HOW EVERYTHING BEGAN
1978: Men’s weekend at the ‚Bernhäuser Forst‘
In February 1978, an annual meeting (‘Silent Weekend for Men’) took place during the carnival season at ‘Bernhäuser Forst’, at which the three Daimler employees Dr. Ing. Peter Philipp (at that time assistant to the board for public relations), Christoph Burckhardt and Hans Grefe participated. Inspired by a lecture given by Brother Matthäus of the ‘Brotherhood of Christ Community Selbitz’, these three pietistic men employed at the Untertürkheim site decided to meet once a week for spiritual reflection before starting work. As a guide for their meetings, they used the ‘Daily Watchwords of the Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine’ which consist of a collection of short biblical texts from the Old and New Testament and are still being published until today.
1979: First prayers in the anteroom of the Executive Board
At the initiative of the Executive Assistant Dr. Peter Philipp, the first prayer meeting took place after Easter 1979 in the early morning at the Untertürkheim plant in the anteroom of the board for public relations, which was still vacant at this time of the day. The prayer times in the anteroom were not ideal, because they were often disturbed by incoming telephone calls. Since Dr. Philipp in addition did not want to expose to the reproach of a lack of separation between private and business activities, the group was looking for an alternative place of prayer. The suggestion of Hans Grefe to use the Catholic Church of St. John in Untertürkheim could not be implemented, since, contrary to some information, the door of the church was never open at the early hours of the day.
1979: Simultaneous prayer initiative at the Sindelfingen plant
In the mid-1970s, approximately 70-80 apprentice trainers were employed in Sindelfingen (first in building 30, later in building 11). Amazingly, there were 8-10 believing Christians, all of whom came from evangelical congregations (Regional Church, Brüderbund, Hahn Community, Aidlinger Kreis, Baptists, Adventists and Methodists). Apparently, the head of department had deliberately hired people with a Christian background.
So it happened that at the same time as the activities in Untertürkheim, but completely independently of one another, a prayer initiative was also started in Sindelfingen Plant 50. From April 1979, 5-6 of the faithful trainers made it a habit to pray regularly for the concerns of the company. Since they did not want to meet secretly, they informed their department head who provided them with a room. Over time, more men and single women from the office area joined the prayer group. They met every Wednesday during lunch break. The men prayed primarily for their business concerns. Every now and then they also asked their boss about current prayer requests, which they then brought to God.
The group got on very well. Despite different church affiliations and characteristics, they had unity in prayer because they concentrated on the one thing, namely the belief in Jesus Christ. The friendly relationship between them was so good that the group sometimes even went on weekend events together.
Due to elimination programs, the men of this group gradually retired. As a result, the company prayer group dissolved around 2009. However, due to their good relationship with each other, the men still come together every quarter for mutual exchange and prayer. Every year on January 6th, they also meet for celebrating a service, singing and going for a walk.
MOVING TO A CAMPER VAN
1980: Spiritual reflection in the bus MB 206 D
In search of an alternative locality for prayer in Untertürkheim, Christoph Burckhardt made the ingenious proposal to use his camper van MB 206 D (picture shows its wedding decorations), which had recently been approved for 8 seats, as an alternative meeting point.
This proposal had been accepted. From the beginning of 1980 Christoph Burckhardt parked his MB 206 D once a week at 6:45 in the morning in the Kappelbergstraße directly beneath the Catholic Church in order to meet for a devotion. Then each of the participants went to work at the site in Untertürkheim, which was only a few hundred meters away from the place of prayer. The prayer bus was a regular meeting place for at least half a year.
FROM THE BUS INTO THE YMCA BUILDING
1980 – 1994: Corporate prayer at the YMCA in Untertürkheim
As the MB bus became too small for all the people who prayed, a request was sent to the father of the YMCA association house, Adolf Graf (also Daimler employee and resident at the YMCA house in Untertürkheim) by means of mediation of the YMCA member Walter Zaiss in summer 1980. The inquiry was whether a small group of Daimler employees could obtain the permission to meet in a room of the YMCA association house for a weekly prayer meeting. In coordination with the former YMCA board director Martin Bofinger, the approval could be given. (YMCA stands for ‘Young Men’s Christian Association’.)
From 1980 to 1994 every Monday morning between 6:50 and 7:30 am, about 8 people were gathered in spiritual reflection under the word of God and in prayer before they went to their working places. Adolf Graf joined them spontaneously.
The participants belonged to different areas – the headquarters, the Untertürkheim plant and the testing department:
|Bauer, Walter||Dept. VDZ/RAR||Leinfelden-Echterdingen|
|Burckhardt, Christoph||Dept. V1KA||Kernen-Rommelshausen|
|Graf, Adolf||Dept. ZEW/TL||Stuttgart-Untertürkheim|
|Grefe, Hans||Dept. E2PT||Allmersbach im Tal|
|Neumeier, Johann||Dept. ZEW/TN||Stuttgart-Untertürkheim|
|Philipp, Dr. Peter||Dept. ÖVW/W||Remshalden-Grunbach|
|Thudium, Rudi||Dept. ZKD/TP4||Waiblingen-Beinstein|
Shortly afterwards, Dr. Harry Tröster and Hans Pracht joined the prayer circle. Over time, the number of participants continued to increase. In total, 28 people took part on a permanent or occasion basis. A community was created which had developed a strengthening unity in faith. The informal ‚Du‘ instead of the formal ‚Sie‘ (German ‚you‘) soon came naturally, which was far from being common at that time.
At the end of November 1994, only the three friends Christoph Burckhardt, Adolf Graf and Hans Pracht met at the YMCA house. The blessed time of prayer circles at the YMCA in Untertürkheim came to an end, but the prayers continued at other locations!
Acknowledgment to the first persons praying for the company
In the context of the 10th Daimler Christian Meeting in 2015 the first persons praying for the company, most of whom are familiar from the time in the YMCA association house, were honored for their beneficial role as pioneers. Ten of them (today all in retirement) were present.
From left to right: Johann Neumeier, Ursula Coderch, Ekhard Moosbrugger, Adolf Graf, Christoph Burckhardt, Bernhard Biehl, Dr. Josef Kurz, Günter Kroll, Dr. Harry Tröster, Dr. Günther Zoll.
Markus Kleppe (far right), at that time prayer group leader in Möhringen, gave the tribute.
PRAYER MEETINGS IN WAIBLINGEN AND OBERESSLINGEN
1989: First prayers at the Waiblingen site
After his first four years as a research assistant at an institute of the University of Karlsruhe, Dr. Helmut Keller joined the passenger car testing department V1ZK of the then Daimler-Benz AG on January 1, 1987. This department was part of the organizational unit V1Z in Untertürkheim, but was accommodated in the Terrot building in Waiblingen, Heerstraße 100, due to the lack of space. After two years, Helmut Keller got to know the Christians Martin Moser, Frank-Werner Mohn and Reinhold Schneckenburger, who interestingly worked in the same main department. Thus, it was easy for him to talk to these colleagues about Christian values and, after a certain period of getting to know each other, have prayer communities in which they brought their business as well as private concerns to God in prayer.
1990: Prayer circle in Oberesslingen
In mid-1990, the Waiblingen department (in the meantime, EP/ FGEV) moved into the former AEG building in Oberesslingen, Sirnau Bridge. There, the circle grew by another three participants. Dr. Harry Tröster rejoined the circle after he had been a part of the group at the YMCA. For nine years they met for prayer once a week during lunch break at Martin Moser’s office.
In July 1999 the complete department moved to the recently completed Mercedes Technology Center (MTC) in Sindelfingen, where Helmut Keller continued the weekly prayer group meetings (see section ‘Prayer circles in Sindelfingen – plant 59’).
PRAYER MEETINGS IN MÖHRINGEN
1990: Prayer circle at Daimler Headquarters in Möhringen
A sunny day in 1990 which invites people to spend their lunch break outside. Many of the Daimler employees at the Möhringen site, Epplestraße 225, are doing this. One enjoys walking around the Möhringen campus (the former group headquarters). Two men have interrupted their tour. They sit on a bench and read.
Dr. Josef Kurz, manager ‚Consolidated Statement‘ in the finance unit, had made it a habit to skip lunch one day a week and pray and read the Bible or a Christian script instead. He lifts his eyes off the book, glancing at his neighbors reading. Oops! The other man reads a booklet on which the word ‚biblestudy‘ is printed. ‚Interesting reading‘, are the first words. A lively discussion with the other man, Günter Kroll, manager ‚After Sales Commercial Vehicles‘, reveals that both have the desire to pray regularly with other colleagues who are believers in Jesus at the Möhringen site.
A few days later, the two men meet with Walter Bauer and Dr. Peter Philipp at his office (which had been moved from Untertürkheim to Möhringen in the meantime) for their first meeting, a prayer meeting that would be working for decades is born.
Within years and decades, further participants came and left – be it because they moved to another location for professional reasons or because their working hours or priorities had changed or because they had reached retirement age. Most of the time, this prayer meeting was held in the morning from 7:00 to 8:00. Despite several obstacles, there could always be found a room to meet for prayer.
An anecdote from the prayer circle at Möhringen
Sometimes Günter Kroll brought his guitar to start the prayer time with praise. This was also the case when the former President of the Palestinian Territories, Jassir Arafat, who had worked his way up to be a Nobel Peace Prize Winner, visited Daimler (DaimlerChrysler). That morning Günter squeezed his big guitar case through the turnstile in Möhringen. The security man at the gate looked at it but not too closely and didn’t react although a powerful weapon was stored in that case: the guitar to support those who pray. When the helicopter finally landed with Arafat, the time of prayer was already over, but the meeting with the Daimler Board of Management had been spiritually prepared. The result: the financing of a kindergarten at the Gaza Strip.
2004: Alpha- and Christian faith courses in Möhringen
Martin S. (Dipl.-Kaufmann in the IT area) confessed his Christian faith during his whole working life. It was important to him that people get to know Jesus Christ and may be saved. From 1992 he also participated in the prayer group at Möhringen.
In 2004 he initiated an Alpha course (Christian foundation course) in the cafeteria in Möhringen. This course taking place at the end of the working day was attended by three people from his immediate professional environment.
After two colleagues had found to the faith in Jesus Christ, Martin S. arranged a Christian faith course called ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ from October 2006 to June 2007. The objective was to encourage and strengthen the faith of the newly converted participants. The course took place weekly or fortnightly at the end of the working day in his room in Möhringen. The 40 units of the eponymous book by Rick Warren served as the basis for the course.
From mid-2007 to mid-2011, Martin S. worked at the Esslingen-Pliensauvorstadt site in the ‘Roser’ building, where he started a prayer group (see section ‘Prayer groups in Esslingen-Pliensauvorstadt’). In mid-2011, he returned to the Möhringen site. There, in the first half of 2013, he offered a basic faith course on a biweekly basis. This course titled ‘Spur 8 – Entdeckungen im Land des Glaubens’ was attended by four to five non-church-oriented people. The course took place after work from 5 to 6 pm in a meeting room.
From September 2013 to April 2014, Martin S. offered a second basic faith course ‘Spur 8’ (see http://www.online-glauben.de/de/) in Möhringen.
This course, which also took place biweekly at the end of the working day, was attended by three interested persons. Martin S. continued this course until the end of April 2014, although he had already completed the active phase of his partial retirement at the end of January 2014.
One participant provided the following feedback:
“I got a glimpse of the bible and again found access to the theme of ‘God and the Bible‘. The highlight was the story of the lost son. I got a better understanding of biblical topics. I also read the Bible again and can understand better how things relate. I thought the seminar was very good.“
Through his courses and testimonies of his Christian faith, over the years Martin S. has been in friendly contact with many colleagues. From the mid-nineties (usually on a weekly basis over about 10 years) he sent a so-called ‘Occasional Mail’ to those who were interested. It contained interesting short stories (for example by Axel Kühner), watchwords (also with short explanations), good Christian quotes and poems, prayers, psalms and tips (references to Christian books, broadcasters (ERF), holiday courses, etc.). On birthdays he also sent personal biblical words of blessing or presented a good Christian book.
Since 2004, Martin S. also provides some of his colleagues with sermons that he gives as a predicant on a voluntary basis in his church. This is gladly accepted until today.
2007: Günter Kroll transfers leadership to successor
By the end of July 2007, Günter Kroll finished his active time at Daimler and went into an early retirement. He handed the responsibility of the prayer circle over to his faithful friend and brother Josef Kurz. But as an early bird, Günter Kroll took a few more years to attend the morning prayer. There, he often provided relevant information about the company extracted from several newspapers. That way all participants were well prepared for prayer.
In mide-2015 Josef Kurz retired, too. As a result, the Friday morning group dissolved soon after. However, Markus Kleppe, Manager ‚Risk Management Treasury‘, integrated the particpants into his Tuesday prayer group taking place during lunchtime (see section after next).
Loyalty towards the morning prayer circle in Möhringen
Connected to the early morning prayer group of Möhringen, the engineer, Daniela S. should be praised for beeing faithful to the early prayers since the foundation of that circle until its dissolution. Living in Stuttgart-Ost she rode her bicycle every Friday morning at 6:00 up the steep hill to the Möhringen site, to take part in prayer at 7:00 and then continued to travel to work in Sindelfingen. She did this in spite of cold wind and bad weather – even in winter! After the dissolving of the Möhringen morning prayer, Daniela S. joined a prayer circle in Sindelfingen.
2009: Another prayer circle at Epplestraße 225
In January 2009, Markus Kleppe, Manager ‚Risk Management Treasury‘, had already founded a second prayer group in Möhringen immediately after his return from Brussels as an expat. This group meets every Tuesday at lunchtime until today. After the retirement of Josef Kurz in mid-2015, the participants of the Friday morning circle joined this new group. So the Friday morning circle desolved completely after the summer break of 2015.
Mid-2018 Markus Kleppe was was transferred to Stuttgart Vaihingen. Therefore he had to hand over the lead of the Tuesday midday circle, which had experienced great growth in recent years. The sucessor of Markus Kleppe’s group is Carsten Becher, manager ‚Tender Management‘. Very satisfying is the fact that already in automn 2018, Markus Kleppe could install a new prayer group at his new location in Vaihingen.
2009: Prayer circle at Vaihinger Straße 131
Regardless of the Friday morning and the Tuesday midday prayer group, there exists a third prayer group in Möhringen since 2009. This group is led by Iris M. and meets every Monday during lunch time in the branch office in Vaihinger Street 131, building Häussler Atlanta.
2019: Prayer circle at Schelmenwasenstraße 39
In December 2018 Ellen C., working at the Stuttgart-Fasanenhof site (municipality Möhringen), was approached by a colleague about the Christian faith. The two agreed to meet for mutual exchange and prayer in the New Year. Independent of this conversation, in January 2019, another Christian colleague joined Ellen. Through the website ‘Christians at Daimler’ he had found out that she was looking for fellow persons of prayer in order to initiate a prayer group at her site. In the same month, the three met for lunch together. They decided to meet regularly whenever possible to pray together at their location at Schelmenwasenstraße 39.
In the beginning of 2019 this group came up with the idea to install prayer groups across different Daimler locations, in which Christians of the same subject areas are summarized. These groups could exchange views and prayer requests for example via a Threema group and pray together for subjects relating their special working field.
REGULAR PRAYER MEETINGS OUTSIDE THE COMPANY
Over the years the prayer for the company and the people working there rested increasingly on the heart of Günter Kroll. And so it happened that he gave up his house church in mid-1992 and called up a company prayer circle at his home (additionally to his prayer group in the company). For many years about 6 – 8 Daimler Christians from different Daimler prayer groups met there every other month.
There was a time of worship, a time of gratitude for all the positive things and a time of intercession for the company, the Management Board members and the employees. Usually, in addition to that there was celebrated the Lord’s supper. In contrast to the meetings in the business premises, the more private surroundings allowed it to praise and worship in a musical way. After the spiritual program there was time to sit together, having dinner and exchanging thoughts with each other.
Such company-related prayer meetings outside the company are taking place until the present day, however, since 2013 at another location.
PRAYER CIRCLES IN UNTERTÜRKHEIM
1993: First prayer circle at the Untertürkheim site
Completely independent of the activities in the Untertürkheim YMCA house, in the Möhringen headquarters, in Waiblingen and in Oberesslingen, in autumn 1992, some Christians from the Untertürkheim plant took the initiative to point to a Christian community outside working hours by advertising this in the company’s own educational program. This led to the fact that further Christians came forward to participate. At the beginning of 1993, the first prayer circle was founded in office facilities of the site in Untertürkheim. This has been going on once a week until today, starting before working hours at 6:45, under the leadership of Ekkehard K. and Wilfried O. in building 136. The colleagues Christoph Burckhardt and Hans Pracht of the former YMCA prayer circle joined the group after their circle was dissolved. Other persons who had beed previously attending the YMCA meetings were also present there. Adolf Graf, who had meanwhile taken early retirement, did not carry out this change.
2005: Prayer circle in building 119, level 1
The prayer circle in Untertürkheim in building 119, level 1, already exists approximately since 2005. It meets once a week before working hours and was originally founded by Johannes Diessner und Michael Rohmann, who at the time of foundation were working as departmental colleagues in the Electric/Electronic development of the Truck sector. In 2008 Michael Rohmann moved to the Mercedes Technology Center (MTC) in Sindelfingen. After in December 2017 Johannes Diessner left the Truck sector, too, and moved to the VAN area, Philipp Schäuble (Quality Management in the Truck sector) briefly took charge of the circle. However, in February 2018 Philipp Schäuble also changed and moved to Böblingen for a certain period. Since that time, this circle is resting.
2008: Prayer circle in building 120/3
In 2008 Andreas M. initiated a prayer circle in building 120/3. However, this circle existed only until 2010.
2013: Another prayer circle in building 136
Chantalle W. was a faithful member of a prayer circle in Möhringen until mid-2013. In 2013, she took over the new ‘Personnel Planning & Reporting’ function in the Human Resources Management, which required a move from Möhringen to Untertürkheim. In the immediate vicinity of her new location she could only find a prayer group that met in the early morning from 6:00 am to 7:15 am. Since this time was not suitable for her, she decided to initiate another prayer group in Untertürkheim at noon as soon as she was familiar with her new role.
This new prayer circle was first held on August 6, 2013. Since then it has been attended weekly by 8 to 14 participants. The recurring entry of the necessary meeting room in the premises of the Works Council greatly simplifies the organization. The possibility of a recurring booking of a meeting room in the premises of the works council greatly simplifies the organization. Chantalle W. is very grateful to God and the works council for these positive circumstances.
Encouraging testimonial report
Chantalle W. reported on the following story from her prayer circle:
“In addition to many answers to prayers in business-related concerns, recoveries from illnesses and also in family matters, I can report on a project that had to be stopped because nobody knew how to get further (details of the project not intended for publication). Two members of the prayer group were involved in this project and brought the request into the prayer circle. We prayed for a few weeks for this issue until one day the solution to the problems appeared to one of the colleagues involved in a nightly dream. He was shown by the Lord exactly how to proceed. The colleague reported on this in the prayer circle before he submitted the solution to his supervisor. However, he didn’t know whether he should inform his supervisor about the fact that the solution was not from him but rather from the Lord in a dream. I encouraged him to inform his boss about the background and he did so.
His rather skeptical superior allowed the solution to be tried out since there was no other options left for him. Implemented exactly as shown in the dream, the solution worked out well, i.e. the problems encountered were all solved. The solution even got patented. The colleague has since been able and allowed to report to many people about it.”
2015: Prayer circle in building 129/10 of the VAN area
In mid-2015, Benjamin Orschel founded a prayer circle in the VAN area in Untertürkheim, after he had moved from Sindelfingen to Untertürkheim. This circle meets biweekly until today in the lunch break. Previously, Benjamin Orschel had worked in Sindelfingen where he also led a prayer circle. However, already in 2007 he handed over the leadership of this circle to Dr. Johannes Weiss.
2016: Prayer circle in building 119, level 4
Volker von Rad worked as an engineer for the development of air conditioning systems for passenger cars at the Mercedes Technology Center (MTC) in Sindelfingen until 2016, where he took part regularly in the prayer circle in building 50/1. In 2016, he moved to the Truck sector in Untertürkheim, where he was again responsible for the development of air conditioning systems, but for trucks. In 2016, together with David Hewitt (Transport Logistics at the Untertürkheim plant), who also came from Sindelfingen in 2012 and led a prayer circle there on the Sindelfingen production site (see below), he initiated another prayer circle in building 119 in level 4. Unlike the other prayer circle in building 119 (see above), this circle meets during lunch break up to this day.
Volker von Rad left the company at the end of 2017, whereupon David Hewitt and Jürgen Pfrommer (Testing and Materials Technology) took over the management. From summer to the end of 2018, the circle rested, as Jürgen Pfrommer had to undertake many business trips to Hungary. Since early 2019, the circle meets again weekly at lunchtime. Due to a change of location of David Hewitt and lack of availability of Jürgen Pfrommer, from April 2019 the circle was managed by Matthias Hahn. Since the revival of this group, it enjoyed further growth.
In June 2020, Matthias Hahn, whose temporary employment contract in mid-2020 was converted into a work contract, transferred the lead of the prayer group to Felix R..
2019: Another prayer circle in the VAN area
Johannes Diessner, who moved to the VAN area in December 2017, joined the already existing prayer circle of Benjamin Orschel there. This circle experienced a fairly strong inflow since mid-2018. When in the beginning of 2019 the number of participants had grown to about 10 participants, Benjamin Orschel suggested in February 2019, to divide the group into two parts. Johannes Diessner, who had led a prayer circle in the Truck sector until November 2017, accepted this proposal. Thus it was that in March 2019 another prayer circle in the VAN area was initiated under the direction of Johannes Diessner. This circle meets every 14 days in the morning before starting work.
PRAYER CIRCLES IN SINDELFINGEN – PLANT 50
Since 1998: Prayer walks on the factory premises
Around the year 1998 there was a group of Christians in the building 46 of the production plant in Sindelfingen (plant 50), who met regularly during the breaks. There was a lot of prayer for each other. All this had been initiated by Sonja K., a burning Christian lady, who testified everywhere to Jesus. Some people decided to live with Jesus there. Helmut E. also joined these Christians, who were of different ecclesiastical origin.
During these meetings Helmut E. met his colleague Fritz H. Around the year 1999, these two men decided to regularly pray for the company and its employees by marching across the factory premises between the production halls during their lunch break. Sonja K. left the company around this time.
In 2004, David H., together with Christoph M., took over the direction of this open-air prayer circle and coordinated the weekly meetings for eight years.
When David H. moved to Untertürkheim in 2012, the management went to Christoph Eisele (Asset Accounting), who coordinated this circle for another 6 years. Since Christoph Eisele’s workplace was relocated to Schlosshofstraße in October 2018, Helmut E. has been responsible for the open-air prayer group since that time.
Over the years, new people kept coming and praying for the company and the people working in it. It is very encouraging to see in retrospect what God has done great.
2007 – 2018: Prayers in the buildings 9, 2 and 8
Hans Schaaser (Industrial Mechanic in Car Production) was a loyal prayer for the company during its various stations in production plant 50 – from 2007 to early 2012 in building 9, then until March 2017 in building 2 and finally until the end of July 2018 in building 8. While he still had a few followers in building 9, he was mostly alone in the buildings 2 and 8. As he informed in an email from November 2014, he prayed alone whenever it suited him in time. In August 2018, Hans Schaaser entered the passive phase of his partial retirement.
2008: Prayer circle at Fronäckerstraße 40, Beuttler building
The weekly prayer circle at Fronäckerstraße 40, Haus Beuttler, has existed since the end of 2008. The occasion for the founding of the prayer circle was the 3rd Daimler Christian Meeting in November 2008, in which Walter W. met his colleague Marcel N., who is a participant in this prayer circle until today. Together with him, he agreed to found the prayer circle in the Fronäckerstraße, as there did not yet exist a circle at this site of plant 50.
Encouraging report by Walter W.
„We are experiencing a lot of prayer hearings. So we have e.g. already experienced spontaneous healings of back pain or headaches that have not come back since then. Another prayer hearing was that the constant bullying that a son of a prayer circle member experienced through his classmates literally stopped overnight. Our biggest prayer hearing was the cancer cure of the father of a prayer colleague.
We often experienced that prayers were answered on the same day that we brought the request to God. God hears prayer!
The main challenge, in my view, is that everyone in the prayer circle maintains his relationship with God and does not allow negative experiences or problems to take him away from God. Supporting each other on this point is very important to us.”
2009 – 2016: Prayer circle in building 7/1
From 2009 to July 2016, there was also a prayer circle in Building 7/1 of plant 50, which was coordinated by Thomas K. and met over noon. In the absence of available participants, however, this took place only sporadically.
Since 2020: Prayer group in building 551/1 on Tübinger Allee
During the 14th Daimler Christian Meeting in November 2019, David Kallfass, working in building 551/1 (Tübinger Allee, Tor 80), met Marco Alber, a colleague who works at the same location. Marco’s suggestion to found a prayer group there was very much welcomed by David. So on January 20, 2020, they started their first prayer meeting in Tübinger Allee. As David reported, their circle is expected to grow even more.
PRAYER CIRCLES IN SINDELFINGEN – PLANT 59
Since 1999: Prayer group in building 50/1 during lunch break
In the middle of 1999, the pre-development department ‘System Development Driving Functions’, where Dr. Helmut Keller was at the time head of the team for ‘Control Systems Design’, moved from Oberesslingen to the recently completed Mercedes Technology Center (MTC) in Sindelfingen. Since all participants of the Oberesslingen prayer circle moved at the same time, the prayer meetings could initially be continued there with the same team. The members pray for company-relevant concerns and meet every Monday during the lunch break to the present day. They use a meeting room of the building 50/1 which is unoccupied during this time of day.
Gradually, many more departments from various locations in Stuttgart and surroundings moved to the newly built Mercedes Technology Center (MTC) in Sindelfingen. So it happened that Helmut Keller met many other Christians from neighboring departments and areas, whom he invited to the weekly prayer rounds. As a result, the number of prayer participants increased.
Since 2004: Prayer group in building 50/1 before starting work
Since there were some participants who preferred a prayer time in the morning before work began, Helmut Keller founded an additional early prayer circle in 2004, which meets every Thursday at 7:00 am in building 50/1 in the same meeting room as the Monday circle.
Both, the Monday and the Thursday prayer group, were headed by Helmut Keller until the end of his active time at Daimler in August 2017. Due to the many positive experiences and prayer hearings that the participants were able to experience there over the years, it was easy to find suitable successors, who took over the lead of the two groups with joy and plenty of initiative. So since September 2017 the Monday group is continued by Hannes A., while Reiner M. leads the Thursday group. In particular, the Monday circle enjoys a lively participation and has grown further in the meantime.
Around 2002: Prayer circle in building 26, level 0
The Sindelfingen prayer circle in building 26 of the Mercedes Technology Center (MTC) was already initiated around the year 2002 by Meike Sondermeyer (Acoustics Engineer in Car Development). In autumn 2004, Benjamin Orschel (then a member of the Develop Junior Group) took over the lead of this circle. In 2007, the management then went over to Dr. Johannes Weiss (NVH calculation in Car Development), since Benjamin Orschel at that time focused more on volunteer services in his church. In building 26, people meet until today during lunch break in a meeting room at level 0.
Benjamin Orschel was a member of this circle until 2015. In 2015, he moved to Untertürkheim in the VAN area, where he founded another prayer circle shortly thereafter (see section ‘Prayer circles in Untertürkheim’).
2005: Prayer circle in building 26, level 4
Rüdiger Steinberg (at that time team leader of ‘Overall Vehicle Concept C-class’) has long been concerned about giving space to God and Christian values in his working environment. Therefore, in the beginning of 2005, he founded a prayer circle in level 4 of building 26. The fact that another prayer circle took place in the same building on the same day of the week – and also at the same time of day – became known only in 2006 on the occasion of the first Daimler Christian Meeting, where all existing Daimler prayer groups were presented. After a subsequent exchange with Benjamin Orschel, the then leader of the parallel prayer circle, they decided to keep the place and time of the two prayer circles as it was. Therefore, to this day, in the building 26, two prayer groups take place on the same day of the week during the lunch break.
2010: Prayer circle in building 20/1
In 2008, Michael Rohmann (responsible for the development of starter-generator lines in the Passenger Car Development), who together with Johannes Diessner initiated the Untertürkheim prayer circle in building 119 around 2005 (see section ‘Prayer circles in Untertürkheim’), moved from the commercial vehicle sector in Untertürkheim to the Mercedes Technology Center (MTC) in Sindelfingen. As his new team included two other faithful colleagues (Raphael O. and Jan S.), in 2010 he started another prayer circle in building 20/1 of the MTC in Sindelfingen. Triggered by a prayer flyer circulating in the company, over ten people soon met at the weekly prayer meetings during lunch break. However, due to restructurings and terminations of internships, diploma thesis and study works the circle shrank, so that in early 2019 it just consisted of two to three participants.
2018: Prayer circle at Schlosshofstraße 3, building 446
In October 2018, the working place of Christoph Eisele was moved into the project center for ‘Buildings and Interior Construction’ of the plant 59. This required a relocation from plant 50 to Schlosshofstraße. Interestingly, there, he received a seating position next to a colleague who is at the same time a pastor on a voluntary basis. Together with another colleage, whom Christoph Eisele knows from his church, they meet there for regular prayer since the end of 2018.
2019: Prayer circle in building 12
In February 2019, Daniel Bachmann from the Powertrain area informed that he and three other colleagues had agreed to meet for weekly prayer in building 12. Thus, there exists another prayer circle in the Mercedes Technology Center (MTC) in Sindelfingen.
2019: Prayer Circle at Kolumbusstraße 31/1
Miriam H. from the field of telematics has an interest in praying especially for her project, her team and her department. In February 2019, together with a colleague, she started to pray regularly for their specific concerns. They first met on the 10th floor of building 50/1.
In June 2019 she moved into a buliding on Kolumbusstraße. Thus, there is also a prayer circle at this location, which, however, primarily focuses on the project- and department-specific concerns.
2020: Prayers by phone or Skype, 3 times a week
Marcel Mast, who has been a faithful participant of the Monday prayer circle in building 50/1 since 2017, decided in May 2020 to intensify the company prayer, as he became aware of the importance of prayer and also recognised the willingness of many participants. Therefore, since June 2020, the prayers of the Monday prayer circle led by Hannes Ackermann have been meeting not only on Mondays, but also on Wednesdays and Fridays. However, due to Corona restrictions, these meetings do not take place on site in building 50/1, but virtually via telephone or Skype conferences.
PRAYER CIRCLE IN ESSLINGEN-BRÜHL
Already in 2000: Prayer meetings in Esslingen-Brühl
Hans-Georg Osswald joined Daimler in 2000 in the area ‘Global Service & Parts’ in Esslingen-Brühl, Palmenwaldstraße. Even then, some Daimler employees and colleagues from service companies met there every now and again to pray – either in a basement of the underground car park or in a workshop room. One day in 2000, Hans-Georg Osswald discovered a Christian (Kawohl) calendar on a colleague’s desk. He asked this colleague if there was a prayer circle in Esslingen-Brühl. The colleague affirmed and named him a few colleagues from the neighboring department, who would also take part in the prayer circle from time to time and to whom he would like to approach. Then he became a member of this prayer circle in Brühl and was grateful to have found brothers and sisters in faith at his location on the spot.
This prayer circle was at that time a relatively loose union. Many participants were often temporarily unable to attend and therefore took part only sporadically. So it happened that the prayer circle took place less and less over time. Around 2003, the members agreed to stop the prayer circle due to the many failures and the increasingly sparse participation.
2007: Reactivation of the prayer circle by a committed Christian lady
Around the year 2006, a new Daimler employee joined the department ‘After-Sales Diagnostics’ for passenger cars at Brühl. Since she was a dedicated Christian she inquired about a local prayer circle, and in 2007 she called the ‘decommissioned’ prayer circle back to life – using the catchy acronym ‘BAG’, which stands for ‘Bibel – Austausch – Gebet’ (Bible – Exchange – Prayer).
When this colleague changed to Research & Development some time later (about 2007/2008), the question of the successor had to be clarified. The team leader of Hans-Georg Osswald, who was also a Christian and often participated in the prayer circle, asked Hans-Georg Osswald whether he would take over the role of head or organizer of the BAG meetings. Since then, this circle has been coordinated by him. Every week, Hans-Georg Osswald invites to the BAG prayer meetings by e-mail. As an entry into the prayer meetings usually a devotion for the day is shared, for example from https://unsertaeglichbrot.org/, https://www.gute-saat.de/ or http://faithfood.ch/.
At the beginning of 2009, the various departments of GSP/TD were cumulated in the Smart area at the Böblingen site. Thus, a large part of the Brühl prayer circle moved to Böblingen. The other part of the prayer circle remained in Brühl. Dieter Backhaus (Education System) took over the leadership until his entry into the passive part-time phase of partial retirement in December 2012. Thereafter, the circle was continued by Claudia D. for about one more year. Due to a change of job, however, this residual circle dissolved in 2013, while the circle moved to Böblingen meets weekly in the Smart area until today.
PRAYER GROUP IN STUTTGART-HEDELFINGEN
2002: Prayer meeting in the ‘Underground’ of the Hedelfingen plant
Since May 2002, some believing Daimler employees at the Hedelfingen plant have been meeting during breaks to talk about their common faith and their experiences with Jesus in the workplace, to read the Bible and to pray. In January 2019, Markus Schmid, industrial mechanic in gearbox assembly, gave a brief review of his experience so far:
“In May 2002, I had a work colleague who was very open to the Christian faith. He was very interested and listened well when I told him of Jesus in the pauses. He was very much attached to computer games and pornographic films, but he wanted to get to know God better and get rid of his vices. We met regularly during the breaks to talk about the Christian faith.
It started on an iron staircase
One day we went from the workshop to the basement during a break and discovered a small metal staircase in the pleasantly warm cellar corridors. This staircase (see photo) became a regular break point from this day on. We sat there talking to each other, reading the Bible and praying together. These were the beginnings of our prayer circle in Hedelfingen.
The ‘Daimler Church’
A little later we discovered that not far from this staircase was a door to a corridor, at the end of which there was a ‘small stadium’, an open space that went down from three sides like a tribune. There we could sit much more comfortably than on the metal staircase in the basement corridor.
Later we brought carpets and artificial flowers to make the room a little more attractive. On the bare wall, we painted a cross and wrote Bible verses. We also published tracts and hung a sign saying ‘Daimler Church’.
Many of my colleagues knew that I am a self-confessed Christian and so it happened not infrequently that they taught me more Christians – often with the words: ‘There is still a saint like you’. Our group in the underground continued to grow. We met during the break of the morning shift from 12:35 – 1:05 pm as well as in the breaks of the late shift from 5:45 – 6:15 pm and from 9:30 – 9:45 pm.
In part, faithful working students also took part in the break-time meetings (see photo below).
Further friendships and acquaintances
About 2004/2005 I noticed another colleague at the sink, because he always beamed at me so friendly. I watched him for some time and thought to myself, ‘Either this colleague is “interested in me” or he is a Christian.’ The latter was true. After a short while, I realized that he, too, was a devout Christian. A close friendship developed with this colleague. Except during business break times, we often met at 5:00 am in the morning before the morning shift, to start the day with a morning prayer walk in the wild on the fields. Then we drove to work together.
When I talked to another colleague in the bathroom when washing my hands, he said: ‘My grandma said everyone had to wear his cross’. When I answered, ‘For me the cross bore another,’ he said, ‘Oh, you are one of those, too!’ So we both recognized that we were followers of Jesus.
Interestingly, even a Muslim colleague once provided me a colleague who believed in Jesus and worked with him on the same shift. Since the Muslim colleague knew about my faith, he referred to his colleagues to me with the words, ‘This is also someone like you’. Also to this colleague a close friendship developed.
In oder to make my colleagues aware of the faith, I always wore T-shirts with challenging inscriptions, such as ‘Last Exit before Hell’, ‘Without Jesus – lived in vain’ or ‘I will not die, just move’. These T-shirts were often the occasion for in-depth religious discussions.
End of meetings in the underground
Our meetings in the basement of the plant in Hedelfingen took place over eight years from May 2002 to August 2010. For a while, we even met several times a day, each in the breaks. However, on August 31, 2010, the following occurred: At the door to our ‘Underground Stadium’, a sign hung warning that for safety reasons it was not allowed to stay in the basement for longer. It would be a supply channel, which may be entered only with a gas detector. It could be health or even life-threatening pollutants in this supply channel.
My friendly team leader had initiated this and also openly talked to me about it.
I understood that this was no excuse to keep us from our meetings. This retired team leader lives in the same village as me. I still visit him and his wife regularly today.
Pray where it smells of oil
Because of the cellar room ban, we did not give up our prayer meetings. Soon after completing the meetings in the basement, a devout master gave us permission to use a meeting room during the breaks. We were able to use this room between 2012 and 2015 after all for about 3-4 years. Because this room nowadays is occupied by other means, we are currently looking for another room. Until then, we pray where it smells of oil and the machines hum.”
PRAYER CIRCLE IN ESSLINGEN-METTINGEN
2007: Start of the prayer circle in Mettingen
Also in Mettingen one meets to the regular company prayer already since 2007. The impetus for the weekly meetings was the following:
In 2007 Gotthardt Lesch (Quality Planning) had a meeting with a colleague named Wolfgang S. from the pre-planning. In the course of their conversation, they found that they are both Christians and interested in regular prayers in the company. Wolfgang S. was acquainted with another Christian named Norbert Lorenz from the competition analysis and so it happened that the three colleagues met for the first time on 15 March 2007 to a common prayer. Since then, they meet each Thursday over lunch break in a meeting room in the Mettingen plant.
Gotthardt Lesch headed the Mettinger prayer circle for 13 years. Due to his age-related retirement on August 1, 2020, he handed the management over to his loyal colleague Norbert Lorenz in mid-February 2020.
Due to the dissolution of his field of work, Norbert Lorenz had to give up the leadership of the Mettinger Kreis in mid-October 2020. Since then Rainer Hackstein has been responsible for this circle.
Anecdote from the prayer circle in Mettingen
A member of the prayer circle in Mettingen reports about the following event from the year 2018:
“During the lunch break on a Thursday when we wanted to meet for prayer, we did not have a key to our prayer room and so we prayed in front of this room. An external logistics employee, an American, came up to us and was interested in what we were doing out front. We told him that we would pray for our employer, on which he also revealed as a Christian. Unfortunately, we never met him again afterwards.”
PRAYER CIRCLES IN ESSLINGEN-PLIENSAUVORSTADT
2007 – 2011: First Prayer Circle
In 2007, Martin S. moved from Möhringen, where he was offering Alpha and Basic Faith courses, to Esslingen in the Roser building. There he founded a prayer circle, which met once a week at 8:00 am with three to four participants.
In mid-2011 Martin S. moved back to his original location Möhringen. The prayer circle in the Roser building was then continued for a few months by Petra H., but dissolved in late 2011, when she was transferred to Vaihingen.
Since 2017: Second Prayer Circle
Since 2017, Yahkub Bugday, then an external management consultant at Daimler, is leading a prayer circle in the Roser building in Esslingen-Pliensauvorstadt, which was leased by Daimler until 2018. After the lease expiring of the building, some of the participants moved to other locations. Nevertheless, Yahkub Bugday (now with Daimler employment contract) meets with another colleague for weekly prayer to this day. Other Christians at his location are cordially invited to join the circle.
PRAYER CIRCLES IN BÖBLINGEN
2006: Prayer circle at Dornierstraße 7 (BB-Hulb)
In 2006 Andrea Riecker (sales employee) initiated a prayer circle in Böblingen-Hulb at Dornierstraße 7 (AEG building). She led this group until she left the company (then DaimlerChrysler AG) in July 2007 and emigrated to Canada for family reasons. For a short time Kerstin S. was her successor. For lack of participants, however, this circle dissolved in 2008.
2007: Prayer Circle at Leibnizstraße 6/1 (Smart area)
The prayer circle in the Smart area in Böblingen was initiated by Dr. Siegmar Haasis, then head of department for ‘Computer Aided Design & Manufacturing’ and ‘Virtual Reality’ within Mercedes-Benz Cars. In 2010 Siegmar Haasis moved as ‘CIO Overseas & Greater China’ to Asia for three years (first Singapore, then Beijing). Stefan Jantner (Global Services & Parts) took over the direction of this prayer circle until he also moved to Malaysia as an expat in November 2014. He has been back at his old location since the end of 2018, However, since in the meanwhile the former participants in this prayer circle have been transferred to other locations (Atrium Böblingen or MTC Sindelfingen), there is a lack of participants, which is why this prayer circle has been resting since 2014.
Worth mentioning is the fact that Siegmar Haasis founded the ‚Hope Group’ in Beijing in early 2013. Details can be found in the section ‘Hope Group in Beijing’.
2008: Prayer Circle at Hanns-Klemm-Straße 45 (BB-Hulb)
Until the middle of 2008 Martin Moser and Reinhold Schneckenburger (Advanced Development within the area ‘Brake, Assistance and Suspension Systems’) were faithful participants of the prayer circle in the MTC, building 50/1. In September 2008, they moved to Böblingen as members of the Pre-Development department at Hanns-Klemm-Straße 45. Because they did not want to give up the weekly corporate prayer at their new location, they initiated their own new prayer circle. This circle existed until Martin Moser was transferred back to the MTC in May 2017 in the department ‘Parking and Camera Systems’.
The following anecdote can be found in this prayer circle:
“The neighbor team had a trainee from South Korea. He could speak some German and good English, but he could only pray in his mother tongue. The jump from English to Korean has always been a bit funny, of course we have understood nothing. But through the Spirit of God we still shared in his prayer.”
2009: Another prayer circle at Leibnizstraße 6/1 (Smart area)
At the beginning of 2009, the various departments of GSP/TD at the Esslingen-Brühl site were cumulated in the Smart area in Böblingen. As a result, a large part of the prayer circle led by Hans-Georg Osswald moved to Böblingen.
The search for a suitable meeting room at the new location in Böblingen was not easy, but even then the group was allowed to experience God’s help. For many months, the circle was allowed to use a small meeting room in the executive suite near the divisional director.
To this day, the prayer circle in the Smart area meets at lunchtime. As an entry into the prayer meetings usually a devotion for the day is shared, for example from https://unsertaeglichbrot.org/, https://www.gute-saat.de/ or http://faithfood.ch/.
2011: Prayer Circle at Schickardstraße 30 (BB-Hulb)
There is the following story about the formation of the prayer circle at Schickardstraße 30:
Since about 2004 Rüdiger Nannt has been accompanied by Natalie M. in his purchasing activities. Around the year 2010, Natalie moved into the strategy area within the purchasing department. One day they made an appointment to have lunch and, quite by chance (there is no coincidence with God), they came to the theme of ‘Faith in Jesus Christ’. Since both had just come to faith, they decided to start a prayer circle. So it came in 2011 to the prayer circle at Schickardstraße 30.
In August 2018 Rüdiger Nannt moved to the Mercedes-Benz production plant East London in South Africa. For a short time the direction of the prayer circle in the Schickardstraße went to Philipp Schäuble, However, at the end of September he changed back to Untertürkheim. Therefore, since October 2018 the circle is headed by Daniela Vallipuram.
2012: Another prayer circle at Hanns-Klemm-Straße 5 (BB-Hulb)
During the 7th Daimler Christian Meeting on November 10, 2012, Dr. Peyman Merat (Head of Integrated Product Assurance) and Andreas Walter (Change Management Monitor), who both worked in the atrium in Böblingen, Hanns-Klemm-Straße 5, came across ‘by coincidence’. When they met again shortly thereafter in the atrium, they decided to start a prayer circle there. This prayer circle has existed since the end of 2012 to the present day. It was first led by Peyman Merat and from 2014 by Andreas Walter. In 2016 they made the following notice on the bulletin board:
PRAYER CIRCLE IN REUTLINGEN
The prayer circle in the Mercedes-Benz Logistics Center Reutlingen was initiated in 2009 by Markus Weikert. At this point, he did not know that there were other prayer groups at Daimler. This he did not learn until some time later, when told him by a colleague from Sindelfingen.
Markus Weikert has already received numerous answers to prayer. About the following event he informed by mail:
“My colleague’s son was hospitalized with facial paralysis. The colleague (father of the child) called desperately to me because nobody knew how it would go on with the child. I said to him, ‘Come on, we pray at our workplace – or better yet – we visit him in the hospital and pray there.’ He agreed.
Arriving at the hospital, the colleague opened the door to the hospital room, but immediately closed it again, because the night before two Muslim children were hospitalized in the room, whose mothers were sitting by the bed. Finally he went in and asked his son, ‘Shall Markus pray for you?’ The boy said yes. I called out loud to Jesus and asked for full restoration of the son. After that we went back to work. After about an hour, the son called and said, ‘I’m going to be released from the hospital.’ ”
PRAYER CIRCLE IN NABERN
Since May 2019
Michael S. is working in Nabern (near Kirchheim unter Teck) in battery simulation. During his vacation in spring 2019, it became important to him to pray for the company. On May 10, 2019, he discovered in the Daimler internal intranet on some information about the ‘Christians at Daimler’ network and the existing prayer circles at Daimler. He then contacted the network to find out more. Although a few more Christians were employed at the Nabern site, there was no company prayer group yet. That’s why Helmut Keller motivated him to start a prayer circle there as well.
Michael S. contacted the local Christians. At the end of May 2019 he announced that a small circle of five colleagues had decided to establish a prayer circle at their location. Since then, this group meets once a week on a Monday evening after work in a meeting room outside the main company premises in Nabern.
At the end of 2020, the entire area – and thus the prayer group – is expected to move from Nabern to Untertürkheim.
PRAYER CIRCLE IN THE BREMEN PLANT
Since 2010: Weekly prayers in the production plant at Bremen
The motivation to set up a prayer circle in Bremen had been brought by Wolfgang M., team leader ‘Tool Introduction and Testing Technology’, from the Hamburg plant in 2008. Already around the year 1998 there existed a small prayer circle, consisting of an E2 leader, two other colleagues and himself. His desire was to take this important mission with him to his new place of work.
He got in touch with other Christians because his then landlord in Bremen, who was a faithful man of prayer in his church, asked in a church service whether there were church members who work for Daimler and would be interested in a prayer circle. As a result, the first contacts were made at the Bremen plant in 2010.
From the 2nd or 3rd hand, Wolfgang M. learned that around the year 2010 there must have been one or more other prayer groups at the Bremen plant that regularly met in the production as shift prayer groups. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to establish direct contact with the colleagues of these circles.
In October 2018 Wolfgang M. changed the job within the production equipment in a related field of responsibility. Since then, they have been meeting in a room assigned to his team.
50 km drive to the weekly company prayer
According to a statement by Wolfgang M. in January 2019, it is very encouraging for the prayer group that a faithful participant named Axel G. still regularly participates in the company prayer circle, although he is already in semi-retirement for almost three years and has a journey of 50 km to the plant. Asked to Axel G. what was the reason for him to take the long route to the weekly corporate prayer circles, he replied: “I believe God is paying great attention to these little prayer rounds because they do what he wants. The bible says, ‘All your worries throw on him, because he cares for you.’ And another thing is very important to me: When it comes to admiring one or the other, that’s just our Lord Jesus, because he is and was very patient with me. He has often carried me through and he has given me great pleasure by entrusting my wife Angelika to me.”
PRAYER CIRCLES IN STUTTGART-VAIHINGEN
2014 – 2015: First prayer circle in Stuttgart-Vaihingen
Already in 2014, Pia W., then Sales Truck / Marketing, met regularly with other Christians in Vaihingen to pray. In 2015, she moved to China, whereupon the circle dissolved.
Since 2018: Prayer circle at Industriestraße 21
In the middle of 2018 the workplace of Markus Kleppe was relocated from Möhringen to Vaihingen, Industriestraße 21 (administrative building of KNV GmbH). As soon as he got a foothold there, he met other Christians. In the autumn of 2018 he was able to start a prayer circle at his new location.
Since 2020: Prayer group at Daimler TSS in Vaihingen
Encouraged by the 14th Daimler-Christian meeting, Michael Max and his colleague Benjamin Bertow, both employed at Daimler TSS, asked their management in December 2019 whether they were allowed start a prayer group at their location in Vaihingen, Gropiusplatz 10. To their delight, this request was approved. Thus, since the beginning of 2020 there has been another prayer group in Vaihingen.
PRAYER CIRCLE IN FELLBACH-SCHMIDEN
Since spring 2015
The kick-off and the ultimate motivation for the foundation of the prayer circle at the Fellbach-Schmiden site were given by the Daimler Christian Meetings. That’s how the Daimler Christians working there started to meet regularly in the spring of 2015.
Message from Manfred Nachtrieb in January 2019:
“A big answer of prayer was the decision of our board of management in the summer of 2018 to let us be assigned as the remaining team of the car repair team (PWI) to the plant 10. About three years ago, the board decided to add all 350 PWI employees to the contracting departments.
This was partially implemented in the years 2017/2018 – except for the team in Schmiden, which should be added to the branch Württemberg.
We prayed about 3 years for the decision of the continuance of our team in plant 10. And so it came. God has prepared people from the works council to stand up for us and be has given the insight to the decision makers. All about 60 employees working here in Schmiden are totally relieved and can confidently look to the future now. Thank God!”
PRAYER CIRCLE IN STUTTGART-FEUERBACH
In his time as Senior Expert (vulgo: Space Cowboy) on the Pragsattel (Stuttgart-Feuerbach) Dr. Josef Kurz, who led one of the prayer groups in Möhringen from mid-2007 to mid-2015 (see ‘Prayer Meetings in Möhringen’), had another role in the development of corporate prayer groups at Daimler. Together with Anette K., responsible for the reporting of Credit Risk Systems, he was able to found a prayer circle on Pragsattel in mid-2016.
Since the departure of Josef Kurz, this circle, which meets during the lunch break in the offices of the Mercedes-Benz Bank, is continued by Anette K. with interim management support of another colleague. Although the number of participants in this circle is subject to greater fluctuations due to job changes and as a result, the meetings in the past often failed, the prayer circle did not dissolve. Instead, the remaining members are praying for growth.
In 2018, this circle met temporarily in the nearby Gospel Forum in the Junghansstraße 7-9. The main reason for this was that the group could sing and play the guitar undisturbed which created a good atmosphere for prayer.
PRAYER CIRCLE IN RASTATT
August 2016 – January 2019
From August 2016 to January 2019, Thomas K. worked as a master at the Rastatt plant. There, in August 2016 he called another prayer circle to life, which met in a meeting container. Unfortunately, the group was not heavily frequented, which is why he completely disbanded after the return of Thomas K. to Sindelfingen.
However, there is hope that this prayer circle will come back to life in 2020. Dejan P., who is still working at the start-up factory in Sindelfingen until the end of 2019, will return to Rastatt in 2020 and would gladly take over the prayer circle there.
PENSIONER PRAYER CIRCLE
Since November 2016
Since the 10th Daimler Christian Meeting in autumn 2015 with the theme ‘Open Your Mind and Your Heart’, the Daimler retiree Ekhard M. has been thinking of founding a pensioner prayer circle out of gratitude to his company. Among other things, he owes the company his monthly Daimler company pension. One year later, directly after the 11th Daimler Christian Meeting in 2016 with the inspiring lecture of Johannes Hartl (Prayer House Augsburg) and the topic ‘With the Lord under the Star’, he searched for allies who supported his project.
He received a pledge from three friendly pensioners, and in November 2016, the first Daimler-Pensioner prayer circle was founded.
Currently, the group of four is praying over a conference call. However, once the technical requirements are met with each of the participants, they intend to communicate in sound and picture via an Internet-based video conferencing system.
PRAYERS IN STUTTGART-WANGEN
2017: Prayers at Viehwasen 55, Berberich building
Gabriele O. prays daily before starting her work at her workplace. As soon as she locates other Christians near her, she would like to install a regular prayer circle.
2018: Prayers at Hedelfinger Straße 58
In August 2018, Hans-Peter S. asked if there were more Christians at his site in Wangen because he intended to found a prayer group there around lunchtime. Gabriele O.’s prayer meetings before 7.00 a.m. were too early for him. Unfortunately, until his move to Untertürkheim in February 2020, no further men or women of prayer were found to accompany him in his project.
In Untertürkheim, Hans-Peter S. joined Johannes Diessner’s prayer group.
HOPE GROUP IN BEIJING (CHINA)
March 2013: Foundation of the Hope Group in Beijing
Dr. Siegmar Haasis, who was CIO (Chief Information Officer) Overseas & Greater China with responsibility for 15 Asian markets located in Beijing from 2010 to 2013, wrote an e-mail to Helmut Keller in October 2012, in which he announced that he could not attend the traditional Daimler Christian Meeting this year. In this e-mail, he also conveyed the message that after intense prayer and encouraging discussions with international colleagues, he decided to form a Christian discussion and prayer circle in Beijing and hold regular Christian meetings.
In March 2013 the time had come. Siegmar Haasis and his assistant Christoph Wege founded the ‘Hope Group’, a diverse group of Christians from Asia, America and Europe. Since then, once a week at lunchtime, they meet in the Daimler Tower in Beijing for spiritual exchange, prayer and conversation.
Continuity despite two changes of leader
In August 2013 Siegmar Haasis returned to Germany and Christoph Wege continued the prayer circle. Overall, Christoph Wege was responsible for the Hope Group for 4.5 years, until he left Beijing in late 2017 and moved to Legnica (Poland). Since December 2017, the group is headed by Xiaoyu Chen. It now consists of 9 people who prepare the weekly meetings and actively help to arrange the worship.
At the 12th Daimler Christian Meeting in November 2017, the Hope Group was live connected via Skype. Although it was already past midnight in China, the Chinese colleagues did not miss the opportunity to follow and even actively participate in the event. They addressed an encouraging greeting to the German participants and followed a large part of the multi-hour event live from Beijing.
In December 2018, Xiaoyu wrote:
“We have had a blessed year in which God has used our corporate prayer circle to consolidate our faith and even bring in some unbelievers. Recently, a woman who returned from Britain to Beijing a few years ago took part in our prayer circle. During her time in the UK, she had visited the church, but here in Beijing no more. After attending our prayer circle for a few Thursdays, she said that her relationship with God had been re-established and that she had come closer to him. Very enthusiastically, she told us one Thursday that one of her prayer requests had come true after we had prayed for her. In the meanwhile, she even went to the Sunday service, to which I invited her.”
PRAYER GROUPS IN TUSCALOOSA (ALABAMA/USA)
Since 2008: Bible Study at the manufactoring site in Tuscaloosa
At the production site MBUSI (Mercedes-Benz U.S. International) in Tuscaloosa (Alabama/USA) Joseph Cox started out with a small group in 2008. They met every Tuesday in plant 2 at 11:00 am until 11:30 am. In 2013 he moved to plant 1 but that group still meets on Fridays for Bible Study in the Wheel Alignment Pit area from 10:30 am until 10:50 am.
From 2013 until his retirement in September 2019, Joseph Cox had been blessed to lead a small group at plant 1 (see photo) from 11:00 am until 11:30 am with weekly bible study and prayer. They usually gathered in the Audit Garage or – if there was no room available – they met line side at GFP to offer prayer.
Since 2014: Men’s Group at the manufactoring site in Tuscaloosa
David Reeves has been working at the Tuscaloosa plant of MBUSI (Alabama/USA) as an Assembly Process Engineer since 2008 and as an Assembly Group Leader. He was encouraged from his church, Church of the Highlands, Birmingham (Alabama), to lead men in developing their faith deeper with Christ simply wherever God would place him. So for him, it was natural to start at work.
In January 2014 he started leading a Men’s Small Group, similar to the Bible Study group of Joseph Cox, that meets weekly during lunch breaks since 2013 (see above). There they studied different topics, usually focused on leadership skills that are based on Biblical lessons. They also had one or two semesters focused on being stronger Men of God. The group had varied in size, usually around 10 men.
In addition to that they have a prayer email group that was created about 3 years before by a previous colleague to send out prayer requests across the organization. Another focus of that email group is to pray for the management to be influenced by the Holy Spirit in making the best and wisest decisions possible. Quote from David: “We have seen change for the better here since we started the prayers, and we believe God has played a part in that.”
2017: Message from David Reeves via live-connection
On the occasion of the Daimler Christian Meeting in 2017 David Reeves was hooked-up by a live-connection over the internet (see photo).
He spoke the following words to the German audience:
„I would like to encourage everyone in this Daimler Christian Meeting to keep their faith in Christ strong! Jesus desires a personal relationship with you, and your simple answer is just to live for Him. All of my joy comes from knowing Jesus – not from my job, not from my hobbies, or anything that the world offers. If I trust in this world, I know that I will be disappointed. I know that Jesus will never let me down and that I can place all trust in Him. Please live your faith out daily at work! The Lord will give you a positive spirit and joy that you have never experienced. Remember to follow what Colossians 3:23 says: ‚Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not human masters.‘ Bring glory to God by how you conduct yourself at work. I also encourage you to pray for your leaders. Our structure for each person here is to pray daily for his/her Manager (E4), Senior Manager (E3), Vice President (E2), and President (E1).“
To the question of what a testimony or an experience with the Men’s Group would be, David answered:
„I would say the best testimony from leading my group is actually from myself: I have learned so much from the other men about being a better husband and father, when to put work behind my family (which is always tough for me), and deepening my faith with Jesus.“
In the year 2017 David Reeves was promoted to a manager of a new team called ‚Assembly Introduction‘.
PRAYER CIRCLE IN DETROIT (MICHIGAN/USA)
In 2016 Ilyas Y. moved from Untertürkheim to the Detroit Diesel Corporation (DDC) in Detroit, Michigan to work there as an expat for three years. He soon met fellow believers at his new location in Detroit. Since he knew the prayer circles from Stuttgart, he followed the German example and also founded a prayer circle in Detroit in 2016.
For more than two years, Dean F. was a faithful prayer group participant there. Therefore, Ilyas transferred the guidance of the prayer circle to Dean, before returning to Germany in September 2018. Since then Dean F. invites to the weekly prayer rounds.
In May 2019, Dean F . wrote: “Our small prayer group still meets weekly with folks from several groups: Engineering, Supplier Management, Quality, Lab.”
PRAYER CIRCLE IN PORTLAND (OREGON/USA)
There has also existed a prayer circle at the ‘Daimler Trucks North America Headquarters’ in Portland (Oregon / USA) for years. Volker Fliehmann, a former employee from the Truck sector in Untertürkheim, was able to get to know this circle during a stay abroad in 2014.
PRAYERS IN TOKYO (JAPAN)
2016 – April 2018
Joy Jacintha Selvaraj, a young Christian lady with Indian nationality, was working from February 2015 to April 2018 at Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation in Kanagawa, Japan, which is a part of Daimler Trucks. She was working initially in the Human Resources department and later in the Customer Services department. In January 2019 she gave a short review of her journey at Fuso:
“During one of my business trips to Stuttgart through the guidance from a mutual friend in Christ I was blessed with the opportunity to meet with Dr. Helmut Keller. I was introduced to ‘Christians at Daimler’ and very soon I was welcomed into a prayer group that was active at Untertürkheim. After I had returned back to Japan I was motivated to always be open and trust that God will lead me to more believers at Fuso with whom I can build a community to share prayer requests and also to pray for the company.
After I had returned from my business trip to Stuttgart in the year 2016 I met Anna, another Christian lady who had been working at Fuso longer than me. It was a blessing to know her as a colleague and a sister and have this fellowship with her once she returns to Tokyo after her frequent business trips to Taiwan.
I was really amazed when I was seeking to connect with more Christians at work God had shown me two other Christians who were from India and working in Tokyo and I was really happy to invite them to lunch/dinner fellowship after work.”
On the occasion of the 12th Daimler Christian Meeting in 2017 Joy Jacintha Selvaraj was hooked-up by a live-connection over the internet. She welcomed the German audience by sharing a short encouraging message (see photo).
By the end of April 2018 Joy Jacintha left Fuso. However, she still is very much connected with ‘Christians at Daimler’.
PRAYER CIRCLE IN BANGALORE (INDIA)
Since December 2017
Through his collaboration with the Indian colleagues of MBRDI (Mercedes-Benz Research & Development India) in Bangalore, Eberhard B., a member of a prayer circle in Sindelfingen, met the Indian Christian Liz S. Impressed by her deep faith and the fact that even more Christians are employed at MBRDI in Bangalore, he told her about the prayer groups at Daimler and motivated her to form a prayer circle in Banaglore as well.
On December 15, 2017, he made the joyful announcement that Liz S. had founded a prayer group in Bangalore in early December 2017, in which they meet four of them. Since Eberhard B. was at MBRDI right at the time, he was even able to witness the first meeting live. In the absence of a vacant meeting room, the Indian colleagues meet in the anteroom of a staircase.
Since in November 2018 Liz S. was in Sindelfingen for three weeks, she was able to attend the 13th Daimler Christian meeting in Weinstadt-Beutelsbach and make an active contribution there.
PRAYER CIRCLE IN LEGNICA (POLAND)
Since August 2018
In early 2018, Christoph Wege, who led the Hope Group in Beijing until the end of 2017 (see above), moved to ‘Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Poland’ in Legica, Poland. No sooner had he gained a foothold at his new location, he started a Bible study and prayer circle there in August 2018, which meets weekly at lunchtime. Even if the round is still quite small – the circle is initiated.
ASIAN PRAYER CIRCLE
Since February 2020
Jacintha Nazareth, a young lady of Indian origin and an employee of the Mercedes-Benz Bank in Stuttgart-Feuerbach, was a participant of the 14th Daimler Christian Meeting on November 16, 2019. Here she learned about the prayer group that existed at Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India in Bangalore.
On November 26, Helmut Keller established contact between Liz Stanley (Bangalore), Joy Selvaraj (Chennai, formerly employed by Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corporation, Japan) and Jacintha Nazareth (Germany).
A first telephone exchange between the Indian colleagues then took place on February 11, 2020. Since that date, a telephone call has been taking place every week in which current concerns are exchanged and brought before God. In the meantime, this prayer group via phone or Skype has grown to include two other Indian Daimler colleagues from Bangalore and a Daimler lady-colleague from Mercedes-Benz Taiwan in Taipei. It is coordinated and moderated by Joy J. Selvaraj from Chennai.
PRAYER CIRCLE IN BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Since February 2020
On January 7, 2020, 5 colleagues from Mercedes-Benz Argentina, Buenos Aires, including Ivana Bazán, Manager of Controlling Vans Argentina, and Emily Torres, accounts receivable management, registered for the “Christians at Daimler” network on the website.
When asked how they became aware of the network, Emily and Ivana said that they had learned about the network through their colleague Muriel Marrugo, who worked in Stuttgart and who attended the Daimler Christian Meeting in November 2019. They were delighted to hear that Daimler incorporates Christianity as a corporate value. There would be no Christian prayer groups in Buenos Aires so far, but they would consider it as important to set up such a circle.
On February 14, 2020, Ivana announced that, despite the current summer break, she had started a two-week prayer meeting at the Buenos Aires location and that she was very happy about it. Their WhatsApp group already consisted of 7 people.
PRAYER CIRCLE IN SÃO PAULO (BRAZIL)
It has long been known that in the truck production area of Mercedes-Benz do Brasil (MBBRAS) in São Bernardo do Campo (São Paulo state) there were some groups of believing workers who meet during their breaks for regular prayer. Unfortunately, the network ‘Christians at Daimler’ did not have any contacts to these Christians until 2020.
Besides that, a few years ago Christians from the senior management met for lunch with the aim of starting a prayer group. Although the project was approved by everyone involved, the idea could not be implemented successfully.
In May 2020, Chantalle Wagne drew attention to a believing colleague from MBBRAS named Luciano Emidio, whose contact she still had in her mailing list of the Untertürkheimer prayer groups. Luciano Emidio was employed at the Untertürkheim plant from April 2008 to November 2013 and regularly took part in a Untertürkheim prayer group there on Tuesday mornings.
After contacting him again by email, on June 2, 2020 Luciano Emidio took the initiative to invite the known Christians to regular prayer meetings at his location. The response was positive. The first online prayer at MBBRAS took place on June 17, 2020 with participants from São Bernardo do Campo and Campinas. They meet on a weekly basis via phone or Skype.
PRAYER CIRCLE IN EAST LONDON (SOUTH AFRICA)
Matthias H. who had been employed in the financial controlling at ‘Mercedes-Benz South Africa’ for several years reported that in the past there existed a prayer group in the plant of Mercedes-Benz in East London. Due to arising confrontations with other religions the prayer circle on the company premises was prohibited. Subsequently, attempts were made to meet outside the plant. However, the threshold of the effort was too high for the participants. Perhaps it may still be possible to establish a company prayer group outside the production premises in the near future.