Where is Synodal theology leading us? Modernist theologian organises an inter-religious rave for the Zurich Street Parade

Veronika Jehle: "With techno I can get into the moment"

The Zurich Street Parade on Saturday will be heralded with a raver service in the Wasserkirche - for the second time since 2019. Catholic theologian Veronika Jehle will help organise it. She is looking forward to the inter-religious and fraternal event. And she is having spiritual experiences when at the rave.

You will be part of the raver service in the Wasserkirche on Saturday - in the run-up to the Street Parade.

Veronika Jehle: It has recently become clear that there are three of us - Grossmünster pastor Christoph Sigrist, me and also the Imam of Volketswil, Kaser Alasaad. The actual initiator and organiser of the raver service, however, is Christoph Schneider from the Friends of the Grossmünster.

"This music opens up inner spaces."

What appeals to you about this task?

Jehle: I'm attracted to opening up a space, right in the middle of what's going on in the city, right in the middle of the lives and celebrations of people in the city of Zurich.

Are you a fan of techno music?

Jehle: I wouldn't say that. But it's a style of music that appeals to me more and more. I was already at the first raver service in 2019 and at a Pride service. In each case, I was surprised how this music opens up inner spaces. I think it definitely enables and supports spiritual processes.

To what extent does techno music have a spiritual effect?

Jehle: It helps me to come to myself, to get into my body, to breathe. When I move to this music, I get away from the head and pure thinking. It allows me to come into the moment. It's a primal spiritual experience.

Will you be dancing at the raver service?

Jehle: I can't say yet, possibly I will. I don't see what should be against it.

"I came to it through the inter-religious network in the City of Zurich."

There was a church pre-party for the Street Parade for the first time in 2019. How did it come about?

Jehle: At that time, Christoph Schneider from the Friends of the Grossmünster took the initiative. I got involved through the interreligious network in the city of Zurich. I know the Grossmünster pastor Christoph Sigrist from the Zurich Forum of Religions. Meinrad Furrer also took part for the first time when he was still living and working in Zurich.

In 2019, this celebration was announced in advance as a "contemplative, quiet, spiritual input". Now there will be "pulsating techno sound" in the raver service. Why this change?

Jehle: I can't confirm the change. The basic idea of the raver service is to be similar to 2019. Last time there was already rave music in the service.

"The DJ duo will develop their own music especially for the occasion."

Do you know DJ duo "Forgotten Notes" who will perform at the raver service?

Jehle: I don't know the DJs personally yet, but we are in exchange regarding the design of the service. I have learned that they are developing their own music for the event, also in coordination with our content focus. What exactly they will offer, I cannot reveal yet.

Does the non-musical part of the event correspond to a classical service - with sermon and prayer?

Jehle: It will certainly not be a classic Catholic service. On the Catholic side, we would most likely call the event a "devotion". It is about silence and words. We will read excerpts from a psalm. We will say prayers and intercessions. We will have silence. The raver service is, of course, about music. We try to let it move us and find words for it. And this interreligiously.

"Christoph Sigrist, Kaser Alasaad and I are connected as brothers and sisters."

What does the interreligious approach mean to you?

Jehle: It means a lot to me that we stand there ecumenically, interreligiously - with Christoph Sigrist and Kaser Alasaad. The three of us are part of the Zurich Forum of Religions and are fraternal, not to say friendly. The Raver service shows well how we are on the move as religions in this city. Namely with each other - and with the people.

The theme of the Street Parade is "think". Shouldn't it be "believe" for the churches?

Jehle: Believe, think, hope, trust: These are basic features of human existence and therefore also of the church. Thinking and believing are mutually dependent.

The raver service to kick off the Street Parade will take place on Saturday, 12 August, at 11 a.m. in the Wasserkirche Zurich.

Committed theologian

Committed theologian Roman Catholic theologian Veronika Jehle (38) is co-editor of forum, the parish magazine of the Catholic Church in the canton of Zurich. She belongs to the Zurich Forum of Religions and is part of the editorial team of FAMA, the feminist-theological journal. Raised in Vienna, she studied theology in Vienna and Rome from 2003 to 2008.

From 2017 to 2022 she worked as a hospital chaplain in Winterthur. She returned her missio to Bishop Joseph Maria Bonnemain because she could no longer identify with discriminatory structures and the adherence to them. Veronika Jehle was the initiator of several actions for equality in the church and was presented with the Herbert Haag Challenge Medal for this in 2021.



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