Wednesday, October 15, 2008

German Church Services in Milwaukee

In the autumn of 2006, I had just moved to Milwaukee from a tiny rural community. I knew perhaps three people in the city, and so I eagerly tried to increase my circle of contacts, especially those who shared my interests. I had discovered the internet as a cutting-edge advantage to social networking--specifically I found a local German Meetup group within two weeks of changing my residence and headed downtown to check it out. I met several nice people who spoke German in varying levels of proficiency, among whom was a man named Dan Sweeney from Wauwatosa. Without hesitation, he invited me to Ridgewood Baptist Church, which hosted a German church service. Intrigued, I found my way there on Sunday morning. The first person I met was a girl about my age, I thought, who introduced herself as Andrea, then Ed Maczolleck. They promptly invited me to lunch, then to Starbucks, then to Andrea's house. We had a fantastic time together, and I couldn't wait to come back the next week.

Andrea is now my roommate: we became close friends. Ed is like a father to both of us, and Dan Sweeney is still a very good friend. I so appreciate that this avenue was open to me upon my move to a strange city. Thank you, Ridgewood!

It goes without saying that I enjoyed the service very much. A dedicated (native speaker) German Baptist pastor, Reinhold Schulz, preached every sermon in the German language. It's inspiring to listen to this man who has long since passed the age of retirement, but refuses to stop serving God as long as he is needed. It's also very refreshing to sing in German with a group of people who love the language and who love the Lord. When I began coming, there was also a choir under the direction of Lothar which sang special music.

I wonder how many people know about this wonderful little oasis of German community in Milwaukee, the city of Gemuetlichkeit. If you live in the Milwaukee area and wish to exercise your German skills, Ridgewood Baptist Church is the place to do it. Sunday school starts at 9:00 a. m., and the service proper at 10:15 a. m. The people there will welcome you with open arms. Sometimes missionaries come through on their way to or from Germany, and we are able to minister to them--always a treat.
Another great resource under "Spiritual Development" is Benediction Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, which holds bi-monthly German services. The Weinacht service is very special, featuring local Teutonic performing groups.

Some of us are planning a big German Christmas sing-a-long in December. I'll be sure to advertise it widely--so check back for further details!