Pastor with Heart and Soul
Since June 2014, Dr. Christoph Herbst is the new evangelical youth pastor at TU Chemnitz
Since June 2014, Dr. Christoph Herbst became the new evangelical pastor for students at TU Chemnitz. Born in Karl-Marx-Stadt, after 20 years of absence, he finds it exciting to be back in the city, to live and work here. „Even though it is still the Chemnitz I know, it is wonderfully new and different in many ways“, says Herbst. He was an early member of the Young Community in Chemnitz. Through his community service, he solidified the idea to work in the same field, with faith and different people. He could picture himself studying Theology and becoming a pastor. So he studied from 1996 until 2003 in Leipzig and Göttingen and made his first examination in Theology in Leipzig. „Theology is a Bible Study, but it has much more to offer. History, Philosophy and learning the ancient languages belongs to an important study content“, said Herbst. During his studies he took an active part in the Protestant Student Community in Leipzig. „I enjoyed the intellectual analysis and scientific portion of my studies, and got to know many wonderful people during this period of time“, says Herbst and adds: „I have learned how important it is that one understands the difference in faith and in the art, the world, confessing to one another and appreciating each other.“ After receiving his doctorate in Leipzig, Christoph Herbst moved with his wife, who is also a pastor, to Weimar. Here, he had a practical further education since 2007 until 2010. „During this period of time, I accompanied a pastor in his daily work, and then enriched my experience with taking part in baptizing or funerals. Thus, I witnessed the whole practical and emotional range of this job“, said Herbst.
Until 2014 he worked as a village priest in the Altenburger Land in Thuringia and took care of seven village communities. The father of three children applied for the vacancy in Chemnitz, because he finds the tasks exciting. „My job here in Chemnitz is divided in two: I am a priest in the church community of St. Petri-Schloss, but also a priest for the Protestant Student Community and at the university. I am very pleased to be working with young people, who have a desire to give a new shape to their faith and to try new things. The students organize everything on their own, and always decide what topic they are interested in to talk about“, said Herbst. In particular, he is looking forward to discussions on faith matters, social and political issues. „When I was in the Protestant Student Community for the first time, I was very excited. A committed and a diverse group of about 25 students from all over Germany and from other countries, who are cooperating well together“, said Herbst. He sees the student community as an open circuit to which everyone is warmly invited and who has the right to be active at the university, but also to bring people into the conversation, who have nothing to do with the church or God.
As a pastor of the ESC, Herbst is also a parson, who is there when you need someone to talk to. „I am there for everyone, not only for the student community. I am not a therapist, but I can listen and look for suitable solutions“, said Herbst. Herbst also advises foreign students, who don’t seem to find any connection with their peers or cannot orient themselves in the new situation in a foreign country. Whether you are in acute distress or dealing with everyday problems, Herbst has an open ear for you. He intends to have fixed consultation hours soon, but you can make an appointment at any time by email or phone. In addition to the pastoral care services, worship service and theme nights are among other activities of the student community. Every Tuesday the students meet there at 7 p.m. to enjoy food followed by a themed evening. On Friday, Herbst has a community sharing and prayer with his students. The dates of services that take place during the semester will be posted on the website of the student community. There is even a program during semester break.
For the future, Herbst hopes for exciting discussion evenings with renowned speakers on topics that are of burning importance to students. He sees the ESC as a forum and an opportunity to discuss ethical and fundamental religious questions. Christoph Herbst feels welcome at TU Chemnitz. „University is of course not a religious institution, but I feel a friendly welcome here. I want to ensure that our student community gets involved in all the other student initiatives as an audible voice“, said Herbst.
(Author: Damaris Diener, Translation: Nataliia Boiko)