More than 100,000 people are expected in Berlin May 24-28 for the 36th Protestant Kirchentag (Church Assembly) under the iconic Brandenburg Gate.

Former President Barak Obama will join German Chancellor Merkel on Ascension Day, May 25. They will hold a public conversation on the theme “Democracy: Taking on Responsibility Locally and Globally.”

That open-air event, sponsored by the Obama Foundation and Kirchentag, is likely to attract 80,000 people. The Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town, is among the expected ecumenical visitors.

Obama’s visit during the celebration “underlines the international character of our 500th-anniversary celebrations,” said Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria. “The churches form a global civil society network of over two billion Christians. Together, as people of faith, we live from the firm hope for a better world.”

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John Martin

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