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The Book of the Reconstructed St. John’s Church Begins its Journey from Klaipėda University to the City Communities
21-12-2021

Today, KU Rector prof. dr. Artūras Razbadauskas was handed over the Book of St. John’s Church. The mission of the Book whose pages will be filled in by Klaipedians is to convey the message about the reconstruction of St. John’s Church to the public, to encourage donations to this project, and to gather together like-minded people in the “Circle of John’s Friends”.

The book invites Klaipedians to get together

According to archaeologist dr. Raimonda Nabažaitė, the author of the travelling Book of St. John’s Church, its idea was lingering during the archeological excavations at the site of the former St. John’s Church. The excavations as part of the construction process raised some awkward issues, such as who will bear the financial burden of the reconstruction and who has to address the issue. The city authorities realise that a small Evangelical Lutheran community will not be able to cope with the challenge alone and therefore also keep looking for possible solutions. However, the involvement of townspeople in this process is slow, as some of them do not yet believe in the success of the process that has already begun. Others emphasise the religious aspect, leaving the reconstruction to the Lutherans. Still, quite a few Klaipedians who have been interviewed at the foundations of the church are positive about it and only need a proactive initiative. “This Book is just it – it invites the residents of Klaipėda to contribute to the rebuilding of a city church by means of good deeds, services, connections, or funds. The Book was born in preparation for the Auction of Works of Art, and like-minded people Agnė Bukartaitė and Marius Tumšys helped me to realise the idea,” says dr. Raimonda Nabažaitė.

It will travel from hand to hand

This Book is not static. It will travel from hand to hand, from community to community, from family to family, and from person to person through faith and trust. Upon receipt of the Book, one is to report how (s)he has contributed or will contribute to the reconstruction of St. John’s Church: by specific deeds, competences, initiatives, services, or financial support (by money transfer to an official Fund account). Everyone is invited to record a positive message, donate, and hand the Book over to the next person. Some community member will need to return the book on the day marked on the bookmark. In one community, the book will travel for up to 2 months and then will be passed on to another.

It invites you to take a photo and share the message

It is important for the book’s journey to be meaningful and fun. Raimonda Nabažaitė as the author of the idea invites you to take a photo with St. John’s Book, spread the word about it on your social media, send the photo the FB page Reconstruction of St. John’s Church – Archeology, and thus create the “Circle of John’s Friends”. Festive meetings of friends are intended to be held every year. According to Raimonda Nabažaitė, the entry in the book and the contribution can be very creative, and simultaneously factual and responsible. Thus, a confectioner may offer to bake biscuits for a future event, or a coffee studio,  to donate 10 percent of the profit earned for each cup of coffee per day or week.

An example of the reconstructed Garrison Church in Potsdam

There are many examples of townspeople getting involved in the church reconstruction process. The organisers of  reconstruction of the Garrison Church in Potsdam, Germany, invite people to support the project and to have a photo taken on the Church’s stairs. 365 steps have been designed up to the tower dome – one for each day of the year. Each step will have a plaque decorated with a date and a personalised engraving. An official invitation calls it an ideal gift for an anniversary, wedding, or birthday. Sympathisers can also purchase a brick and have their names inscribed on it. St. John’s Book in Klaipėda is unique in that it travels. In the future, when the church is rebuilt, the Book will be exhibited as an example of the unity of Klaipedians.

Starting  from ourselves

In the KU community, St. John’s Book will stay until March 1st. KU Rector Artūras Razbadaukas who accepted it had no doubts about the idea finding a large number of supporters here, especially since KU historians and archaeologists have contributed a lot to having one of the biggest losses of the city,  St. John’s Church, rise from oblivion in all its beauty and greatness.