Christ Church—Schwarzenborn. Christ Church celebrated its 20th anniversary on October 29th. The same weekend we also installed a new Presbyter from the Heidelberg area who intends to establish a REC Mission in southern Germany during our celebration. Rev. Kirchgeßner was a priest in the Old Catholic Church.
This year we decided to change our Christmas Eve tradition. In past years, we always spent Christmas Eve with Bishop Gerhard’s parents. Since his parents are both now with the Lord, we decided to celebrate this special evening with singles from the Church. The majority of our congregation is now single people. We will hold a Christmas Eve service in the chapel at 5pm. Then we will invite the singles into our home for a time of celebration together. We look forward to sharing this special day with our larger church family!
On Saturday in Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia, we met with one of our deacons and held a worship service. There were twelve in attendance, all of whom understood English. About half of them also understood German. On Sunday morning we participated in a church service in Tordinci, a small village in East Croatia. The congregation rebuild the church which looked similar damaged like the house you see on the right side. The service was very traditional. Gerhard’s (English) sermon was translated into Croatian.
On Sunday evening we took part in a service at the Church of the Good Shepherd in the city of Osijek, also in east Croatia. The congregation there is a more middle-aged group. Gerhard’s sermon was again translated into Croatian.
On Wednesday evening Mrs. Meyer led a women’s meeting at the church in Tordinci. Nineteen women were present and appeared to thoroughly enjoy themselves. A 70-year-old woman served as translator for Grace. The woman left Croatia when she was 27 and, after living in Germany for several years, she moved to the USA and Canada. She only recently returned to her home country. A time of fellowship with homemade snacks was enjoyed after the meeting.
On Thursday, Bishop Gerhard confirmed a couple in a village one-hour drive from Osijek. The Venerable Rev. Jasmin Milic preached the sermon. A number of people were present for the service first time and it seems this home may be the beginning of a new mission church.
The church in Belgrade is a gathering of very interesting people, some young students and a few older folk. They rent their chapel and share space with several other churches/ denominations. The rent was € 30 for the 2-hour service.
We did not see much of Belgrade since it was very foggy, and driving 2 ½ hours back to Croatia in the thick fog at night was very tiring. More pictures:
The following Sunday morning and evening we had two more services. The same evening Bp. Gerhard was invited along with the local pastor Rev. J. Milic to participate in an inter-religious theological debate at a Mosque. The Rev. Milic responded: “If we believe in Mohammed, we are not Christians anymore, but if you believe in Christ, you are not Muslims anymore.” Bischof Gerhard was asked to make a final statement after the Christian and Muslim theologians finished. Bp. Gerhard spoke in German and was translated into Croatian by a young man who lived the first ten years of his life in Germany. Afterwards at dinner, informal discussions continued about Christ and other questions of religious dogma.
As we drove through this town, Grace was taken back to the time shortly after World War II, when her parents first arrived in Germany as mission-aries. They too found many ruins, empty houses and primitive living conditions.
Driving back on Monday we passed through Hungary Slovenia and Czech Republic before arriving back in Germany. We stopped in Dresden for two days to take time to digest what we had seen and experienced in Croatia. We felt this was important before jumping back into the ministry at the Knuellcamp.
Please pray for the five mission churches and their young pastors, and especially for Rev. Jasmin Milic and his leadership, for the renovation of the old “Church of the Good Shepherd” in Osijek and for a team of young people to begin an English Camp in 2012 to reach young Croatians for Christ.
Wishing you a blessed Christmas & a Happy New Year!
REC Missionaries in Europe , Grace Meyer & Bp. Gerhard