God constantly makes me wonder and shows me how important every single person is with all his talents.

Staunen 2015 already showed me what we can do when we take up new challenges with a brave heart and offer all our talents. I would like to be part of it and work and contribute in God's name."

Alexandra Giese

Rudi Grützke

59, EmK pastor in Delmenhorst,

passionate sportsman, loves travelling, preferably with his caravan; reads detective stories and historical novels, is interested in history and politics.


"I've got involved in STAUNEN, because I think it offers a great possibility for strengthening faith and experiencing community."

Ralf Helm

Hi there, I'm 49 years old, married and a member in the der EmK church in Henstedt-Ulzburg (Hamburg North).


"I've got involved in STAUNEN 2018 because I've been to many Christian events and conferences etc. and it fascinates me to be able to help out and make my own contribution to such an event.

This gives the whole thing a new dimension and makes me wonder even more about God!

And ... the eager anticipation begins even sooner!“

Maren Herrendörfer

42 years old, pastor

Quiet time with God has increasingly become the focus of my life in recent years.

I love the north of Europe (most particularly in Norway!), love to spend time out and about in nature, with friends at a café, with a good book on the couch or baking cakes in the kitchen!


"I've got involved in STAUNEN, because it lets us experience what the writer of the Psalms was going through (Psalm 42, 5): "These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng."

Hartmut Kraft

55 years old, has been living in Hamburg since the end of August; pastor in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel and Kiel, happily married to Irene Kraft; hobbies: reading, geocaching and cooking, likes going to Sweden


"I've got involved in STAUNEN 2018 because the first STAUNEN faith conference was already a profound spiritual experience with so many diverse people. STAUNEN is inspiring and enriching, it is great fun and it brings people together."

Günter Loos

Born 1964. Since 2003, he has been involved in various functions for the church with special responsibility for working with children. Pastor in the German Methodist church with a Master's degree in theology. Worked together during the 1990s with a committed team to develop the concept of children's water sport camps, which have meanwhile been held for 25 years. He runs the youth group camps in Metten/Osnabrück and is also otherwise constantly out and about with children and young people, offering amazing activities and events. His passion is to tell children Bible stories in an understanding, exciting and creative way and to offer children space for their faith.


His hobbies include canoeing and long-distance cycling. Günter Loos is married with two sons.


"I've got involved in STAUNEN, because the most wonderful thing about God's invitation to life is that He addresses people of all ages. For a few days, Staunen 2018! will show what that can really mean."

Sebastian D. Lübben

37 years old, married to Tanja, father of two daughters Lieke and Leevke. I'm pastor in Neuschoo and my heart beats for the people I meet on a day-to-day basis and who let me accompany them through the phases of their lives. The next generation is particularly close to my heart. Otherwise I enjoy making music and I love the sea and wide open spaces.


"I've got involved in STAUNEN, because this event is a great opportunity to discover God's greatness and to recharge our batteries for work and everyday life."

Tanja Lübben

I'm 37 years old, married to Sebastian and we have two children. We work together as pastors in Neuschoo which is in East Frisia, not far from the North Sea coast. A few years ago God put the next generation in particular close to our heart which was a new calling for us both. It is with great pleasure that we spend a lot of time in helping churches to serve the next generation.


My hobbies are travelling, reading, swimming and cycling. I love the sea, the beach and the islands. This is where I relax and often wonder!


"I've got involved in STAUNEN, because "wonder" for me also means new beginnings. At the moment more than ever, we need a church of new beginnings that relies on God more, that learns to wonder because God can do great things. My church needs renewal. As in the old days with John Wesley! And I want to be part of this renewal movement! I can get quite passionate about this and STAUNEN will make a considerable contribution in this respect: I'm really looking forward to it!"

Friederike Meinhold

Karsten W. Mohr

Age: 68

Profession: EMK pastor

Hobbies: I like cycling and discovering new things


"I've got involved in STAUNEN, because it provides an excellent opportunity to meet people from many different countries and to share faith experiences with them."

Uwe Onnen

Born 1961 in Delmenhorst. I'm a pastor in Hamburg where I live with my family. I'm really looking forward to the event, having already attended the European Festivals in Potsdam and Bratislava together also with Staunen2015. I like reading and travelling, I enjoy going to the cinema and spending time with other people.


"I've got involved in STAUNEN, because this kind of Methodist event will give me an opportunity to share in the faith experiences of many people which will be an encouragement to me."

Anja Owczarek

49+1 years old, bank employee, married with 2 children


"I've got involved in STAUNEN, because it is wonder-ful to experience how God takes us all as individual pieces of a puzzle to create a fantastic big picture. It fills me with wonder to see that and how God walks with each individual person on their very own journey. Furthermore, it is simply a great opportunity to enjoy such an intensive experience in community with so many Christians."

Stephan Ringeis

Superintendent of the Zwickau district, EMK Germany

Treasurer of the European Methodist Council.


"I've got involved in STAUNEN 2018 - The European Festival 2018 - because I believe that international encounters are simply indispensable, constantly strengthening my faith."

Wilfried Röcker

Born 1964, married with two grown-up children

Pastor, Head of the Education Mission of the EMK in Germany since summer 2013, previously pastor at three different church charges in the South Germany Conference.


"I've got involved in STAUNEN, because we will be inspired by sharing our experiences in the faith and in the everyday lives of our churches across all church, community, state and country borders."

Jacqueline Rohmann

Born 1957 in Birmingham, England; translator, widow, 2 adult children, 2 grandchildren and 1 dog. Member of Hamburg International Church since 2011.


“I've got involved in STAUNEN because as a translator I would like to help as many people as possible from as many different countries and cultures as possible to join in.”

Martin Schiller

Age: 52 years

Profession: I am a polar research engineer at the Alfred Wegener Institute

Hobbies: sailing


"I've got involved in STAUNEN, because I want to join the team on this journey and use my God-given talents to serve Him."

Dorothea Schoof

Born 1966, married to Kai, 2 children + 2 children + one dog,

graduate business administrator for the Hanover Region;

if I had the time, I'd pursue hobbies such as photography, travel, making and listen to music, gardening and reading

Member of the EMK church in Bremerhaven because physical proximity is not the be-all and end-all.


"I've got involved in STAUNEN, because this kind of event can only happen through personal commitment and the great echo in 2015 clearly showed the huge need for opportunities to share with other churches and faith communities."

Kai Schoof

Born 1965, Swabian by birth, now "exiled" in North Germany, married to Dorothea, the best gift I was ever given, 2 + 2 children and a dog who is better than any gym.


Civil engineer and CEO of an engineering firm in Hanover.


Member of EMK Bremerhaven, the coolest church south of the Arctic Circle.


I love photography, Norway, lost places, nature, the northern lights, walking, canoeing and music (listening to and making it!)


"I've got involved in STAUNEN, because:

  • I think it's important for Christians to widen their horizons and take a broader view beyond their own congregation, own church, own denomination and own nationality.
  • sharing worship, the Bible and prayer creates the best prerequisites for tolerance, respect, love, friendship, learning from each other and being filled with WONDER
  • STAUNEN is a good opportunity to invite people to God without needing lots of words.
  • I can see how God always blesses any commitment shown to STAUNEN and this kind of event.

it is great fun to organise STAUNEN, it teaches me a great deal with lots of new experiences, it's brought me lots of great friends and put me at the head of the best organisation team you could possibly imagine."

Stephan von Twardowski

Stephan von Twardowski, 39 is church pastor in Clausthal-Zellerfeld in the lovely Harz mountains. He also has special responsibility for working with youngsters in the Children's and Youth Mission of the EMK in Germany. Born in Hamburg, he is also passionate about discovering other regions, countries, cultures, lifestyles and outlooks. His wife Esther comes from South Africa with a warm-hearted humour that puts a lot of laughter in his life and into that of their daughter Mila. Stephan loves water sports and also likes playing handball, although there simply isn't enough time at the moment.


"I've got involved in STAUNEN, because it offers a wonder-ful opportunity to share and talk with each other and to grow together in faith - despite or perhaps because of the many different generations, cultures, languages and outlooks."

Alison Walker

Lars Weinknecht

Born in Hesse, I now live in Berlin and am the StarWars pastor for working with children and youngsters, the cooking head of KJW North, the reading concert visitor, passionate collector of Walt Disney's Merry Paperbacks, the family father out and about on behalf of the Lord, the jovial whiskey lover, the coffee-addict early riser, the man who's always bought the same shoes for the last 45 years ("at least I know they'll fit") – and the man with the scruffy laptop (to quote a colleague from KJW-North), who's really looking forward to STAUNEN! 2018 and to meeting you!


"I've got involved in STAUNEN, because it fills me with wonder to see what happens and how community emerges when we come together beyond our everyday lives, in joy, with an open mind and the willingness to live faith together in prayer and song. This special kind of community really strengthens my faith."

Theresa Weißmann

Born 2 March 1995 in Essen, Theresa has been living near Hamburg since 2016, in Bönningstedt for six months and then in Norderstedt since the end of 2016. She works as a masseur, plays football in her spare time and travels around with her camera which gets put to good use at various events. She attended the Youth Camp held by the water sport enthusiasts in 2016 for the first time.


"I've got involved in STAUNEN because I am constantly fascinated how people surpass themselves with God at their side."

Olaf Wischhöfer

51 years, pastor,

Hobbies: reading, sauna, camping, red wine ;-)


"I've got involved in STAUNEN, because I'm convinced that we need this kind of special opportunity and time for encounters!"


Emil Zaev

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