“They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enables them.”

(Acts 2:3-4)

On the Sunday after Easter, I attended worship.  It was a wonderful experience.  It was my first time attending worship since the beginning of February.  Hearing the Word of God and the message of Christ’s victory over death brought a comfort that lasted for the days that followed, making my week much better than it otherwise it would have been.  Without a doubt, I participate in worship weekly, often multiple times every week.  However, as I do so, I am leading the worship.  It is a rare treat for me to be able to sit in a pew, hear the message of the Gospel proclaimed to me, and simply enjoy singing hymns with the rest of the people in church.

Pentecost stained-glass window from King of Kings Lutheran Church, Little Rock, AR. Designed and produced by Adam Zuleger

If you are living overseas as an expat or as a member of the military, regularly attending worship can be a real challenge.  You may have to go weeks or months without receiving communion due to where you live or to the job that you do.  Going through Catechism class the pastor impressed upon you the importance of attending worship regularly and properly preparing for and receiving Holy Communion.  However, you were probably not taught what to do if you don’t live within a day’s drive of a location at which you can receive Holy Communion, or if you live in a country without a congregation with which you share fellowship.

As we prepare to celebrate Pentecost, one of the great festivals of the Christian Church year, it is a good time to remind ourselves of how we became Christians in the first place and how our faith stays strong.  It is only by the work of the Holy Spirit that we came to faith.  Whether through baptism or the hearing of the Gospel, our faith is a God-given gift worked by the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

The work of the Holy Spirit takes place through the Gospel, no matter the context in which that Gospel is proclaimed.  It is through the Word and the Sacraments that our faith is strengthened.  The message of our forgiveness earned by Jesus brings comfort to us no matter where we are in the world or who happens to be around us.  This Gospel is effective as it is proclaimed in chapels on military bases.  It lifts the burdens of life from our shoulders when we have family devotions in our homes.  It gives us peace when we read the Word of God and are reminded that while we are not perfect, Jesus is perfect.  He lived the perfect life God demands of us and offered the perfect sacrifice to ensure we would be forgiven.

The crowds at Pentecost did not return to their respective homes in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Rome, etc., to find large congregations in which they had many others to join with in worship.  However, those new believers returned with hearts full of joy in the knowledge of forgiveness and filled with the faith that the Holy Spirit had worked within in them.  That same Holy Spirit has worked faith in your heart.  The Gospel feeds our faith and nourishes our souls.  It reminds us that we are not alone in this world.  It encourages us with the knowledge that when we feel overwhelmed in our lives, the almighty God is still with us and has promised to help us.

How, then, should we deal with the challenges of living away from churches or fellow Christians with whom we have fellowship?  The Book of Acts gives us a good outline of what to do.  Quality food nourishes our bodies, no matter how elaborate or simple the plate on which it is served.  So it is with the Gospel.  The message of our salvation in Jesus is powerful and comforting, no matter context in which it is proclaimed.  If you live near a location in which we regularly conduct worship in Europe, come join your fellow believers to hear the Gospel.  Watch services online if you are distant from regular worship locations.  Request a visit from the chaplain to receive Word and Sacrament.  Read the Bible and talk about it with your family.  Reach out to a friend who is having a difficult time and share with them the hope that you have in Christ.

During May we will celebrate both Ascension and Pentecost.  Why not make this the month that you read through the Book of Acts and see how the Holy Spirit worked in the lives of those early Christians who went home to small groups of believers?  Consider those lessons and apply them to your life as you live overseas.  Most importantly, remember that the same God who watched over those early believers is watching over you.  The same Jesus who died for them died also for you.  The very heaven in which those early believers now live is the home to which you will one day go as well.

Until you reach that heavenly home, look at the world in which you live and find those blessings God gives you every day as his redeemed child in Christ.  We are truly blessed to live under God’s grace.  Let us seek to be a blessing to others by sharing that Gospel and the grace it brings.

In Christ,

Pastor Weiss

“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were saved.”

(Acts 2:47)


European Catechism Class

Our final Catechism class for WELS children living in Europe was on Sunday, April 28.  One student from our class was confirmed on Easter Sunday in Heidelberg, Germany.  A second student will be confirmed in Spain in the near future.

As we look forward to starting Catechism class again this fall, I would ask those interested in having their children attend class contact me as soon as possible at [email protected] to plan ahead.  An official start date will be established in the near future, but having a general number of who will be in the class and where they live is very helpful.

In Christ,

Pastor Weiss


Fall Retreat 2024

We will hold our Fall Retreat on November 1-3 in Nürnberg.  Our place of lodging is the Jugendherberge Nürnberg, located in the old city city-center immediately adjacent to the Kaiserburg.  Further information on this will be distributed as the Fall Retreat approaches


Worship Time at Ramstein Air Base

Our worship time at the North Chapel at Ramstein is now 1500.  The reason for this change is the renovation work at Vogelweh Chapel, requiring a shift of worship times for the other chapels on base.  Please plan accordingly if you plan to join us for worship at Ramstein.

Worship Schedule for May 2024

  • May 5:  Stuttgart (1600)
  • May 12: Wicker (1100) Ramstein (1500)
  • May 16:  Munich (1830)
  • May 18:  Vilseck/Rose Barracks (1100)
  • May 19:  Zurich (1100)
  • May 26, 2024: Wicker (1100) Ramstein (1500)

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“A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them.  Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side.  Stop doubting and believe.”

(John 20:26-27)

Christ and St. Thomas by Andrea del Verrocchio Florence, Italy

Thomas doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead.  We can understand his doubt.  After following Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to the acclamation of the crowds, he must have struggled to understand how things could have changed so quickly.  Judas, one of his fellow disciples, came with Jesus’ enemies and betrayed him.  Thomas and the other disciples fled in the Garden of Gethsemane that night.  By the next morning, Jesus was undergoing terrible torture and was nailed to a cross.  He was dead by the evening, his body laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.

It must have seemed unbelievable.  It all happened so fast and, before Thomas knew it, Jesus was dead.  Now comes the report from the women on Sunday morning that Jesus’ tomb was empty.  Then the disciples report seeing and talking with him the same night the women found the tomb empty.  Finally, Thomas sees Jesus, himself.  It is really Jesus.  He still bears the scars of his torture and his execution.  He is alive and Thomas now sees that the reports of the resurrection are true.  Jesus had been alive all week, but Thomas could not believe the reports until he experienced it.

When Thomas does see Jesus again, Jesus’ message is simple:  “Stop doubting and believe.”  However, why should Thomas believe?  When people die, they don’t rise again from the dead.  When bodies are put in the grave, they don’t leave the grave.  So, why should Thomas have trusted that Jesus had risen from the dead?  He should have believed this to be true because it was the promise Jesus had given him.

We, too, struggle to trust in the promises of Jesus when we don’t see their fulfillment right away.  As members of the military move away from home and go overseas to serve our country, it is easy for them to feel alone.  When work is hard and we are doing our best but all we seem to receive in return is criticism, it can feel like Jesus is not there, as he promised (Matthew 28:20).  There are many temptations that come along with life in the military.  We read God’s promise to give us a way out of temptation (I Corinthians 10:13), but when we see how often and how easily we fall into temptation, we wonder if Jesus is really by our side to help us.

All of us go through periods of time in our lives when we doubt Jesus’ promises, just as Thomas did.  All of us have have situations in which we wish that we could believe in God’s promises and let those promises take our worries away, but sometimes it is such a struggle to do so.  It is for this very reason that we must go back time and time again to Jesus’ Word to see what he did for us, read his promises again, and let the Holy Spirit do its work through the Gospel.  Jesus told Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  The word translated “blessed” here (“makairos”) means “happy.”

When we go back time and again to read Jesus’ promise and remind ourselves that he has defeated death for us, he takes our fears and doubts away.  Like Thomas, we sometimes need that reminder to stop doubting and believe.  This text is your reminder.  Today is the day to read the Word of God.  He will work through that Word and bring you the comfort and assurance you seek.

In Christ,

Pastor Weiss

 

“‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)


Easter Retreat Update

We met in the city of Heidelberg, Germany, for our annual Easter Retreat from Thursday, March 28, through Sunday, March 31.  We celebrated Easter with a total of 53 people in attendance, which was a joy for all.  We are grateful for all of the volunteers who helped make this retreat happen and for all of the musicians who shared their talent with us to enhance the beauty of our worship as we praised our risen and living Savior.

We look forward to gathering together again in Nürnberg this fall.

In Christ,

Pastor Weiss


Fall Retreat 2024

We will hold our Fall Retreat on November 1-3 in Nürnberg.  Our place of lodging is the Jugendherberge Nürnberg, located in the old city city-center immediately adjacent to the Kaiserburg.  Further information on this will be distributed as the Fall Retreat approaches


Worship Time Change at Ramstein Air Base

Beginning on Palm Sunday, March 24, our worship time at the North Chapel at Ramstein changed from 1600 to 1500.  The reason for this change is the renovation work beginning at Vogelweh Chapel that requires a shifting of worship times for the other chapels on base.

Worship Schedule for April

  • April 7:  No Worship at Stuttgart on account of field visit
  • April 14: Wicker (0800) Ramstein (1500)
  • April 18, 2024:  Munich (1830)
  • April 20, 2024:  Vilseck/Rose Barracks (1100)
  • April 21, 2024:  Zurich (1100)
  • April 28, 2024: Wicker (1100) Ramstein (1500)

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“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”

(Jeremiah 29:11)

A challenge for many WELS members who live in Europe is how what worship looks like can suddenly change.  Depending on a person’s circumstances, while living in the U.S. an individual or family may be living in an area with numerous WELS congregations and have multiple worship opportunities every week.  There are opportunities to spend time with fellow believers and many ways to support one another as Christians.  Suddenly, orders come in that say that you will be living overseas for the next years and after what seems like a very short amount of time you are living in Europe.  Opportunities for worship are limited.  You can have church together with others perhaps twice a month at most or once every few months.

The Ishtar Gate of Babylon, Pergamon Museum, Berlin.  The gate was built by Nebuchadnezzar II and was in Babylon during the time of the Babylonian Captivity of the Jews.

The question is, how should we react as Christians when we face a situation like this, when the worship life we once participated in and enjoyed suddenly changes and we are in a new and unfamiliar environment?  We can learn much from the Holy Scriptures about this matter by looking at similar challenges for God’s people in the path and how God worked through these times.

The year 587/586 BC was a significant year in the history of God’s people.  The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed.  Life had been hard leading up to this point.  In 605 BC, some of Jerusalem’s elite were taken away into Exile.  You are surely familiar with some of their names:  Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego.  In 597 BC the Babylonians returned and took more people captive, including the prophet Ezekiel.  The Babylonians returned to Jerusalem 598 BC and Nebuchadnezzar II, King of Babylon, laid siege to the city.  After terrible thirty month siege, the city of Jerusalem fell and the Babylonians destroyed the Temple that had been built by Solomon centuries before.

Imagine the questions that must have gone through the minds of the people in Babylon.  God’s people had worshiped at the Jerusalem Temple for centuries.  Keep in mind that the Temple was the only place where sacrifices to the LORD could be offered.  What should God’s faithful do now?  How could they worship without the Temple?  When and where would the Books of Moses be read to the people?  We know that this was significant for the people of Judah.  The prophet Ezekiel was living in Babylon when the Temple was destroyed and he recorded the exact day that the first Jewish refugee arrived from Jerusalem and told the people in Babylon that the Temple was no more–the date was January 8, 585 BC.  Ezekiel writes, “In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month on the fifth day, a man who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, ‘The city has fallen!'” (Ezekiel 33:21).

That was a hard time for God’s people.  Being in exile in a foreign land and now their place of worship was destroyed, it could have been easy to give up hope.  Yet, there was hope for all who looked to the LORD.  A contemporary of the prophet Ezekiel was the prophet Jeremiah.  Through Jeremiah God had warned the Jews to turn back to him or he would send them into exile.  But he also promised that he would not forget their promise to send the Messiah from among their own people.

God promised the people that after 70 years in exile, the people would return (Jeremiah 25).  We know that in Babylon Daniel read this prophecy and found assurance in it (Daniel 9:2).  While living in exile, Daniel and the Jews went through many hardships and trials.  Yet, the promises of God remained secure and no matter what changed–even the destruction of the Temple–nothing changed God’s love for his people.  After the people returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the Temple, some cried when they saw how humble the new Temple was in comparison to Solomon’s Temple.  Yet, God promised that this Temple would be more glorious than the previous Temple.  What would make it more glorious?  The presence of Christ would be the source of its glory.  This second Temple would be the one where Jesus was brought forty days after his birth.  It was here that he would visit at the age of twelve during the Passover.  He would teach in the courtyards of the Temple during his ministry, including the week he died on the cross.  The presence of Jesus in worship is what makes worship special and glorious, no matter what the physical surroundings.

Living overseas while serving in the military can certainly bring challenges with the changes to worship life and challenges to your faith.  However, these challenges can be overcome.  Just as God had promised to deliver his people out of captivity from Babylon, so he has also made promises to you.  He has promised that his Word will always achieve the purpose for which he sends it (Isaiah 55:10-11).  He has promised that no one who trusts in him will be put to shame (Romans 10:11).  He has promised to hear our prayers and gives us the answer best for us (Matthew 7:7-11).  The list could go on, but the point is simple.  Being in the military and living overseas means dealing with changes and challenges.  It does not mean that God is not with you and it does not mean that your faith cannot grow during your time overseas.

The Gospel in Word and Sacrament is just as effective in a military chapel or private home as it is in large churches and packed sanctuaries back in the U.S.  What makes the difference is taking the time to use these means of grace that God has provided his church so that your faith continues to grow.  Attend worship services in person when you have the opportunity.  Watch services online when that opportunity is not present.  Take some time, especially during this season of Lent, to read the passion history of your Savior and contemplate all that he has done to earn heaven for you (Matthew ch. 21-28; Mark ch. 11-16; Luke ch.19-24; John ch.12-21).

Remember that God has a plan for you and your life.  Even as your life changes, his love for you never changes.  Just as God accomplished his will among his people when they could no longer worship at the Temple in Jerusalem, so he can strengthen your faith as you serve away from the church you grew up or surrounded by the people that you know.

As we approach Lent and see the great love Christ showed for us by suffering and dying to earn heaven for us, let us never forget the many promises God has made to us.  Let us also marvel at the promise he has kept: sending his Son to earn our forgiveness on the cross.

“When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:10-13)

In Christ,

Chaplain Robert Weiss

 

“‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty.  ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty.” (Haggai 2:9)


Easter Retreat – March 28-31 in Heidelberg

Our Easter retreat is quickly approaching and we would love to have you join us!  We will hold this year’s Easter retreat at the Jugendherberge Heidelberg International  from March 28 through Sunday, March 31.  Here is the general plan for the retreat:

Thursday, March 28

  • Dinner at the youth hostel
  • Maundy Thursday worship
  • Fellowship time at the youth hostel

Friday, March 29

  • Breakfast at the youth hostel
  • Bible study/kids activities
  • Lunch at the youth hostel
  • Free time to explore Heidelberg
  • Dinner at the youth hostel
  • Good Friday worship service
  • Fellowship time

Saturday, March 30

  • Breakfast at the youth hostel
  • Bible Study/kids activities
  • Lunch at the youth hostel
  • Free time to explore Heidelberg
  • Dinner together at a local restaurant
  • Fellowship time together after dinner

Sunday, March 31

  • Breakfast at the youth hostel
  • Easter Sunday worship service
  • Group Picture
  • Depart for home

The address for the Jugendherberge Heidelberg International is: Tiergartenstraße 5, 69120 Heidelberg.  The website for the Jungenherberge is: www.jugendherberge.de/en/youth-hostels/heidelberg/.

Here is the link for the registration form to sign up for the retreat: https://gf.wels.net/wels-europe-easter-retreat/

The Easter Retreat is wonderful opportunity for all of us to gather for worship and fellowship and we hope to see you there!

In Christ,

Pastor Weiss


Fall Retreat 2024

We will hold our Fall Retreat on November 1-3 in Nürnberg.  Our place of lodging is the Jugendherberge Nürnberg, located in the old city city-center immediately adjacent to the Kaiserburg.  Further information on this will be distributed as the Fall Retreat approaches


Regular Worship at Stuttgart

We are now holding worship services at Robinson Chapel on the first Sunday of the month at 4:00 pm.  Thank you to all of the WELS military members at Stuttgart who facilitated the start of regular worship services at Stuttgart.  We are also grateful to the chaplains at USAG Stuttgart for their help.

ELFK Winter Pastors Conference

Pastor Weiss attended the winter pastors conference of the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church (ELFK).  All of the pastors in attendance were very welcoming and it was a joy for Pastor Weiss to study and worship with our sister synod in Germany.  While there he was able to give a report to the pastors of the synod on his work in Europe as well as study together with those in attendance.  Topics of study included a portion of Isaiah in Hebrew and C.F.W. Walther’s Law and Gospel.

If you are traveling in the area where the ELFK has congregations and would like to visit, please contact either Pastor Weiss or one of the ELFK pastors directly.  For more information on the ELFK and where they offer worship services, please visit their website: https://elfk.de/


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“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?  We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

(Matthew 2:2)

The visit of the Magi shortly after the birth of Jesus is an account that is well-known to us.  Every Christmas we decorate our homes and our churches with nativity scenes that normally include the Magi from the east.  We know this account well, but we do not know a great deal about who the Magi were.  The Holy Scriptures do not reveal to us where the Magi came from, what their names were, or even how many Magi arrived to worship the child Jesus.  Despite the many things we do not know about the Magi from the East, what we do know is this:  they recognized the glory of God’s Son.

Chapel of the Magi, Florence, Italy

Epiphany reveals to us the glory of God’s Son.  At Christmas we recognize and celebrate the fact that God’s Son became a true human being, just like you and me.  The season of Epiphany focuses on the fact that the child born in Bethlehem was more than just a human being.  He was and is the eternal Son of God.  This season begins each year on January 6, and the Gospel reading for this day is Matthew 2:1-12–the visit of the Magi.

The texts read in church during Epiphany show us the deity of Jesus.  They focus on his powerful teaching, his miracles, his ability to know the hearts of others, and the occasions when the Father spoke from heaven to declare that Jesus is his Son, whom he loves.  As Christians, we know and cherish this portion of Jesus life.  They remind us of both the great power our Lord exercises in this world and the fact that he uses his divine power for the good of his people.

Yet, during Epiphany, we should also be cautious that we do not apply our own standards of glory to Christ and, by doing so, miss the true glory that if found in our Savior.  This is not to say that certain aspects of Jesus’ glory were not glorious according to human standards.  The raising of Lazarus from the dead; feeding the five thousand; walking on water; healing a paralyzed man so that he could walk and carry his mat home; all of these miracles show the power of Jesus and are signs that point to him as the promised Messiah.  They are also events in the life of Christ that are glorious in the eyes of human beings.

This brings us back to the question at the start of this devotion:  What did the Magi think when they finally found the newborn king whom they were seeking?  When they first came to Judea, they went to the logical place to find a newborn king.  They went to the capital of the province and talked with the current king.  Yet, the glory of the newborn king was not found in the capital city of Jerusalem.  It was not found in a king’s palace.  It was to be found in a small child who was just a few kilometers south of Jerusalem in the town of Bethlehem.  The actions of the Magi show us they recognized the true glory of Christ.  It is not a glory that is seen with the eyes of the body, but only with the eyes of faith.  Matthew records for us, “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.”  (Matthew 2:11)

Jesus was just a child at this point.  By earthly standards, King Herod was far more glorious.  Over the course of his political career he had done business with Caesar Augustus, Marc Antony, and Cleopatra.  He had expanded the Temple Mount and been rebuilding the Jerusalem Temple into a large and glorious structure (cf. Matthew 24:1).  Along the coast, at Caearea Maritima, he used the new Roman construction medium of underwater concrete to build a harbor.  Across his kingdom were numerous palaces and fortresses, including the Herodium located just down the road from Bethlehem, where Herod would be buried.  And yet, just down the road from where Herod would be buried, was born someone who is worshiped every day.  Herod’s kingdom is gone.  His grand fortresses and palaces have long crumbled.  But the kingdom of that little boy the Magi found is still as strong and majestic as it has always been.

Which kingdom was more glorious–the kingdom of Herod or the kingdom of Jesus?  Clearly, we would answer the latter, but that glory is only seen by the eyes of faith.  We saw this faith in the Wise Men.  When the Magi bowed down and worshiped Jesus, how many people were there worshiping him?  Three?  Five? A few more?  It didn’t matter to the Wise Men that the worship took place in a house rather than the Temple in Jerusalem.  The number of people at the worship event was unimportant.  All that mattered to the Wise Men was that they had the chance to spend time with the king who had come to be their Savior.

The Jesus we worship is the same Jesus whom the Magi sought and worshiped.  We must be on our guard that we do not let the glory seen with the eyes overshadow the glory that is seen through faith.  For those of you living overseas, whether you are in the military members, contractors working with the military, or expats living in Europe, it can become easy to miss the worship opportunities you had back home.  Living overseas probably means worship looks very different than it did back in the U.S.  There are probably far fewer people at the worship services.  The worship location may not be large and beautiful.  There may be no big events following the worship service and after hearing the Gospel and receiving Holy Communion, you and your fellow worshipers may leave and go your separate ways, as the journey home may take some time.  Despite these differences from our worship back in the U.S. there is just as much glory in a small, discreet worship service in a home or base chapel as there is in a large sanctuary filled with worshipers.  What makes the difference and what brings the glory is the presence of Christ.

That quiet glory of time with the King that was so precious to the Magi is yours every time you gather with your fellow believers around Word and Sacrament.  Perhaps you gather with fellow believers to worship Jesus in a house, just as the Wise Men did.  Perhaps there are only a few people at the worship service, as was the case for the Wise Men.  Just like these ancient fellow believers, after worship you may leave for a long journey back home.  No matter the circumstances, the glory of God and his kingdom are present when his Gospel of salvation is present.  Jesus himself pointed to this when he was about to heal the body of the paralyzed man after telling him he was forgiven.  Before healing the man, Jesus said, “Which is easier:  to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?”

As we go through Epiphany and recall the powerful miracles of Christ, we may often wish we could experience such miracles in our own life.  The truth is, we do.  The faith worked in our hearts by the Holy Spirit that connects us to Christ and his forgiven is the greatest miracle of all.  To heal a human body cost Christ nothing.  To save your soul cost him his life.  Epiphany reminds us of what is really important in our lives and in our worship:  the forgiveness of our sins.  No matter how many or how few people are surrounding us, when you are spending time with Christ in his Gospel, the glory is present.

Take some time to read Matthew 2:1-2 to recall the visit of the Magi and consider how blessed you are to know Christ as your Savior and to experience the glory that is your forgiveness through him.

In Christ,

Chaplain Robert Weiss

 

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and the bowed down and worshiped him” (Matthew 2:11)


Easter Retreat – March 28-31 in Heidelberg

We are quickly approaching our European Chaplaincy’s Easter Retreat, which will be held at the Jugendherberge Heidelberg International  from March 28 through Sunday, March 31.  Here is the general plan for the retreat:

Thursday, March 28

  • Dinner at the youth hostel
  • Maundy Thursday worship
  • Fellowship time at the youth hostel

Friday, March 29

  • Breakfast at the youth hostel
  • Bible study/kids activities
  • Lunch at the youth hostel
  • Free time to explore Heidelberg
  • Dinner at the youth hostel
  • Good Friday worship service
  • Fellowship time

Saturday, March 30

  • Breakfast at the youth hostel
  • Bible Study/kids activities
  • Lunch at the youth hostel
  • Free time to explore Heidelberg
  • Dinner together at a local restaurant
  • Fellowship time together after dinner

Sunday, March 31

  • Breakfast at the youth hostel
  • Easter Sunday worship service
  • Group Picture
  • Depart for home

The address for the Jugendherberge Heidelberg International is: Tiergartenstraße 5, 69120 Heidelberg.  The website for the Jungenherberge is: www.jugendherberge.de/en/youth-hostels/heidelberg/. I will be sending out a sign-up form for everyone interested to register.

We look forward to worshiping and spending time with many of you at the retreat!

In Christ,

Pastor Weiss


Fall Retreat 2024

We will hold our Fall Retreat on November 1-3 in Nürnberg.  Our place of lodging is the Jugendherberge Nürnberg, located in the old city city-center immediately adjacent to the Kaiserburg.  Further information on this will be distributed as the Fall Retreat approaches


Change of Worship Date at Wicker

Due to a scheduling conflict, we will worship at Wicker on Sunday, February 4, at 11:00 am instead of January 28.  This is a one-time schedule change and we will continue with our regular schedule of every second and fourth Sunday of the month on February 11.


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The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”

(Genesis 12:1)

The LORD spoke the above words to Abram, a long time ago.  God had a plan to do something great.  This plan would change the face of heaven and earth–a plan to save fallen mankind from eternal punishment by sending a Savior from sin.  Abram was part of this plan and the LORD called him to leave behind his family, his friends, his home, and go a place that the LORD would send him.  Abram had already moved once.  After the death of his brother, Abram’s father moved the family from Ur of the Chaldeans (modern day Iraq) to the city of Haran (modern day Syria).  Now the LORD was asking him to move again.  Abram answered the call:  “So Abram left as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him.”

Abraham Isaac Sacrifice

The angel prevents Abraham from sacrificing Isaac.

Abram had already left his home in Ur to resettle in Haran and now the LORD had called him to leave again, bringing him to Canaan.  He had moved from a place that was familiar to him, a culture he knew, a language he spoke–he left it all to go to a place in which
he was a foreigner.  Abram did not know where he was going.  He walked into an uncertain and changing future trusting the LORD had a plan for him and that the LORD would watch over him.

The years that would follow gave Abram many opportunities to exercise this faith in God, sometimes under very uncertain and difficult circumstances.  God promised Abram he would make him into a great nation even though he was 75 years old and childless.  God promised Abram that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars in the sky but then asked this man to sacrifice his son Isaac.  God promised Abram his descendants would one day own the land in which he now lived yet, at his death, Abram owned only a small portion of that land with a cave, where he had buried his wife Sarah.  The list of challenges could go on:  his time in Egypt, the situation with Hagar, his battle against and defeat of Kedorlaomer to rescue his nephew from captivity, etc.  Through it all, Abram trusted in the LORD as he journeyed each day into the unknown, living as a foreigner in a foreign land.

Those who serve in the military face many of the challenges that Abraham faced.  Members of the military answer a call that often takes them away from the places they know and the people they love to a land that is unfamiliar, live among people who speak a different language, and make a home in a culture that is different to that of their own.  This journey brings many challenges to one’s faith as questions arise in our minds such as, “Is this a good life for my family?”  “What will be the effect of my military service on my marriage?”  “How will my children be affected by the life I am putting them into as military children?”

In times such as these it is important for the Christian serving in a military role to be reminded of how God has brought his people through the challenges they faced throughout the millennia.  God does not focus on numbers.  Every soul is precious to him, including yours.  Abram lived as a foreigner in a land where he was different, but God had a plan for him–a plan that was fulfilled because Abram trusted in the Lord.  God has a plan for your life as well as you serve in the U.S. military.  You may feel alone, you may not understand God’s plan, it may seem to you that the struggles you have to live as a Christian in military service are not worth it because you don’t see any results from all the hard work.  Remember, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we don not see.  (Hebrews 11:1).

As I now begin my work as the European Civilian Chaplain, it is my prayer that those I serve, whether military members or non-military here in Europe, remember that God always fulfills his promises and he never leaves his people alone.  God changed Abram’s name from Abram (“exalted father”) to Abraham (“father of many”) as a sign that he would fulfill the promises he had made.  The LORD did fulfill his promise and it changed our lives forever.  Through the plan Abraham was part of our Savior came to earth.  He died so that we could live–live here on earth without fear and live on after our body dies.  God has a plan for you.  No matter how alone you might feel; no matter how challenging living in a foreign culture might be; no matter how difficult the obstacles might look–the LORD will be with you.  Trust in him.  Believe his promises.  Live the life God has given you and rejoice in his love for you.

In Christ,

Chaplain Robert Weiss

 

“Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)


Offerings

A new bank account has been established to receive offerings.  Please contact Pastor Weiss at [email protected] for details.  We are also looking into other ways in which offerings can be given directly to the European Civilian Chaplaincy.  More information will be distributed here and on our website.


Reformation Retreat – October 27-29 in Frankfurt am Main

We are very excited to let everyone know that the fall Reformation Retreat will go forward this year.  It will be held at the Jungenherberge Frankfurt Haus Der Jugend on October 27-29.  We have a fun weekend planned with worship, Bible study, free time to explore the city, and fellowship time together.  There are many museums within walking distance of the youth hostel in which we are staying, including the Städel Museum, the Frankfurt Archaeological Museum (with a special program for kids about Roman Sculpture), and the Frankfurt Icon Museum.  The Frankfurt Zoo and the old city center are also not far away from where we will be staying.

The address for the Jugendherberge Frankfurt is: Deutschhermuler 12, 60594 Frankfurt/Main Sachenhausen

The website for the Jungenherberge is: www.jugendherberge-frankfurt.de

If you are interested in attending the entire retreat or just one day, please email us and let us know!

In Christ,

Pastor Weiss


Easter Retreat 2024

Even as we quickly approach our Reformation retreat, planning is already underway for our 2024 Easter retreat.  We will gather in Heidelberg March 28-31.  Watch for more information on this on our website over the next months.


A Note from Pastor Weiss

It is both an honor and a joy to be here in Europe and to have the opportunity to serve in the WELS European Chaplaincy.  After 19 years of serving as a parish pastor, I look forward to getting to know as many of you as possible as the civilian chaplain here in Europe.  As I work to bring Word and Sacrament to those living here in Europe, I pray that God will bring all of you both joy and growth in your faith life during your time here.

In our Savior’s name,

Pastor Weiss


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Saying goodbye to folks we have come to know and love has become very real and bittersweet for us these past weeks. Do you know what goodbye means? Of course, we all do. But where does the word come from? In the late 16th century in England it began to be used as a contraction of “God be with ye.” And that is Helen’s and my sincerest wish and prayer for you all. God be with you.

We thank God that he has kept you all close to him in places and life situations where you have had to make a real effort to continue in the Word and worship. It’s not like there is a WELS church (or three, for that matter) nearby. And we pray that he continue to strengthen you and your families through the Word and keep you faithful to your Savior wherever your path leads in this life.

Our path is leading us to retirement in Madison, Wisconsin. And we look forward to starting a new chapter there. We will miss the friends we have made in Europe and hope we can keep in touch, at least a little bit. Our new e-mail address is [email protected]. Many of you have Wisconsin connections so if you are passing through Madison, drop us a line. Maybe we will meet again there. But there are no maybes about where we will surely meet again – at Jesus’ feet.

 

God be with you till we meet again,
By his counsels guide, uphold you,
With his sheep securely fold you …
‘Neath his wings protecting hide you,
Daily manna still provide you.
God be with you till we meet again.
CW327


Our Offerings

In June €270.00, U$40.00, and CHF400.00 were received in basket offerings. €1400.00  were received as direct deposits.

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion,  for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:7,8


From Pastor Weiss

Pastor Weiss reports that he and his wife will arrive in Germany on August 24 and begin services on September 3 following the established schedule. He has sent this note:

“Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” (Matthew 13:52)

As I have been preparing for my transition out of parish ministry and into the role of WELS European Civilian Chaplain, my thoughts have turned to the path God led me on up to this point in the ministry and the new life and work that God has set before me.  In the above passage from the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is reminding us that there is always more to learn about the Word of God and that the Holy Scriptures are an ever-flowing spring of wisdom and knowledge to apply to our lives.

Those who serve in the military experience life in a way that is different to most in civilian life.  They have joys, frustrations, challenges, and spiritual needs that are unique to those serving in our nation’s armed forces.  The teachings of our Lord will apply to them in ways that differ from those not living the military life.  As a pastor, I look forward to using the skills, education, and experience God has blessed me with to minister to the needs of our WELS military members serving in Europe.

While our lives and circumstances are always changing, the Word of God never changes.  The ancient message preserved for us in the Bible is a treasure that will feed our souls and encourage our hearts as we live out our lives in a sinful world. Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins and open for us the way to eternal life.  On our pilgrimage toward heaven, we walk together and Jesus walks with us, comforting us, strengthening us, and guiding us to the heaven he earned for us.  I look forward to sharing those precious treasures in Scripture with our military members and to be part of the fellowship of believers in Europe.

In Christ,

Pastor Weiss


About Pastor Weiss

Pastor Weiss’ interest in near eastern archaeology and ancient languages led him to consider the pastoral ministry.  After graduating from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 2004 he was assigned to Little Rock, AR, where he began his parish ministry and also learned about ministry to the military through the many military personnel who passed through the congregations during his ten years there.  In 2014 he accepted a call to serve a parish in Collins, WI, where he currently serves. His professional interests include archaeology, ancient and confessional languages (especially Hebrew and Aramaic), ministry to the military, and ancient and medieval history.  When not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife, family and friends, traveling, hiking, and participating in sports such as cycling, cross-country skiing, and biathlon.


About Rachel Weiss

Rachel grew up in a large family in a small town in Wisconsin.  After getting a degree in English at Wisconsin Lutheran College she developed an interest in cooking, decided to go to grad school for nutrition, and started work as a Registered Dietitian.  In her free time she enjoys fencing in tournaments, spending time with family and friends, reading, hiking, and getting more stamps in her passport.  Travel highlights include hiking the Swiss Alps, putting her high school German skills to use in Germany, and blackwater rafting in the glowworm caves of New Zealand…but just spending time with her husband, no matter where they are.


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Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready. Revelation 19:7

June. The time for graduations and weddings. For new beginnings. For celebrations. Graduates decorate party venues with balloons, streamers, and photos sharing fondest memories. Of course, there will be lots of food, fun, and many more happy memories. The wedding couple’s venue also features elaborate decorations, beautiful flowers, and a special meal for the guests.  There will be dancing, toasting, and a special cake. Graduations and weddings are June’s joyous occasions!

We can’t find any graduation stories in the Bible, but there are many wedding references. The Old Testament speaks of gifts, songs, and bridal jewels. There are joyful accounts. Look on King Solomon wearing a crown, the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, the day his heart rejoiced. (Song of Songs 3:11) There are also admonishments. Does a young woman forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number. (Jeremiah 2:32) We can imagine that Psalm 45—’a wedding song’—became part of many Old Testament wedding celebrations.

The New Testament gives us a more detailed picture of wedding celebrations. We know there were banquets. Remember that elaborate one in Cana where Jesus miraculously provided about 120 gallons of wine? We know there were assigned seats and a menu. When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. (Luke 14:8) From the parable of the Ten Virgins, we learn that a bridegroom was escorted to the wedding banquet (Matthew 25).

Finally, we learn the kingdom of heaven is like a royal banquet where special wedding clothes are required (Matthew 22). All these New Testament wedding customs and parables point us to the ultimate wedding feast—the wedding supper of the Lamb. Jesus invites us to the best wedding celebration ever! His Father has prepared the banquet. Jesus’ righteousness has provided the wedding clothes that cover our sins and allows us to attend. It will be a glorious celebration and an unimaginable new beginning for all believers. Revelation 19 exclaims: Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. (v7) And declares: “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” (v9).

At that wedding feast, we will sing Paul Gerhardt’s wedding song of praise.

Lord, when your glory I shall see And taste your kingdom’s pleasure,
Your blood my royal robe shall be, My joy beyond all measure!
When I appear before your throne, Your righteousness shall be my crown;
With these I need not hide me.
And there, in garments richly wrought, As your own bride I shall be brought
To stand in joy beside you.

CW 219

Chaplain Transition Schedule Changes

Pastor Hartwig will conduct his last services at Wicker and Ramstein on July 9. There will be no services at Wicker and Ramstein on July 23. There will be no services in Munich, Vilseck, or Switzerland in July. Pastor Weiss is planning to arrive in August, the exact date of his arrival is not set.

Ramstein News

We welcomed new members Anthony & Brittney Collier from Ramstein and Gitono Rossi from Spangdahlem.

We will be saying goodbye to Tana and Mark Waldschmidt, and Brooklyn, Ezekiel, and Otto, who will be heading to Honolulu, and Richard Young who is heading to Guam. Blessings to them as they transition to their new homes.

“In farewell to the Hartwigs, the Waldschmidts, and Captain Young leaving Germany this summer, we will substitute our monthly potluck for a dining out experience. Following the service on June 11, 2023, we will meet at the Fiesta Mexicana in Machenbach. Mrs. Waldschmidt needs a rough head count by June 6th. You can email her at [email protected] or text on WhatsApp 016099693239 for you or your party’s confirmation. Thank you, and hope to see you all there!”

Upcoming Retreats

Mark your calendars for the next retreats. A fall retreat is planned for October 27-29, 2023, in Frankfurt. An Easter retreat is planned for 28-31 March 2024, in Heidelberg. Watch upcoming newsletters for further details.

Direct Deposit Offerings

I will be closing the bank account in late June. If you are making automatic offering deposits to our account, please notify your bank to discontinue. Pastor Weiss will inform you of the new banking information when he has set up a new account.

Our Offerings

In May €203.80.00 and CHF220.00 were received in basket offerings. €1150.00  were received as direct deposits.

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion,  for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:7,8

 

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But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

May is a month full of holidays and celebrations. In Germany, May 1st is the holiday that celebrates all workers—their Labor Day. On the second Sunday in May, people in many countries around the world honor their mothers. They usually give gifts of cards, flowers, and special dinners. In the United States, May 31st is Memorial Day. On that day, Americans remember those who gave their lives to preserve peace and freedom. It also marks the unofficial start of summer with parades and parties.

May is also a month for Christians to celebrate the special church festival of Pentecost.  It comes exactly seven Sundays after Easter. This year that will be on May 28th. We usually don’t have special church decorations—maybe just a banner or special altar flowers. We usually don’t exchange gifts or enjoy elaborate meals. But we do usually sing special hymns and hear sermons dedicated to the Holy Spirit. That is how Christians celebrate the day Jesus sent the gift of the Holy Spirit to his disciples.

 

 In Acts chapter 2, we read: The disciples were gathered together in one place when…”Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” What an amazing way for Jesus to send the gift of the Holy Spirit! And what a wonderful way to get the attention of the Jews gathered in Jerusalem for a festival of thanksgiving—their Pentecost. Many heard and believed Peter’s powerful message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. The Old Testament festival of thanksgiving became the New Testament festival of praising God for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Tongues of fire, loud noises, and international multitudes of that first Pentecost are past. Now the Holy Spirt continues quietly working through his Word. He calls us. Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ (Romans 10:17). He enlightens us. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). He guides us to lead a sanctified life. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). And finally, he keeps us in the faith until we reach our heavenly home. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,…will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast (1Peter 5:10) 

May our hearts and voices worship and praise the God who quietly and consistently works faith in our hearts and preserves us in that faith. To do that we can turn to our hymnals. They contain many hymns of praise to the Holy Spirit, which we sing in church. Those hymns are also an excellent resource for our personal devotions. Perhaps Martin Luther wrote this stanza to use in his family devotions. What a perfect Pentecost prayer!

Come, holy Light, Guide divine, And cause the Word of life to shine.
Teach us to know our God aright And call him Father with delight.
From ev’ry error keep us free; Let none but Christ our Master be
That we in living faith abide, In him, our Lord, with all our might confide.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

CW 176

 

 

Easter Retreat

From April 6-9, 52 people gathered in beautiful Würzburg for our Easter retreat. We enjoyed worship, Bible study, and fellowship – and a super Easter egg hunt. Enjoy these photos.

The group outside the Jugenherberge after worship on Sunday.

Children’s choir for Easter worship

The kids’ activity group

 

 

 

   

Call News

Pastor Weiss has accepted the call to serve as the next chaplain. His arrival date has not been determined yet. The Hartwigs will be leaving in mid-July.

For All Our Mothers

We give thanks to the Lord for faithful, Christian mothers. They care for us as God’s own and bring us up guided by His Word. We ask God’s special blessing upon our military moms. They often care for their families for weeks and months at a time while their husbands are deployed. May Jesus keep our mothers in his tender care as they continue to faithfully serve him.

Our Offerings

In April €154.00 and U$29.00 were received in basket offerings. €1400.00  were received as direct deposits. The retreat offering was €1047.50.

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion,  for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:7,8

 

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He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Matthew 28:6

 

ALLELUIA! JESUS LIVES!  On Sunday, April 9th, the whole Christian church on earth will join once more to sing the praises of our victorious Savior. We will hear the good news of Christ’s victory over sin, death, and the devil declared from the pulpit. We will hear choirs and musicians proclaim the message in song. Colorful altar flowers will reflect our praises, our joy, our victory.

Yes, by faith we claim Christ’s victory as our own. He crushed the serpent’s head, removed sin’s guilt forever, and destroyed the sting of death—once and for all. For us! We rejoice because we can tell Satan to get behind us with his temptations. We rejoice because we live in the peace of sins forgiven. We rejoice because the fear of death has no power over us. We rejoice that Jesus kept his promise. As the angel declared on that first Easter morning: “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” (Mt 28:6)

Easter joy IS the cornerstone of our lives. We have the joy that overcomes all our worries, doubts, and fears. We have a living Savior who comforts and cares for us on our earthly journey until we conquer death and join the saints and angels in eternal joy. Until then we live as reconciled children of God, living a new life. St. Paul tells us that because “Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Rom 6:4) 

In our new life, we share the glorious news of the resurrection. We tell others of the joy we find in Christ our Savior—the joy that can be theirs, too. May our Easter hymns of praise give all glory to Jesus and uplift us as we worship together. May God grant us the desire to tell others why Easter joy is so important to us. Let us share the gospel news, repeating the simple, but powerful message of Easter: I know that my Redeemer lives! (Job 19:25)

 

I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives who once was dead;
He lives, my ever-living Head!

CW 152

 

 

Easter Retreat Information

Our retreat is just around the corner and it will be well attended with 45 people signed up. If you have not signed up but would like to attend, you are most welcome, but you will have to find your own accommodation since the youth hostel is fully booked. Others are staying at the Mercure Hotel Wuerzburg am Mainufer .

If you can’t attend the full retreat but want to worship with us at 9:00 on Easter Sunday, please come!

Jugendherberge Würzburg, Fred-Joseph-Platz 2, 97082  Würzburg   Hostel info.

Cost: €90.00 per adult, €45.00 per person aged 6-16, ages 5 and under free. This includes Thursday supper, 3 meals on Friday, Saturday breakfast and lunch, and Sunday breakfast. Saturday evening we will eat at a restaurant (Alte Mainmühle)  at our own expense. (For those coming Friday-Sunday: €60.00 per adult, €30.00 per person aged 6-16, ages 5 and under free.)  (For those staying elsewhere but wanting to eat the noon and evening meals at the hostel, the cost is €9.50 per meal.)

What to bring:

  • A Bible for our study of 1 Peter.
  • Please bring your own towels. The hostel can provide them but you will have to pay.
  • Children should bring their own Easter baskets for the Easter egg hunt on Sunday.
  • Candies to fill the Easter eggs.
  • Treats for our evening social gatherings.
  • Games you might want to play.
  • We will gather an offering on Easter Sunday

Things to do in Würzburg

Schedule:

Thursday, April 6

Check in after 15:00
18:00 Dinner at hostel
19:30 Maundy Thursday worship followed by fellowship

Friday, April 7

7:30-9:00 Breakfast
9:00 Bible study and children’s activities
10:00 Break
10:30-11:30  Bible study and children’s activities
12:00 Lunch at hostel
Afternoon free time
18:00 Dinner at hostel
19:30 Good Friday worship followed by fellowship

Saturday, April 8

7:30-9:00 Breakfast
9:00 Bible study and children’s activities
10:00 Break
10:30-11:30  Bible study and children’s activities
12:00 Lunch at hostel
Afternoon free time
18:30 Dinner at local restaurant

Easter Sunday

7:30-9:00 Breakfast and check out
9:00 Easter worship followed by group picture and Easter egg hunt.

April Schedule Change

Because of the retreat there will be no worship in Munich, Vilseck, and Switzerland in April. There will be no worship at Wicker and Ramstein on April 9. Regular worship will resume on April 23 with services at Wicker and Ramstein.

Pastor Hartwig Retirement

I had expected and hoped to be able to share information about the call, but Pastor Weiss has not yet announced a decision. So all I can say is “stay tuned…”

Our Offerings

In March €127.00 and CHF450.00 were received in basket offerings. €27,505.07  were received as direct deposits.

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion,  for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:7,8

 

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Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. 1 Chronicles 16:24

 

March Madness! If you’re a college basketball fan, you look forward to this tournament for months. Diehard fans from 64 colleges watch the action unfold on television. They sport their team colors and cheer on their favorites. They enter brackets and talk nothing but basketball at home and at the office. Fans everywhere are filled with enthusiasm for and loyalty to their teams.

Enthusiasm and loyalty are not only reserved for sports. We express those feelings for family, friends, colleagues, and most of all our Christian congregations. We support each other with helping hands and kind words. We go the extra mile when someone is struggling. We meet together for worship. The writer to the Hebrews sums it up with these encouraging words. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together…but encouraging one another…” Heb 10:24-25

 We Christians treasure the special support and encouragement we receive from and give to our fellow believers. This support and encouragement is even more precious when we find ourselves far from our homes and families. But what about outside the church walls, apart from our spiritual families? Do we sport our team colors in secular settings? Do we explain why Jesus is the center of our lives? Do we challenge ungodly practices in our world? Are we ‘speaking the truth in love’ as St. Paul admonishes us in Ephesians 4? If we examine our daily lives, we must confess that we don’t always display enthusiasm for our Christian values. We aren’t always loyal to our team. But thankfully, we know where to turn when our loyalty to our Lord wavers.

God’s holy Word reminds us that we are forgiven when we fail. It comforts us and strengthens our faith. It emboldens us to stand up for Jesus in our daily lives. With God’s help we can show the world that we belong to Christ. We can proudly “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.” 1 Chronicles 16:24

 

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the cross!
Lift high his royal banner; It must not suffer loss.
From vict’ry unto vict’ry His army shall he lead
Till ev’ry foe is vanquished An Christ is Lord indeed.

CW 474

 

 

Easter Retreat Information

Where? Jugendherberge Würzburg, Fred-Joseph-Platz 2, 97082  Würzburg   Hostel info.

When? April 6-9, 2023

Cost: €90.00 per adult, €45.00 per person aged 6-16, ages 5 and under free. This includes Thursday supper, 3 meals on Friday, Saturday breakfast and lunch, and Sunday breakfast. Saturday evening we will eat at a restaurant at our own expense. (For those coming Friday-Sunday: €60.00 per adult, €30.00 per person aged 6-16, ages 5 and under free.)  (For those staying elsewhere but wanting to eat the noon and evening meals at the hostel, the cost is €9.50 per meal.)

Please bring your own towels.  Children should bring their own Easter baskets for the Easter egg hunt on Sunday.

Please note that we have reserved ALL available rooms at the hostel. If you want to attend the retreat, but have not yet signed up, you are very welcome, but you will have to find your own accommodation in local hotels.

Participants April 2023: Please take a look at the linked list of participants and let us know if your information is incorrect. This is especially important for those staying at the youth hostel.

Things to do in Würzburg

Schedule:

Thursday, April 6

Check in after 15:00
18:00 Dinner at hostel
19:30 Maundy Thursday worship followed by fellowship

Friday, April 7

7:30-9:00 Breakfast
9:00 Bible study and children’s activities
10:00 Break
10:30-11:30  Bible study and children’s activities
12:00 Lunch at hostel
Afternoon free time
18:00 Dinner at hostel
19:30 Good Friday worship followed by fellowship

Saturday, April 8

7:30-9:00 Breakfast
9:00 Bible study and children’s activities
10:00 Break
10:30-11:30  Bible study and children’s activities
12:00 Lunch at hostel
Afternoon free time
18:30 Dinner at local restaurant

Easter Sunday

7:30-9:00 Breakfast and check out
9:00 Easter worship followed by group picture and Easter egg hunt.

April Schedule Change

Because of the retreat there will be no worship in Munich, Vilseck, and Switzerland in April. We will resume the regular schedule in May.

News From Our Worship Groups

Ramstein

Austin and Lilly Herrick

Our Ramstein group heartily welcomes Lilly and Austin Herrick who recently moved here from Georgia.

Stuttgart

Our 3 Stuttgart families:(l-r) Tanya & Jeff Bessler with Sam and Abby; Lindsey & Jared Kassulke, with Charlotte, Elijah, and August; Courtney & Adam Kuehl

We had a worship service on Ash Wednesday with three military families in Stuttgart. We hope to start regular worship services in Stuttgart in the near future.

Pastor Hartwig Retiring

Last summer, during our furlough, we met with the military services committee. One matter for discussion was how long the Hartwigs might remain in Europe. No decisions were made at that time, but we said we would review the matter at the beginning of the new year. We have very much enjoyed our time in Germany and have reached the conclusion that 2023 is a good time for us to retire and move back to the States. So the wheels have been set in motion for our replacement. The WELS Conference of Presidents extended a call to Pastor Rob Weiss to serve as the next civilian chaplain in Europe. Many of you know Pastor Weiss, as he served as our furlough replacement this past summer. If Pastor Weiss accepts this call, I anticipate he would move to Germany early this summer. Should he decline the call, the process would begin again with the COP extending a call to another man. The Hartwigs have agreed to stay on the field until a new chaplain arrives, so there shouldn’t be a vacancy situation.

Our Offerings

In February €299.50 and CHF230.00 were received in basket offerings. €1,937.98  were received as direct deposits.

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion,  for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:7,8

 

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