Many congregations are not really digital – Theresa Bruckner is. The priest writes and talks about her faith on Instagram, YouTube and in her blog. And reaches tens of thousands of people. How does she do it?
Interviewer: Ms. Bruckner, blogging is an integral part of your work. How much of your time as a pastor goes to this digital work?
Theresa Bruckner (Protestant pastor in the Paulus church congregation in Berlin-Tempelhof, Youtuber and blogger): It's very different. Some days it's a couple of hours, depending on whether I'm editing a video or answering comments. On some other days, for church holidays, for example, I actually hardly spend any time on that.
Interviewer: You are also really successful with it. 13.000 followers on Instagram, just under 2.000 subscriptions on YouTube. Who do you reach with it?
Bruckner: It's very, very different. I asked that once on Instagram, and there are really people from 13 to 80 there. I always find that quite impressive. The people who write are also very different in age. But I think the majority is around my age, so between 25 and 35 years old.
Interviewer: You have received the award "The Golden Blogger" – Congratulations! On your channels, you also talk about difficult topics like discrimination, racism, sexism. What determines the choice of topics?
Bruckner: On the one hand, I look at what's going on in society and think about how the church needs to position itself at this point. On the other hand, I look at what is important to me in the context of proclamation and confession. Particularly in our day and age, we as a church and as Christians have to position ourselves very clearly. Then I choose these topics. And I talk about sexism all the time because it affects me regularly, too.
Interviewer: You definitely need a thick skin there too. Have you ever been attacked?
Bruckner: Yes, regularly. I also regularly get messages that as a woman I have no business being in the pastorate. That made me feel insecure at the beginning. Just the first one or two messages have really made me think a lot. But in the meantime I honestly don't care, because I know why I do this job and that it is more than a job, but at many points a vocation. And it's not dependent on gender at all.
Interviewer: You also talk quite openly about your personal ups and downs on these channels. How do you separate professional and private, or should you perhaps not do that at all??
Bruckner: I make a separation between private and personal. I report on personal things, but not things that I think are too private. Personal things are, for example, when I report about my son. But private is his name, for example, his face is also not visible. I also don't tell things that demonstrate it, but rather what being a mother does to me, what it also does to me to be fully employed or to have a child in the middle of cold season.
Interviewer: Your account is called "theresaliebt.". What exactly is behind this name?
Bruckner: In the beginning, I posted a lot about what I love and what I really enjoy doing. My faith is what I love, and the name fits accordingly. And then it's also really important to me to always be able to put out a lot of positive things. Of course I address topics that hurt. Sexism is not an ie that's kind of comfortable. But at the same time, I also want to encourage and strengthen, and to give love to the outside world.
The interview is conducted by Verena Troster.