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BEYOND. ist ein europäisches progressives interreligiöses Projekt.

  • Über alle nationalen Grenzen hinweg paneuropäisch.

  • Über alle institutionellen Grenzen hinweg interreligiös-spirituell.

  • Radikal inklusiv. Gemeinwohl orientiert. Auf Frieden ausgerichtet.

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Frankfurt am Main / Germany

BEYOND. –  Our Goal.

We wish to create a home in Frankfurt for progressive people of differing faiths, where they are able to not only practice their religious traditions, but also to learn from and with each other. In this setting we want to discover our commonalities as well as our differences and celebrate them all.

 

Therefore, we are looking for a place in and for our city where we can realize our goal of creating a common home for our different spiritual traditions. Eventually we would like to expand this to include residential options.

 

In the heart of Europe, here in Frankfurt am Main, we are charting a course for the establishment of an interfaith family. We hope our efforts will serve as inspiration for other progressive projects in Europe.

 

Agnes Acar

Acar, Agnes - Muslim

Agnes Acar, born in Frankfurt in 1958, Muslim and bridge builder between different cultures.

Peter Dennebaum

Dennebaum, Peter - Christian

  • Born in 1967 in Mainz, Germany, member of the Mainz Cathedral Choir, Abitur (German A-Levels) from Willigis Gymnasium, a private Catholic secondary school, influenced by  the Catholic Social Doctrine, particularly the teachings of Oswald von Nell-Breuning.
  • At the age of 20 I converted from from Catholicism to Protestantism and had my coming out as a gay man.
  • I studied Protestant Theology in Tübingen, Hamburg and Berlin (1989-1996). Main areas of interest  even then : Interfaith dialogue and economic ethics. Eugen Drewermann and Hans Küng remain strong influences to this day.
  • Further education as Human Resources manager with main focus on HR development
  • Human Resource manager for Debis Systemhaus GmbH in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Debis AG in Berlin and Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt (1997-2003)
  • Vicariate in Herborn and Frankfurt a. M. (2003-2006)
  • Move to the United States, ordination by the civil rights-oriented United Church of Christ (UCC) in New York and Washington D.C. (2006-2012). Return to Germany to dedicate myself to developing a progressive Europe.
  • Since 2013 EKHNminister in Giessen, Frankfurt and currently in Groß-Gerau.
  • Since 2019 Co-speaker of the National Working Group “Christians” at Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen with the aim to coordinate the interfaith work of progressive religious people under the green umbrella across Germany- and Europe. For our European  work we founded the „European Green Progressive Interfaith Coalition“ (EGPIC) at the end of 2020.
  • Since 2017 implementation and coordination of BEYOND. The European Network for Religious Progressives.
Carol Wanske

Wanske, Carol - Christian

lawyer and translator

 

Born and raised outside of Boston, Massachusetts, I came to Germany as a student from 1976 -1977 and returned to live here permanently after completing my studies in the United States and my marriage in 1978. I have been a German citizen since 2016.

 

I was fortunate to have parents who were open-minded and not afraid to stand up for what they thought was right and to have had teachers who encouraged their students to look outside of the box and challenge stereotypical thinking. As a child of the 1960’s and 1970’s, the Civil Rights Movement, the Anti-war Movement and the Women’s Movement played defining roles in shaping who I am. Those were challenging times, but they were also full of hope for change. Although they laid the foundation for more equality, recent years have revealed how much work still needs to be done. BEYOND. brings together people with different religious heritages and life experiences and shows how much we have in common with one another. Finding and nurturing this common ground can accomplish what political platforms and programs cannot: true understanding of each other.

Susanna Faust-Kallenberg

Faust-Kallenberg, Susanna - Christian

It is a privilege for me to be able to work within the interreligious dialogue in Frankfurt, and I look forward to every encounter. Diversity in all of its forms is a gift that we must recognize as such and cherish. I have been living in an intercultural marriage for many years and am at home in two European countries - Germany and Sweden, which is why I know this from my own experience. As a minister of the Lutheran church responsible for interreligious dialogue in Frankfurt and Offenbach, I have made it my mission to promote these positive learning processes. Beyond helps make Frankfurt and Europe a little more diverse.

Leah Frey-Rabine

Frey-Rabine, Leah - Jewish

I was born and raised in Crosby, Minnesota, far from any Jewish infrastructure. I am grateful that my parents preserved a bit of Yiddishkeit in our home, albeit in a way I grew to call »ethnic« – candles, wine and challah (all the way from St. Paul!), a few holiday traditions.

 

When I was a child, I did have a glimpse of how my father’s family must have lived earlier. Zeyde davened every day. We brought him to the lake for tashlich and I remember him making kiddush and chanting »slach lanu«, one of the first melodies I knew. But my Jewish identity was mostly about our not fitting into any of the many religious groups on the multicultural Iron Range. Questions …

 

Jews wonder why my family chose to live so far from other Jews, an enigma that continues to haunt me. Why did my father’s family remain in Crosby after most of the other Jews had left? Why didn’t Zeyde pass on his tradition? Among the things I found in a box when we cleaned out my parents’ home were multiple copies of prayer books, a Hebrew-Yiddish Tanach, three tiny tallitot katanot and five sets of tefillin, one in a bag embroidered with my father’s initials, one in a bag with Zeyde’s initials. What broke the thread? What compels me to take it up, weave it back into the Jewish tapestry and add colors of my own? What took me so long and why did I need to wander so far off the path? I feel like Parsifal!

 

Yes, Wagner, my parallel universe: I dreamed about it as a child and I was blessed to inhabit it as an opera singer. Why? Did the deeper significance of those archetypical characters strike a chord within me? Or did singing simply help assuage my spiritual longing?

 

When I moved to Germany in 1971, Jewish life there was still tenuous. With a Gentile husband and our theater lifestyle it was easy to remain distant. With later changes in my life, it became harder to keep my Jewish soul at bay. In 2001, I found the Egalitarian Minyan in Frankfurt. Worship Leader Daniel Kempin generously gave me the room I needed to take the first steps along my new pathway. We respect and encourage each other, we work and study together – in short we are colleagues bound by a deep friendship that enriches us both.

 

When Rabbi Elisa Klapheck joined us in 2004, she asked me to lead parts of the services and taught me to chant Torah. Keenly aware of my ignorance, I agonized over singing exactly the right words and notes. But I began to sense that I did not want to merely perform this music. I needed to go deeper. Rabbi Klapheck and Hazzan Jalda Rebling encouraged me to investigate Aleph: Alliance for Jewish Renewal . During that amazing first week of Davvenen’ Leadership Training Institute, my soul and persona were finally able to merge and my dichotomous self slowly began to come into focus. Here was the biggest group of Jews I had ever seen, and I was a legitimate part of it! I stopped laughing incredulously when people suggested I become a cantor. I began to quip that I was building a bridge from Walhalla to Ohalah (Association of Rabbis, Cantors and Rabbinic Pastors for Jewish Renewal, scarcely daring to believe it but striving mightily, and with indescribable joy, to achieve that faraway goal.

 

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Hazzan Jack Kessler ordained me as a Hazzan in January 2014. My Jewish soul is at peace. I am deeply grateful.

Nicole Lauterwald

Lauterwald, Nicole - Christian

Nicole Lauterwald, Lutheran

  • Resident of Frankfurt, married with three adult sons
  • Certified archivist
  • Active member of the Lutheran church, including involvement as director of a brass ensemble,
  • Lector
  • “democracy pilot” for the Lutheran Charities, Diakonie
  • More information on the homepage: www.thu-dich-um.info

Today’s multi-cultural society is standing at the threshold to a new approach to interactions between different cultures and ways of life. In order for this change to succeed, we need progressive interreligious dialogue in Frankfurt and in all of Europe. Our common awareness that we humans do not have the last word is what unites us at Beyond. The European Network for Religious Progressives in our commitment to peace and social justice. I would like to be part of and support this new religious community with my membership in  Beyond.

Marco Linguri

Linguri, Marco - Muslim

Master of Arts (Romance Philology) | Academic Writing Teacher | Member of the executive board of the Progressive Muslim Association (Liberal-Islamischer Bund e.V.) | Writing and Motivation Coach | Speaker

 

Marco is a muslim transgender man. He completed his Master's degree in Romance Philology focussing on socio-linguistics. His MA thesis is in the research field of discrimantion in language regarding social discourse about transgender people in Italy and Romania. During his studies he was also trained as a non-directive coach and teacher of academic writing. To this day he still teaches academic writing as a university teacher.


The Progressive Muslim Association (Liberal-Islamischer Bund e.V. - LIB e.V.) trained him to conduct islamic marriages (nikah) which he also performs for queer and interreligious couples. 2018 he started his BA degree in Islamic Theology at the Goethe University Frankfurt, 2020 he started an imam training at Calem Institute Marseille provided by Dr. Ludovic-Mohammed Zahed. He is an active member of several non-profit organisations and since sept 2020 on the executive Board of LIB e.V.

 

Furthermore he writes about human rights topic, faith and creative writing on his blog Coffeeandidentity (Wordpress).


His podcast (German) is available on Spotify (MachoLiebe) and his video-podcast Minoritistan (German) on Youtube (Coffeeandidentity). You can also find him on Instagram @coffeeandidentity.

 

He kindly asks to not receive any mail concerning collaborations ecc. on his social media accounts. For official request, please use for marriage/nikah request, please write to .

Waqar Tariq

Tariq, Waqar - Muslim

Ass. iur. Waqar Tariq

 

Law studies at the University of Heidelberg with a  Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung scholarship (First State Examination). Legal training under the auspices of the District Court of Darmstadt (Second State Examination).


Since 2016 Coordinator of the Frankfurt congregation of the alliance of liberal muslims, Liberal-Islamischer Bund (LIB). Since  2017 Advisor to the LIB.

 

Particular areas of interest:

  • Constitutional law in general (particularly fundamental rights of the individual and principles of state structure)
  • Constitutional law of religion
  • Process of establishing Islamic theology at universities

Permanent member of the Hessian state government dialogue and advisory board on Islam, Dialog Forum Islam Hessen (dfih) (further information).

 

I have been a member of Liberal-Islamischer Bund since the beginning of 2015 because it succeeds, in an effortless and authentically Islamic way, to unite religious beliefs and progressiveness/liberalism by backing up progressive/liberal positions with sound theological reasoning on a theoretical level and also resolutely practicing them in the real world.

 

BEYOND. offers the opportunity to create an interreligious network with progressive movements of other religions and experience a common spirituality. As the Quran emphasizes (as in Surah 5:48, 2:62; 5:69), the diversity of religions is intended by God and is an enrichment for mankind.

 

In addition to their intrinsic value, religions can also assume a function to stabilize society and secure human rights, as this was succinctly stated by the constitutional scholar and legal philosopher Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde in a famous legal dictum named after him.

 

Like other actors in a civil society, particularly the progressive movements in religions can (and must) speak up for a Europe that stands for democracy, the rule of law and the welfare state. These universal humanistic values are in even greater danger than before in Europe, given the ever-growing spread of right-wing populism. Religions also have the duty to resist and offer an antidote to the poison of right-wing populism and other forms of inhumanity.  The Quran underscores that God has put mankind on earth as his representatives („caliph“, Arabic khalīfah). Each person thus bears responsibility for this world. Religious people therefore do not have the option of showing indifference to what is happening in the world and of merely practicing their religious rituals in private while the world outside is on fire.

 

With BEYOND. in Frankfurt we are planting the seed for a hopefully Europe-wide network that will fight for a progressive Europe.

 

Publications (excerpt):

  • Islam and human rights – a contradiction? (Islam und Menschenrechte – ein Widerspruch?), in: Lamya Kaddor (Ed.), Muslim and liberal! What constitutes a modern Islam (Muslimisch und liberal! Was einen zeitgemäßen Islam ausmacht), Munich 2020, pp. 84. Note: currently available in German only.
  • Commentary of Article 4 (freedom of faith and conscience) of the Federal Constitution of Germany (Grundgesetz), in: Adrian Oswalt (Ed.), ConstitutionalSounds – the German Federal Constitution as music (VerfassungsKlänge – das Grundgesetz vertont), 2019, retrievalable here. Note: currently available in German only.
  • The Islamic Grundgesetz (Das Islamische Grundgesetz), in: Religion – Weltanschauung – Recht [RWR], 2015, retrievable here. Note: currently available in German only.
Gregor Torinus

Torinus, Gregor - Buddhist

I am an architect, but work as a journalist and copywriter and also write novels and screenplays. As a member of Soka Gakkei I practice Nichiren Buddhism. My motivation for interreligious dialogue is my desire to make a personal contribution to a peaceful society. I would like to concentrate on what connects us instead of what keeps us apart.

Tim Van De Griend

Van de Griend, Tim - Christian

Tim van de Griend (*1981) is the minister of two Reformed parishes in Frankfurt. Before coming to Frankfurt he was in Rotterdam, Kampen (NL), Berlin, Den Haag and Mannheim. To a great extent, both professionally and personally, he  leads an interreligious and intercultural life.  Interreligious issues have been a motivation since his time as a student of theology and philosophy The tension between liberalism and the religious claims to truth fascinate him. Tim van de Griend is married and hast wo young daughters.