Sunday, October 14, 2007

Day 9B: The Evangelical Church in town

One thing I forgot to mention in my previous post was that it was a Sunday. Being a Sunday, and realizing that we were going to be staying mostly in town that day (going to the eisenbahnmuseum), we decided to attend a church service that morning at the local evangelical state church. Grandma seemed pleased that we desired to go to church, and grandpa promptly asked his neighbours when the service times were.

Although they did not attend with us (to my knowledge, they are not believers), we had an enjoyable time nonetheless. Three things struck me about the church:

1. It is very much about community: unlike North America, German towns for the most part still close shops on Sundays. Therefore, at church service, you meet the local baker, the local shoe repairman, even local chinese food restaurant owners.

2. Though there are language barriers, Christians worship the same God, read the same Bible and believe in the same Saviour. At its most basic form, worship can be understood regardless of language. At this particular service, there was confirmation and an entire trumpet band perched secretly on the balcony to announce it! One's heart was overjoyed at the sound of the trumpets blasting throughout the sanctuary.

3. State churches create an interesting (though not necessarily healthy) dynamic. Toward the end of the service, some kids (who had obviously not been around earlier), came in, sat down and kindly asked if I was going to keep my bulletin. Puzzled at why they would want my bulletin, I said they could have it, and the boy thanked me profusely. It was only after did I realize that the kids went to get their bulletins stamped by the pastor. I wonder if it allowed them some sort of thing (free transit perhaps?) in return?

Comments regarding state funding of the churches also came up a few times in conversation with grandpa. In particular, there was some bewilderment as to why they still take offerings and donations in light of (big) state funding. As I said, it creates an interesting dynamic.

No comments: