Karlsruhe Visit - June 1999

Twelve ecumenical delegates travelled to Karlsruhe for 10th-15th June, led by Wally Huckle - two Roman Catholics, a Methodist, a Baptist, seven Anglicans and a Quaker. The party included a past Sheriff and the recently retired Lord Mayor. The warmth of our welcome was tremendous. Many of our hosts were hosted in Nottingham two years ago or two years before that. They all send their love and good wishes to the friends they made then, several of whom are members of our congregation.

On arrival we had a meal at the Salvation Army Centre. This has only just opened as the SA is new to Karlsruhe. We were delighted to be present when the Army was welcomed into membership of the Karlsruhe Council of Churches on our final evening. The Nottingham connection was warmly recognised. We visited many churches and fascinating projects:

  • Charity Shops (a new concept for Germany inspired by a UK visit)
  • a pub for young people (the idea came from the Potter’s House in Nottingham)
  • an ecumenical parish in a young village where Catholics and Protestants share church facilities
  • a serene convent, Lichtenthal, where the nuns now run a school
  • an Orthodox service in Baden Baden
  • supper at a most unusual Methodist Church in Baden Baden
  • Mass with the ‘Old Catholics’ on Sunday, where Wally shared the celebration with the priest and Annagrett, one of our recent visitors, who is now a Protestant minister
  • tour of the 18th Century Bishop’s Palace at Bruchsal
  • a visit to the church and dinner in a restaurant linked to the Roman Catholic church in the leafy suburb of Waldstaat
  • reception at the Rathaus (Town Hall)
  • meeting of the Karlsruhe Council of Churches
  • farewell meal at the Roman Catholic Church of St Stephan
  • a very moving, simple farewell service before the altar of the Roman Catholic Church of St Stephan

There was a little free time. Mine was spent with my hostess, a delightful friend who stayed with me two years ago. With her husband and Barbara from St Nic’s we visited the mediaeval monastery at Maulbronn where Hesse was educated and set one of his novels. Lovely scenery and excellent apple torte. Wally spent his free time in an obscure railway siding which he had spotted from the tram on one of our many journeys!

An amusing moment

We were being shown around the lovely convent at Lichtenthal by a warm, witty and charming elderly nun. She had shown us the finer points of the burial chapel of the Margravine, their founder, and was explaining the altar tryptich when we heard an irritating hi-tech bleeper. The Brits were embarrassed that one of our number should have brought a mobile phone into this serene environment. All eyes turned to the most likely suspect, who shrugged her shoulders innocently. Then Sister Hildegarde reached into her habit, produced a pager and advised us "Lunch is ready".

Hilary Evans

St Peter's Church, Nottingham
Last revised 4th July 1999