All Things Wireless & Letterpress

All Things Wireless & Letterpress

Monday, July 30, 2018

A Pocket Caroler!


A Pocket Caroler, and a Short History of the Chapbook. 


Production shot of "A Pocket Caroler"


A Short Introductory Video.  
 No, it's not professionally made.  But I like the German Carol in the background....




Introducing my first Chapbook, "A Pocket Caroler".  This is a new direction for the Paper Wren, which is now a "Private Press", having stepped away from the clatter, white noise and fad-chasing which has come to almost define  what is called "21st Century Letterpress".  Myself a print traditionalist who cares more for his ancient presses than whether a client gets a deep enough deboss, a Luddite at heart, I decided to turn the presses at the Paper Wren loose on what they were designed for.  The printing of letters.  Words.  Pages.  This is what identified Letterpress for over 500 years.  Why should it not do so now?

A little about the Chapbook:
chap·book
ˈCHapˌbo͝ok/
noun
historical
plural noun: chapbooks
  1. a small pamphlet containing tales, ballads, or tracts, sold by peddlers.
    • North American
      a small paperback booklet, typically containing poems or fiction.
Firstly, it is indeed called a "Chapbook", which by tradition is a smallish publication, hard or paper bound, usually no more than 48 or so face pages, single signature, folded in the middle and either pamphlet bound or saddle stitched. Often, little more than a pamphlet.  Early in their evolution, the Chapbook was the venue for inexpensive childrens books and for short story/ poetry publications.  They were very inexpensive, relatively, to print and because of their limited production, more attention could be paid to the design aspects of these publications, something attractive to aspiring authors who had not the funding for large scale book publication.
Chapbooks were known for their simple, almost primitive styling, especially their early woodcut illustrations, often tipped into the text block after the text printing and binding.  They were locally made, which meant that the printer and type compositor pretty much worked closely with the author and their own resources and skill levels which reveal themselves in these early Chapbooks.

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Yup.  Jack the Giant Killer (Jack and the Bean Stalk) began life as a simple, almost primitive Chapbook.

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 An example of a very late 17th century childrens' Chapbook, during the era of Queen Anne of Great Britain.
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A classic hard bound, block illustrated childrens' book in chapbook format.  Some of these early chapbooks were actually multiple octavo signature books!  But still, cheap and small.
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As printing machines and techniques improved with the mid 19th century industrial revolution, the quality of the Chapbook improved. Novels began to appear in Chapbook format, as did sonnets and Shakespeare selections.  Unknown authors and poets could introduce themselves to the public via the Chapbook, which by the 1870s could be a surprisingly impressive publication.  

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An example of a relatively not-so-simple hardbound Chapbook classic of 1855, Leaves of Grass, complete with Carte d'Vista photo.  In 1855, this was an actual photo that was tipped into the book.  Technology was advancing.


An assortment of late 18th and early to mid 19th century chapbooks which became less children-centric and began to appeal to adults in the form of short novels and news documentaries.

The Private Press movement of the latter 1800s and early 1900s produced a proliferation of Chapbook publications in a bewildering assortment of sizes, and topics, all of which were printed mostly for the enjoyment of the author and the printer.  And.... often.... the public.  At the height of the Private Press movement, many of these publications began to acquire an audience, and became collectible.  One example are the Roycrofters' "Little Leather Library" series which were originally printed out of East Aurora New York by subscription only, later advertizing in National Geographic and other national magazines.

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Private press chapbooks of the late 19th, and early to mid 20th centuries printed by private, and often basement or underground presses.

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While the Chapbook faded from popular use in the United States, in Europe they continued popularity.  Often, larger books used Chapbooks to tease their release by the publication of the first chapter of the larger book.  England and Germany continued with small private press printings of Chapbooks, as well as corporate involvement  from major Verlags and Buchandlungen, as an example, in Germany.

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Chapbooks from the private press Niche, some belonging to the various Ajay (or "A.J.", or Amateur Jounalist) organizations and printing societies such as the APA (Amalgamated Printers Assoc.), the AAPA (American Amateur Press Association), NAPA (National Amateur Press Association)

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Chapbook publication is just starting to become popular again in the United States, with some colleges offering Chapbook Awards for graduate literature students, and as well private poetry organizations  have started to seek out these sorts of publications for their members to have their work in print.  Some are already achieving collectable status, with surprising auction prices. 

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An example of some of the more modern Chapbooks.  Note the five station pamphlet stitching!  These books are still hand bound.

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As for my most recent attempt at wandering into the world of the Chapbook, I have indeed enjoyed every step of the process.  In a later installment... and as I can get the photos off my Iphone, I'll share the various stages of the printing of my own chapbook, "A Pocket Caroler".  Until then, enjoy the video.

If you wish to reach me about the upcoming availability of "A Pocket Caroler" and would like one for yourself, please e-mail me at paperwrenpress@gmail.com

For further reading on the subject of chapbooks, I've provided some links you may wish to peruse.








I would like to call special attention to the above link to St. Brigid Press.  I am a friend of the owner, Emily Hancock, who's press operation is located in the mountains of Virginia.  Emily is using a press that I restored a few years back, a 1909 Pearl Old Series Model 3, a very sweet treadle press with a great publishing legacy.  Peruse her site, check out the extraordinary high level of fine printing she executes.  She has been an inspiration to me personally, as I model my own shop more or less, in a much smaller scale, after St. Brigid.

Thanks again, Emily.  You get a Caroler !!


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Mission Accomplished! Installment Nr. 7

Worship in Berlin!
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Lubna and Cindy.

Berlin needs Jesus.  Just like Orlando, Florida.  Just like Atlanta, Georgia or New York City or San Fransisco. However, Berlin, and by extension all Germany, has a history that is overwhelming, and so much different than America.  What Berliners had to overcome in living memory cannot be fathomed by folks here in the U.S.  Much as I would love to delve into German history, I won't.  You can read it easy enough on line.  Suffice to say, Berlin needs Jesus, Who loves them enough to die for them.
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Jesus uses His Word and His Saints to awaken, and to disciple.  He uses people who love, who care, and most of all, who understand and are willing to share and partake.  To walk in Berliner shoes.  To "laden ein Bier ein" (share a beer with).  To come along side, to support.  To encourage.  We all do, really.  Berliners are just like everybody else. This was why I was curious about the Hillsong Church, which we visited one Sunday!
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It's called the B/C (Berlin Connect) Home.   The card and literature say "Welcome Home", which could be the name they use, but Googling shows a "parent name" of Berlin Connect.  Funny.... nobody there actually referred to it by name, and I didn't think to ask "Hey Duda, was nannt Mann diesen Ort??"  (Hey, you there, what do ya call this place?)

They meet in a large "Kino", a multiplex Cinema, located by the KulturBrauerei, Schönhauser Allee 36.  It was an awesome place, and I had one of the best worship experiences I have had in years!  It backed a large, cobblestone courtyard the size of a soccer field, which had food trucks parked for use after the service.  About fifteen foodies, in fact!  With food from all around the world.  I had.... ahem.... German.  Sorry.  I didn't come to Berlin to eat Korean.






Lots and lots of food.  Lots and lots of people.  Oh, of course many just came in off the surrounding streets to grab lunch, but how neat was it to be at the back door of your church, where as soon as you are done with engaging with the Saints of Light, you get to engage the folks auf der Straße, on the street, immediately!
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During the worship itself, the singing, the praising  .... I watched in amazement.  People dancing in the pews.  Ok, theatre seating.  They were dancing!    That's what I wanted to see.  Germans dancing before their Lord and King. Do you know how amazing that is to see Berliners dancing in the pews?  Trust me on this one.
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And here we Ami's sat, stiff as a board.  I wanted to run over with them and just... dance.  I wanted to dance for my mother.  I wanted to dance for my Uncle Kurt.  I wanted to dance for my Grandmother and Grandfather Klöpfer, who lost everything near and dear.   I wanted to dance for the atheists in my family who lost all faith and hope, replacing it with cynicism. I wanted to dance in the aisles with fellow Saints of Light.

It was not a packed house, but there were a sizable number there.  There was a Hillsong Band that played up front, and some really great vocalists.  They came from Germany, from Austria, the pastor himself is from Australia.  The guest speaker came from Britain.  The congregation is total einwohner Berliner, peppered with various ex-pats, from what I could tell in my one and only visit.
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It was too dark inside to take candid shots, I wish I could have made a video of the service, the band, and the worship songs which were epic.  The message themed on the value and worth of a person in the eyes of God.  It was one that I believe keyed into the thought-world of most millennial generation Berliners.  It keyed into the identity of the believer.  It may not have been a favourite theme for R.C. Sproul or John MacArthur, but I think it spoke to Berliners right where they are at.  It spoke of the fulfillment that only the Father of Lights is able to provide.  We don't have to go looking for love in all the wrong places!
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The take-away from the message that morning was familiar: everyone has a God-shaped hole in their person, their being, that only the Father can fill.  But we try to fill it with everything else.  Working in the "Gay Triangle", I sure cannot argue with the theology in this message.  It looms large in my life, and I suspect, everyone else's.  
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I did manage to get a couple videos of the entry area where folks are met by greeters, and where they meet each other.  It's the Multiplex food concession area.  It was neat to simply kibitz the area!
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Sorry for the lack of editing. I just sorta panned the 
area while waiting for the rest of the group!  You might
have noticed the top photo was taken between these
two videos.
 

The "Welcome Home" Berlin Connect church has a specific three point ministry.  
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1. "Envision", which speaks to the worship service on Sunday itself, which is amazing, and yes, "envisioning", as I hope you might conclude based upon the above narrative.   
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2. "Enlarge", which speaks to core development of the Church Community itself, and I get that.  You can never, EVER, in a million years have an effective outreach unless you have excellent inreach.  We miss that in main line "Evangelica" here in the states because, whether cognizant of it or not, we have overwritten Business Culture into our Churches.... which is why we rely so much on selling people on the Gospel, we train sales techniques, we try to attract people to 'buy our wares'.  Marketing the Gospel.  We make it sound sooo valid by using the Corporate Business term: Outward Focused.  "We are all-in", another business term that comes right out of the corporate think-tanks!  We are so, so commercially oriented, I don't think we realise it.  But if we do something novel, like rely on the Holy Spirit to draw and to call, and focus on the open Word, and love one for another within, then maybe those on the outside looking in may say what Josephus once quoted:  

"Oh, how they love one another!"   Nothing is more attractive than that.
Now, where was I?  Oh, yeah....
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3. "Engage".  This is where they take it to the street, that is, they engage the community in the "Alltage", the "Everyday".  The one on one.  Making relationships, making friends.  Enjoying their fellow "Einwohner".

I want to share this paragraph, which is found in the "Welcome" brochure:


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If any of this peaques your interest, look up:

Berlin Connect
Welcome Home
(Kino in der KultureBrauerei)
Schoenhauser Alle 36.  10435, Berlin

Did I just do a commercial thing and advertise a church?  (sigh!) 

Hey, gang, I have to wrap this up here.  I can go on and on, but time and space is limited.  Let me part by asking you, dear Saint, to pray for revival in Germany.  Maybe it can start at Hauptstadt Berlin!  The Capital City Berlin !

Tschüß!


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Berlin Wheels! Installment Nr. 6

 Berlin Wheels!

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After reading the last installment, you probably have a pretty good idea about the U-Bahn and the culture that surrounds it.  Mass transit rail has been a part of Berlin for well over a century.  The closest city in the U.S. that I can find that has the same selection of above and below ground rail is San Fransisco. 
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But what about personal transportation? 
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Europe has had to deal with urban societies for about a millennium.   So many people have lived and died in Europe that burial plots are stacked.  Roads, even urban Berlin roads, can be comparably narrow.  Smaller vehicles have always been the order of the day.  In the U.S., where we have become accustomed to the wide open spaces and long driving distances, we have become used to large vehicles, pick-up trucks, SUVs, 15-20 gallon fuel tanks and "cheap" petrol.  Well... cheap compared to Europe, anyway.  Most folks in Europe live in or very near cities, distances are much shorter, and petrol is about twice what it is in the States. Apart from the Autobahn, in-town driving, available parking, and price for those precious Parkplätze, which can be quite dear, -oops.  I meant 'expensive' - have since the early days of the automobile kept Euro cars small and nimble.
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Berlin itself has over four million Einwohnern, or Inhabitants, residents.  Approximately 500.000 (five hundred thousand - one eighth of the city!) uses the "Fahrrad", or the bicycle, as primary transport apart from mass transit.  It is one of the most heavily bicycled cities in the world.  I saw lots and lots and lots of bicycles, of many different types.  Next to that comes the Motorroller, the motor scooter, like the Vespa.  Then the Motorrad, the motor cycle.  Then the automobile, predictably the smaller, Fiat-sized compacts.  The largest personal automobile that I saw was a 1991 Volvo 240 wagon.  Next, maybe a smallish Rolls (that I've never seen before.)
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Hmm... not your typical Eurozone urbanite Auto, but a pretty neat looking Rolls, I must admit.  But hey, did you note the street?  This is Wesselerstraße, that takes you to the big downtown drag, Kurfürstendamm!  Two cars can barely squeeze by if they meet.  It gets wider in some areas but not by much.  As you approach downtown, about two blocks up, it gets tolerably wide, but man!  One block in from the main downtown drag and you are on a barely two lane brick road with cobblestone sidewalks, my friend.  And in the case of our street, right smack dab in the middle is... a U-Bahn Station entrance-way!  A Ford F-150 or even a Ranger would be doing a whole lotta narrow misses here, gang!  Best bet?
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Something more like this.  How many college students can you fit into this baby?  I think it's a Renault.  Remember the "Le Car"?  Try "Le What-happened-to-my-front-end?"
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Aww!  It's a li'l "Smart-Car"!  I think it's owner chains it to that bike rack thingie right there.  Lot's of these guys buzzing around.
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This, however, is the usual Bicycle fare.  They are pretty heavy, these bikes.  Not long distance tourers by U.S. bike-geek standards, but they typify what a large percentage of Berliners use to get from point A to point B and back again.
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Then, there are the modified variants. You see these three wheel bucket bikes a lot, with the bucket either before or behind the driver.  See if you can figure out how they steer these things!
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 Here's a front view.  This particular vehicle interested me.  I have seen these buckets converted into baby-carriers, too!  Watched a guy hit a curb with a tow-version, with baby in the back.  Kid bounced up, then back down, out of sight, into the bucket - giggling and laughing all the way.  Cool ride.  Check out the Yamaha behind it there in the background.
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Here it is, the Berlin "Triple Crown"!  Baby carrier, Euro Velo (the bike), and a Mini Cooper.  That spells personal transit.  Oh, and while I'm looking at this photo, notice that part of the sidewalk has pavers, the side nearest the street is cobble stone.  When you see a divided sidewalk like these - and most are - know that the left side is the domain of bicyclers.  You walk on the right, and mind those bikes.  They may or may not mind you!  It's part of the commuting route, just sayin'  In some cases the bike side is painted, I think it depends upon the sidewalk itself.
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This bike caught my attention.  White wheels, typical here.  The colours interested me.  What a nice set of wheels to enjoy a sunny afternoon, amidst the fallen leaves of Autumn.
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This is a double decker bike rack.  I believe the top portion rolls out and drops.  This is where you stow your bike in Pankow if you ride it to the U-Bahn station to catch the rail to work.  As, obviously, many do.
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Never seen one of these scooters before!  You can prolly guess where the petrol goes.  Oh, and how much is petrol here?  The Aral station sign  read 1,19E per Liter.  So, figure 1 Euro roughly equals $1.25.  About four litres to a gallon.  Roughly five dollars per gallon.  Still wanna drive that big V-8 pickemup all around town?
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Now, this is more my style in-town cruisin'!  These scooters all fall under the general catagory of "Motoroller" (no, not Motorola.  They make VHF/ UHF radio equipment... I think.)  This particular specimen is not a Vespa, although it has the lines of the old Lambretta Vespas.  I forget what the name was.... maybe you can enlarge this photo and find it on the rear fender there.  

The virtues of the Motorroller are probably pretty obvious. 1: you have better range in a shorter period of time. 2: small footprint. 3: a little bit of protection from road splatter. 4: great on petrol. 6: you blend in with the scenery.  7: they are just plain awesome just setting there.  It's like they kinda flirt with you when you walk by.  I wonder if the their owners know that?
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Ok, so rather than narrate each photo, I'll just share with you some shots of rides that caught my attention, and made me think "Hmm... if I lived here permanently, I think I'd like one of those!

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And, of course, the rather unconventional wheels:  The downtown Onmibus which, I think, is actually more a Tourismus thing.


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Last, but certainly not least, is my favourite foodie-wagon, which is actually a "Lastwagen", a truck.  It was part of the food concession in the courtyard behind the theatre where Hillsong Church Berlin meets.  These are rare, but really cool to see when they show up.  How can you resist the running boards and radiator-cap thermometre? 

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Ok, thanks for riding along with Installment Nr. 6!  I hope it's been fun.  What is the point here?  

Einfach Spaß!   Fun!  Purely and simply.

Stay tuned for the next installment, Nr 7.

Tschüß!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Mission Accomplished, Installment Nr. 5

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Ok, so after looking through my photos to see where we go next in our exploration of the "Berlinersphere", we find ourselves taking a ride on "die Untergrundbahn", also known as...
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Die U-Bahn!
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Our residence was in the north by northeast former East Berlin burg of Pankow.  We worked in beautiful downtown Schöneberg, only a five minute walk from Kurfürstendamm, known locally as "Ku-damm".  This meant that we had a half hour commute each morning around 7:30 am, and came home after sunset, around 7pm.
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  This is what we had to get familiar with.  If you can spot the red "U2" label, that's Pankow, which is the U2's endstation.  We take that red line past all seventeen stops to Nollendorf Platz.  Then we "umsteigen", or transfer over to the U4 (yellow), and go one stop to Viktoria-Luise platz.  When we arrive, we climb about thirty stairs and emerge smack in the middle of Motzstraße, where the Lighthouse is.  In fact, it is directly in front of the Lighthouse.  How convenient is that??  At the end of the day, reverse direction.   Next day, repeat.  Of course, sometimes we would go to a local stube for dinner.
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You couldn't get more convenient.  This photo is the view from the front door of the Lighthouse.  Three of our group are already waiting for us to head out.  The stairway begins immediately under that blue "U" sign.
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Food for thought.  A lot of 80's bands were named after Berlin places.  One that comes to mind is Spandau Ballet.  While in Berlin, I would see all sorts of names, and suddenly 80s bands would come to mind.  Could it be that U2 was named after the Pankow U-Bahn, the U2?   Inquiring minds want to know.
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Each station has it's own personality.  They are spotlessly clean.  Some are larger than others because several rails may connect, such as Potsdammer Platz or Stadtmitte.  Some are small, like Spittelmarkt or our own little Viktoria Luise Platz.  The walls of each station are used like a canvas upon which each station is individually and differently decorated, some having a historical motif, featuring posters of trams and U-Bahn rail cars of the past (the Berlin Untergrundbahn, or 'U-Bahn', was installed in 1900!).  Others feature Theatre posters, some show the sights, the "Sehenswurdigkeiten" of that particular Borough.  Like New York, Berlin is divided into individual Boroughs, each having a personality of their own.
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Our little U4 station featured outsized posters of local artists' photography. 
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The walls of the Viktoria-Luise-Platz "Haltestelle", or "stopping place".  The tile design serves as a perfect frame for these posters!  You might notice that while there is spray-paint graffiti all over the city, there are none in the U-Bahn Haltestellen.  Apparently the city draws the line there!
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This is only a sample of the "photo exhibit", along the east-bound track of the U4.  There are about eight more posters on the west-bound track.  
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So, just how busy are these rails in a city of four million?   Surprisingly, quite manageable!  Sometimes it's standing room only, but often you can find a seat, especially after an exchange station, where passengers "umsteigen", or change rails.  I was actually rather surprised to find older folks are still being offered seating by younger riders, getting up and motioning them to sit down.  "Kommal, setz dich hier!"   Oh, for you German linguists or students :  yes, I used the "du" 2nd person personal pronoun form.  I was amazed how folks used the informal pronoun on the street with strangers.  The only time I "Siezen-d", (use of the formal 2nd person personal pronoun) was with either a waiter or waitress, or a store employee or anybody behind a concession or table (Kasse).  On the streets of Berlin, it's "du".   
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There is another thing a rider of any mass transit "Fahrzeug", or vehicle, must observe: before you get on (einsteigen), you wait until everybody gets off (aussteigen).  If you try to push your way on board, you will be met by aussteigers telling you to wait your turn.  Oh, and don't try to push through anyway.  Berliners are a reserved but pleasant lot.... but don't piss 'em off.  You ain't in New York, homeboy!  Nobody respects a dis-respecter.  Especially here in Berlin.  
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Also, when it comes to the U-Bahn: move fast.  Don't run, just don't dilly dally!!  Those doors close automatically and they have NO SAFETY!  It will shut on your arm or leg, trust me.  Someone from the inside has to push the green button to open the door again... and they will... but whether you get pulled in or pushed off depends on whether there's room in the car.  So, MOVE, as soon as everyone gets off.  Oh, and yes, I had a door close on me.  Have that happen once, and chances are it will not happen again.  I was admitted into the car, btw.  They felt sorry for the verrükter Amerikaner, methinks.
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Well... maybe more folks wait for the U-Bahn than this, usually.  But after 7pm, it's not unusual at a smaller stop to find maybe six or so other people.  This is Anna, Cindy, Zac, and intern Kelly after a long day.  Facing a long ride.  We are at the U4 Viktoria-Luise-Platz stop awaiting the eastbound to Nollendorf Platz, and from there, the Pankow U2.
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 The U-Bahn arrives!  These are insanely clean, very efficient rails.  They conduct their power from a power strip that runs along the left rail, not a "third rail" as most do in the U.S.  They are not, however, "ultra-modern".  They don't need to be!  All they need to be is on-time, quiet, and reliable.  They are.  Even during Hurricane (Orkan) Xavier on 5 Oct, these rails ran after all surface transport was knocked out!
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Any foreigner or non German speaker will leave Berlin knowing instinctively at least two phrases: "Aussteigen Bitte!" (exit, please!) and "zurück bleiben, bitte!" (stand back, please!)  The video above was a late-nighter.  I would not have shot this video, otherwise.  The fella by the door is, I think, a service worker, but not a "Bahnbeamter", or rail employee.  
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Ok, I mentioned how the stations are generally not super-crowded, and I mentioned Hurricane (Orkan) Xavier.  Here is a shot of the Stadtmitte (I think) station during the hurricane, when we all ran down into the "tube" to catch a rail out of there!   Heh, no go.  It was ten-bodies deep, and this station, built to hold... what... maybe a thousand people?   I would say we had three times that much that afternoon and evening.  ALL surface transit, all taxis, all rentals were out of commission or booked.  It was one insane evening.  In fact, one U-Bahn station caught fire (the next day, not a crowded station), forcing the evacuation of our particular train, and of the whole station.  It was caused by an overload caused by a short, which was in turn caused by a fallen monster tree.  Google "Storm Xavier", and check out the Wikipedia report.  It was just put up a couple days ago!  Oh, and if you do, you might see the Brandenburger Tor (they change out the photos every other day, apparently).  That little cluster of people there?  Heh... that's us.
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Wow.  Just looking at this photo brings back how lost in the shuffle we were, but it was an orderly crowd!  The trains that arrived were just as packed as this station, but still, people waited for the train passengers to disembark, before they entered.  For every one person that got off, one person got on.  We soon realized that we would be here for hours at this rate.  This is where Kelly, Lighthouse intern extraordinaire, had a stroke of genius!  Since she had a few more weeks of experience on the U-Bahn than we, she suggested we take a train in the opposite direction.  Then we might get off at a less crowded station, and maybe pick up the train going the other direction, our direction, with less people on board.  We did, and it worked!  Thanks, Kelly!!
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I noticed that there was a way you composed yourself on the U-Bahn.  Yeah, call it a U-Bahn study.  One thing, everybody more or less avoided eye contact.  Usually, eyes were looking down.  Usually at a Handy (cell phone) or a tablet or a book or some other reading material.  The car is absolutely quiet save for the announcements and the sound of the rail itself.  Same goes for the station.  If you hear loud talking, it's probably tourists.  The only time I ever saw anybody looking at anyone else was if they were talking to a friend or a family member.  Friends usually came on board together, or if they met on board, they stood right next to each other.  Conversation was never loud.  Always a bit below normal convo level.  Kids were very well behaved, no kids ran around.  Dogs?  Yes, they are allowed aboard.  And they were exceptionally well behaved!  In fact... it was sorta scary how well behaved they were.  They looked down, too.  Unless they were listening to their master or mistress.  Otherwise they were also looking at their Handys.
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I got a pretty good idea of what Berlin Footwear was all about.  Hmm... maybe I'll swing by Salamander or maybe some shoe store at KaDeWe or Mall of Berlin and get a pair of those cool slip-on runners!  That way I can just slip 'em off when we get home instead of having to stoop down to untie.  You don't wear shoes in German homes.  Off they come.  If it's your home, you have house shoes waiting for you just inside the door!  I noted that loafers and slip-ons were quite popular.  Do tell!
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Not all U-Bahn stops are underground.  Some are street level, and some rails are actually elevated as high as 30 meters in the air!  But for the most part, they are indeed underground.  This is... I think... the Potsdammer Platz station.  You can see that it's an elevated platform.
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Well, after seventeen stops, here we are at Pankow Endstation!  From here we either catch the S-22 bus and ride a block to our Wohnung (Apartment), or if it's a nice evening, we will walk.  Most Germans would opt for the walk.  Spaziergehen, they would call it.  No real English translation.  Walking is an art, in Berlin.  In fact, all Germany.
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So are stairs.   Just sayin'.
The Point.
So, why do I post these Berlin/ German cultural posts, even though we were on a specific mission to work with Syrian Refugees?  Well, I'll divulge.  I had another reason for coming, in addition to the prime directive.  I wanted to get a feel of the German Evangelical landscape.  I wanted to get a feel for the Gospel in Germany among Germans.  We are talking about a country of eighty-million, with a mere six per-cent "Christian" demographic which many of the national pastors and the Campus Crusade folks believe to be, in reality, less than one percent.  That 6% figure represents those who admit to a belief, but is largely a cultural-traditional adherence and identification.  Even in my mother's family, to be German is to be Lutheran.  When I was saved in the U.S., in at St. Andrews Methodist Church, it was taken by mum as abandoning my German heritage.  I was told by my mum that I had become one of those "Holy-Rrrollers" (roll the 'r'). 
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I have a burden for the German People.  But to reach a People, one must know them, become familiar with them, and be able to communicate with them.  I did a little of all three, and I made, as I could and had time, some great connects.  
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I had, on one Sunday, the unbelievable joy of watching Berliners dancing in the aisles of the Hillsong Church.  That's what I long to see. 
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German People, dancing before the Lord.
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It was so awesome to see the Syrian/ Palestinian/ Lebanese regional refugees coming to discover, to inquire, who this Jesus is that motivated us to help a people we don't even know.  It was a privilege to enter into their world, even for a short time. It was awesome to see Germans helping in that work.  It was great to witness the Holy Spirit using His choice tools of the Word and the Prepared and obedient Saints, to work effectively toward a harvest.
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Scripture exhorts the Saint to be prepared to give a response for the hope they have in Jesus.  We are advised to be ready for use by the Holy Spirit. I believe this to be the choice tool of the Holy Spirit, Who changes the heart and reveals Jesus to the rebel.  It is twofold: the Word, and the prepared  Saint who is obedient to go wherever He calls them.  Jesus is He Who calls, cultures, Who reveals Himself - to those whom the Father gives Him; that's His ministry, to make a heart of flesh from a heart of stone.  That is the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  My job is simply to teach them, to love them, to make disciples of those whom He brings to my "door".  This is, to me, the heart and soul of Missions.  This is the Great Commission.
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These are my people. 
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Stay tuned.