From 1989 Berlin to 2019: One congregation looks at the walls that exist still today

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – All around the world, including right here in KELOLAND, people are remembering the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Thirty years ago, that historic event has come to symbolize the unification of East and West Germany as well as the end of the Cold War. The South Dakota Synod commemorated that moment in 1989 by contextualizing it to walls that may exist in 2019.

“We need to be cautious about all the walls that we build. In our own mind, around our homes, around our countries, around any ideology that we have that this is the only way how the world can be viewed,” Bishop Constanze Hagmaier said.

South Dakota Synod Bishop Constanze Hagmaier grew up in West Germany and saw the fall of the Berlin Wall when she was 19-years-old.

She shared her story with the congregation and spoke about how we can break down the walls that still exist today.

“It was a peaceful revolution then and I hope that we as people of this world continue to stand up for these peaceful revolutions of tearing down walls that surround us. No matter where they are, whether they’re physical walls or walls in our hearts or our minds,” Bishop Hagmaier said.

Hugo Rodriguez, a member of Pueble de Dios in Sioux Falls, was another speaker at the event. He spoke about the metaphorical walls immigrants face coming to a new country.

“Once we arrive to the U.S., or any country in the world, for immigrants, can be very difficult because we the face all the walls,” Rodriquez said.

Rodriguez says those walls could be language barriers, the struggle of making new friends or the difficulties of getting a job.

“And it doesn’t have to be a brick wall. It’s just those barriers that we build just by judging others,” Rodriguez said.

Bishop Hagmaier says one way the world can begin tearing down those walls is just by talking with one another.

“When you have the opportunity to sit down with someone that you thought you would never be able to sit down with for whatever reason, make an attempt to sit down and hear their story and share your story,” Bishop Hagmaier said.

“Once we bring those walls down, I’m sure we can make this a better place,” Rodriguez said.

The service this morning also featured a story from the Vicar of the Woyatan Lutheran church in Rapid City, who spoke about the walls Native Americans faced when Europeans first came to the Americas.

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