German Church Web Site Aims to Reach Mothers

Jan 13, 2003 12:59 PM EST

Women who raise families and also work outside the home are being targeted by a new Web site offering information about the Protestant church, launched by Germany's main Protestant church body.

The Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) opened the site on 7 January with women between the ages of 25 and 45 in mind.

"Women feel responsible for the religious life of the family," said Manfred Kock, head of the EKD, at a press conference in Bad Neuenahr, in western Germany. "They bring the children to the parish kindergarten or discuss whether to baptise them. They ask all the relevant questions."

The church body wants to better equip women to fulfil their dual daily role and improve their performance both at home and at work. The site offers information on Protestantism and employment opportunities in the church. It is a joint venture of EKD and the regional churches of the states of Bavaria, Hanover, Wurttemberg and the Rhineland.

"We are using the Internet to reach women, because a study conducted by [Germany's] two main TV stations says that more and more of them use the internet today," said Anna Neumann, the Web journalist of the Evangelical Church of the Rhineland who has been working on the EKD Web site.

The number of women using the Internet in Germany has risen from 1.1 million to 12.1 million over the past five years, the study found.

Women and men under the age of 50 were using the Internet in equal numbers, the study suggested. "Men and women use the net much more [than they used to] to get things done at work and at home. This includes using it for faith and church matters," Neumann told ENI.

The site presents 10 stages of life, including birth, schooling, partnership, work, retirement and death. It portrays 10 women, using short articles and videos to depict their everyday life. "The site answers the questions we frequently receive in e-mails or in chat rooms at other church Web sites," Tom Brok, Web master at the EKD, told ENI.

It deals with themes such as how to pray with children, helping children make the most of confirmation classes or being a single parent. Links are available to connect users to other Web sites for additional information on such topics as baptism or marriage.

By Frauke Brauns Bad Neuenahr