- Jesus Was Already a Migrant

Jesus Was Already a Migrant

The Intercultural Working Group (AGiK) of the Swiss Evangelical Alliance (SEA) carried out a conference on intercultural cooperation on April 30, 2011 in Hägendorf. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office">


How misunderstandings are created
Lothar Käser

Misunderstandings are a big problem in intercultural cooperation. They arise quickly and hinder working together. The Christian ethnographer Lothar Käser, Professor at the Institute for Ethnology at the University of Freiburg (D) talked about this at the AGiK Forum. Misinterprtations occur when seemingly logical contexts which one knows from one's own culture are interpreted into the behavior of the other person with whom you are interacting. As behavior depends on the culture you come from, it must be contextualised and viewed within the framework of the other culture, stated Käser. For example: time and rules are important values within the European framework. In some non-European cultures, relationships are more vital than punctuality or rules.

First a Christian, then a Swiss

"The topic of migration belongs in Sunday sermons" says Matthias Wenk, pastor of the evangelical church "BewegungPlus" in Hindelbank. He urged Christian churches and organizations at the AGiK Forum to give intercultural cooperation more space. "I approach all foreigners primarily as a Christian and not as a Swiss," states Wenk. He therefore sees forging relationships with migrants and offering them a piece of homeland as an important task. He also points out that migration is a major topic in the Bible which runs through both the Old and New Testament up to Jesus Christ, whose parents sought refuge as "migrants" in Egypt.

No patent remedy

There is no patent remedy for mutual understanding and trust when different cultures are working together. One thing became clear, however, at the AGiK Forum: for cooperation to work, people need the will to expand their thinking framework, lots of networking, and primarily lots of time. 


The Intercultural Woking Group (AGiK) is a professional section of the Swiss Evangelical Alliance, which was founded in 2004. It consists of ministries and professionals who work in the area of foreign workers and migration. www.agik.ch



For further information, please contact:

Johannes Müller, Programme Director AGiK Forum, 076 307 17 09

Martin Sägesser, Coordinator AGiK Forum, 077 427 77 39


The Swiss Evangelical Alliance (SEA) is a movement of Christians from the Protestant state churches, evangelical churhces and Christian organisations. In the Romandie, the French-speaking section of the Evangelical Alliance goes by the name “Réseau évangélique suisse”. The SEA currently consists of 81 sections with around 590 churches and over 170 Christian ministries throughout Switzerland. There are an estimated 250,000 persons who are a part of or support SEA. SEA is one of  the 128 evangelical alliances worldwide who consist of around 600 million like-minded persons.




Co-President: Dr. Wilf Gasser, Bern, 079 645 29 44, wi.gasser@bluewin.ch

Co-President (Romandie): Norbert Valley, Delley, 079 250 24 79, norbert.valley@bluewin.ch

National Secretary: Hansjörg Leutwyler, Zürich, 043 344 72 00/ 079 671 07 06, hleutwyler@each.ch

Secretary Romandie: Christian Kuhn, Bellevue, 079 343 59 86, chrikuhn@gmail.ch

Communication: Thomas Hanimann, Zürich, 043 366 60 82, thanimann@each.ch


Author: Henriette Ludwig