Saint John Lutheran Church on Montrose in Chicago has conducted German Services every Sunday for more than 130 years. The Rev. Dr. Juan Berndt had valiantly conducted these services in his retirement for many years, but felt finally in the fall of 2013, that he could no longer do justice to the demands of a full scaled sermon embellished by liturgy, music and communion. All efforts of St John to find a successor, who could replace him, were unsuccessful and the congregation had to conclude its German services reluctantly on Good Friday of this year (2014).
This has left a great void among members and friends who attended these services and the question was raised whether, if we were not able to conduct a complete service in German and serve a whole loaf, perhaps we could continue to offer a half a loaf with a German sermon on the Internet and thus continue a ministry of the Word to current interested people and carry on an outreach to new ones. Indeed, an urban center such as Chicago, with its populous suburbs, has a place for one of the great languages of the world and, therefore, could possibly also reach people who have German not only as their native tongue, but also a greater number of people who have an interest in acquiring German as a second language. With computers the world has experienced an unimaginable means of communication worldwide. For the Church this remarkable revolution has opened the door for mission outreach, unknown to mankind before. There are an increasing number of elderly home-bound people-, firms and all kinds of overseas businesses with staff and sometimes families living among us in our world city and, as well hundreds of foreign students from all over the world, residing in our midst. The revolution of transportation has brought families from other lands and thousands of tourists to us, certainly a number of all these people must be seekers of the Way, while others are perhaps simply curious to find out what the spiritual life in America is like. Whatever prompts them, new people come into the limelight of the Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit.
Saint John has decided to meet the need which drives people to make a search on the Internet about the German language, culture or religious life. It may lead to visiting the church's website and a desire to become better acquainted with friends that appreciate their ethnicity and are welcoming the stranger.
How will this ministry of the Word in German be carried out? As a "commissioned minister" of the LCMS, Dr. Paul Kreiss has assisted St John's German services for the last 25 years. He will see to it that the German sermons are lined up in accordance with the thematic selections of the Church at large and the particular time of the year. He is a native, born in Alsace, today a French province, bordering Germany along the Rhine River. In the last 150 years and three wars, Alsace has changed hands four times in a period of 27 years, ending up each time with the victor in these conflicts and having to be ready to embrace his language. Most Alsatians, who lived a fairly long life, had to learn at least two languages: French and German. With this background Dr. Kreiss became fluent in both languages as his nationality changed three times in a period of twenty years and prompted him to enlist and exploit his dual background as he came to America to become a teacher and later a Professor of German and French at Concordia Teachers College in River Forest, Illinois, (now Concordia University Chicago
) for 43 years.
Um Ihnen behilflich zu sein, bitte wenden Sie sich schriftlich an die Sankt Johannes Kirche, 4939 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago, IL 60641 oder rufen Sie die Telefonnummer 1-773-736-1112 (USA) an.
Es tut uns leid; unsere Sekretär kein Deutsch sprechen.
DIE EVANGELISCHE LUTHERISCHE SANKT JOHANNES GEMEINDE
Montrose and Lavergne Avenues, Chicago