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Church sale protested.

BERLIN -- Fifteen German churchgoers are about to enter the third month of a sit-in to save their church from becoming a synagogue. Due to falling attendance, Germany's Evangelical (Protestant) church agreed to sell the Paul Gerhardt Church in Bielefeld to the local Jewish community, which wants to turn it into a synagogue.

"I'm going to stay here until I'm certain it [the sale] won't happen," said Hermann Geller, a 66-year-old retiree, as he prepared to bed down on an air mattress for the 58th day of his vigil.

The Paul Gerhardt congregation merged with the Church of Mary in 2005. At the time, the Gerhardt church's congregation had dwindled to 1,600. When a vote came up in 2006 about whether to keep the Gerhardt church, built in 1958, or the Church of Mary, which was built in the 13th century, the vote came down clearly in favor of the older church.
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Title Annotation:WORLD BRIEFS
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jun 8, 2007
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