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The Beginning of the
European Christian Internet Conference
Some thoughts of Rev. Jakob Vetsch, Zürich,
the founder of Pastoral Care on the Internet.
2011, June 16th, ECIC XVI, Fürstenried Palace, Munich
Jakob Vetsch, ECIC XVI, Munich (Foto by Mihaly Szabo, Cluj, Romania)
On September 27th in this year, I founded and started
the first Pastoral Care on the Internet
(www.seelsorge.net), and in
October the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD) has put a
the net. This was done by Dr. Matthias Schnell of the
"Gemeinschaftswerk evangelischer Publizistik"
(GEP). He was my first partner in my internet-activities.
In the beginning of 1996, the Church Media House of
Switzerland invited to an information-day in Zürich on
internet-activities. Dr. Matthias Schnell had a speech
there, and so we
had the chance to meet each other. The friendship was
perfect! As there
were very few religious activities on the internet, we had
In spring, Dr. Klaus Stoll of the Theological Seminary
of Lancaster UK visited Dr. Matthias Schnell in Frankfurt.
built up the internet network of churches in UK, based at
the St. Martin
College in Lancaster. During his visit in Frankfurt, the
idea of an
European Christian Internet Conference (ECIC) was born!
The next day,
Dr. Schnell gave me a call and asked me, whether I could
join them and
tell about the experiences in Pastoral Care in Internet. I
In the same year 1996, the first conference, ECIC I, was
held in Frankfurt, organized by GEP and Dr. Matthias
second conference was held in 1997 in Lancaster UK,
organized by Klaus
Stoll, who left later in order to work in Ecuador.
In Lancaster, there was also the first and only
International Christian Internet Conference (ICIC), as
participants from the United States. I remember very well
Olson, who explained us her website "The Abrahamic
with the three of the five world religions who go back to
Abraham. Rev. Olson joined our team of Pastoral Care on
which allowed us to present on our website seven
languages. An ICIC II
was never organized, as we could not get participants from
In 1998, Carla Vermin-Anderson invited us for ECIC III
to Driebergen, Netherlands, and in 1999, Gabor Bogdanyi
invited us for
ECIC IV to Budapest. So, ECIC was going on very well…
A member of the Steering Committee from the beginning
was Rev. Iain Morrison of Scottland, the later president
of ECIC. Also
from the beginning Gunnar Bach Pedersen participated. He
Pastoral Care in internet in Denmark.
With great pleasure we welcomed at ECIC II in Lancaster
a group from Finland with Juha Kinanen, who founded in
Pastoral Care in Internet for children and young people.
He replaced me
later in the steering committee of ECIC and so, the ECIC V
was held in
Helsinki, Finland. Later on he was elected as one of the
ECIC and we have to thank him very much for his great work
he has done.
The founders of ECIC are proud on your very important work, never forget! – Today, we should create iPhone-Apps and we should participate in the todays social communities like Facebook and Twitter. And our churches should recognize that this work is very important to spread out the message of Jesus Christ! – God bless you all.
The ECIC XVI. was held in Munich, Germany
last update: 21.12.2020