Action Committee Service for Peace (AGDF)
Christian Services for Peace
When people tackle the problems of today’s harsh reality, they can set things in motion. They learn what is going on in the world, they learn about their own place in society and they learn that they can make a difference. People who are willing to learn about life this way and who also contribute to the renewal of church and society are perceived as true volunteers by the Action Committee Service for Peace (AGDF). This kind of commitment gives people a lot of pleasure; it gives them an opportunity to make new friends and also encouragement that everyone can make a difference on the spot.
That has been the experience of about 5,000 junior and senior volunteers who render short-term, middle-term and long-term voluntary peace services every year. It has also been the experience of many people who work for local peace initiatives and who make these services possible by donating money and giving support to this cause. The AGDF is an umbrella organisation of 33 organisations and institutions, all of which provide peace services focussing on various work areas and programmes in Germany and abroad. Their peace services are open to everyone.
People dedicated to working for the AGDF are disinclined to accept the dichotomy of an imagined world of peace and a real world of war and injustice. Realistic steps towards peace are possible and can succeed, as the work of our member organisations has shown. For them peace is not guaranteed only by laying down of one’s weapons. Peace, in the broadest sense, means the constant work against the causes of violence, repression and fear.
Our work is about promoting understanding and reconciliation, it is about helping fight against unjust conditions. There is no alternative.
The AGDF and its member organisations obtain funds via financial contributions from participants, donations from supporters, collections from communities and subsidies from the state and the churches.
The Guidlines of the AGDF
“Peace” is a fundamental content of teaching in the bible and it is an important mission. Peace – Shalom – in that respect means, in the broadest sense, the physical and mental integrity of human beings, the human community and God’s entire Creation. In the “Conciliar Process for Justice, Peace and the Preservation of the Creation”, churches and movements all over the world embraced this mission. The AGDF and its member organisations strongly support this position. They activley contribute to building a future society in which the principle of social justice becomes reality; a society in which conflicts can be resolved without violence and in which all beings have an intact living space.
For the members of the AGDF it is primarily the tradition of human rights that forms the moral framework of their peace service. There are analogies between the biblical and the secular perceptions of human rights and peace and it possible to establish a symbiotic relationship between them. Both perceptions are in line when it comes to demonstrating respect for the singularity and dignity of human life as well as committing oneself to the very principle of non-violence.
The AGDF seeks a close cooperation with the Protestant Church in order to achieve shared goals and establish strong partnerships in the field of peace work. However, in comparison with the Established Church, peace service associations have other tasks and duties as well. Therefore, the structural independence from the Established Church is an important element of the self-image of the AGDF and its member organisations.
The complete guideline file (in german) of the AGDF can be downloaded here.
Structures and Working Methods:
The AGDF supports its member organisations by means of certain services and fulfils tasks which are in the interest of these organisations. The AGDF aims at
- encouraging cooperation with member organisations in order to tackle shared goals
- encouraging cooperation with other institutions and associations
- providing promotion for and information on peace services and voluntary services
- organising seminars and courses
- organising fund-raising campaigns for peace services and providing financial assistance
Since the mid-1990s there have been three areas of specialisation where members exchange their experiences, devise work strategies, create quality standards and thereby give new ideas and impetus to the work of the umbrella association.
- Special area I “Local and Regional Peace Service” is a forum for all members who concentrate on reconciliation projects as well as intercultural activities and local peace promoting initiatives.
- The QVB (Qualification Union for Civil Non-violent Conflict Transformation - formerly Special Area II) coordinates and supports the work of the training providers of the AGDF
- Special area III “Services” deals primarily with several months voluntary services abroad and with the deployment of peace service experts as well as projects of civil conflict transformation.
For the purpose of determining fundamental issues concerning peace ethics and peace politics, the managing committee summoned an advisory board which also contains experts from outside the AGDF.
Since 2002 the AGDF has been in charge of the project “Christian-Islamic Peace Work in Germany”. This project, which is designed to promote social peace in areas of conflict concerning Christian, Muslim and secular matters, is supported by the German branch of pax christi, the Central Consistory of Muslims in Germany and the Shura, the council of Islamic communities in Hamburg.
Aside from these permanently operating boards and committees there are work methods geared to specific topics and tasks. Symposia provide a basis for people to exchange thoughts on current issues and problems. Every year the “Heidelberg Gespräch” (Heidelberg Dialogue) is a platform for discussion for academic peace researchers and practically operating peace activists. The AGDF is a cooperation partner at academic symposia and other events. Furthermore, there are various other projects and campaigns.
Members of Staff:
- Jan Gildemeister (managing director)
- Dagmar Leibner (office manager, accounting clerk)
- Monika Volte (international youth worker)
- Gero Ziegler (international youth worker)
- Britt Schülke (secretary)
If you would like to contact a specific member of our staff via email, you just need to combine the respective surname with “@friedensdienst.de” .
Within the Protestant Church the AGDF is a contact partner for issues regarding peace politics and it is active in the “Gesprächsforum Ökumenische Friedensdekade” (“Discussion Forum Ecumenical Peace Decade”) and the "Vorbereitungskreis zur Friedenskonsultation landeskirchlicher Friedensausschüsse und Friedensdienste" (“Preparatory Group for the Consultation of Peace Committees and Peace Services of Regional Churches”)
It is the member organisations of the AGDF that are responsible for their own programmes, volunteers, personnel and finances. Altogether the member organisations boast about 200 full-time and part-time employees, permanent as well as honorary staff. The circulation of printed publications issued by our member organisations (magazines, newspapers, etc.) amounts to roughly 45.000. The AGDF itself does not offer any voluntary programmes.
You are interested in doing a voluntary service in Germany?
The Action Committee is a roof federation of Christian organisations whose main focus is on peace services. The Action Committee itself doesn’t offer voluntary services, but you can directly contact the following member organisations providing services in Germany:
- Aktionsgemeinschaft Friedenswoche Minden
Phone: +49 571 24339 - email@example.com
- Bildungs- und Begegnungsstätte für gewaltfreie Aktion (Kurve Wustrow)
Phone: +49 5843 98710 - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Brethren Service
Phone: +41 22 7916330 - email@example.com
- EIRENE – Internationaler Christlicher Friedensdienst
Phone: +49 2631 83790 - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Friedenskreis Halle e.V.
Phone: +49 345 27980710 - email@example.com
- Internationaler Christlicher Jugendaustausch (ICJA)
Phone: +49 30 21238252 - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Internationaler Diakonischer Jugendeinsatz der Evangelisch-Methodistischen Kirche
Phone: +49 40 20007719 - idjeHH@web.de
- Internationaler Versöhnungsbund
Phone: +49 571 850875 - email@example.com
- Mennonite Voluntary Service (MVS)
Phone: +49 6223 47740 - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Peace Brigades International (PBI)
Phone: +49 40 3806903 - email@example.com
- Youth Action for Peace – Christlicher Friedensdienst
Phone: +49 69 459072 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Please don’t hesitate to also look around on our homepage. There you will find more information on:
- Voluntary Services
- Voluntary Social Year
- Peace Services
- Peace Services abroad
- Work camps and other services abroad