Alois Schwarz must be in Philipines right now as one of the speakers of the major Lutheran Church in the Philippines meeting. He was a fine host for me when I was in the Hof District and specifically in Tauperlitz last Friday until Sunday before I came near to Munich. I’m impressed with the website of the Evangelisch-Lutherisches Dekanats Hof. I liked the way they used a plate to organize all the churches and ministries in the surrounding villages and towns.
Alois speaks very good English and is well traveled. He’s the only single pastor I stayed with. So, it was interesting for me to see life through the eyes of a pastor who is single as well. We were also flexible with our schedule a little when it might have appeared to be not workable – which I REALLY appreciated.
Alois included me very much in the life of a local church pastor during the weekend which included a dinner at Mexican restaurant with the council members of the church, a birthday party of a 70 year old lady (which before I left I shook hands with a retired medal winning swimmer!), and a special bonus was conducting an infant baptism with him at Kirchengemeinde Kautendorf. So, while there was not so much of big meetings kind of events. I could have a better “feel” of what a local church pastoral ministry is a more village and even rural area in Bavaria.
Our conversations helped me see clearer the areas we need to be watchful in Asia. Alois has not only spent time in Canada for his theological studies, he’s also worked in Papa New Guinea and served as a lecturer of Church History and Old Testament in the Phillipines. My mind was drawn to think about leadership issues in our Asian churches, and the way we utilize our resources, as well as what can true partnership between the North/western and South/eastern churches mean in the 21st century. Now we are in a time where we can work as true partners as we humble our hearts and minds together for an agenda for the church and God’s mission bigger than ourselves.
Another special thing I will remember is our morning devotions together and evening prayer with a candle lit in the middle to center our scattered thoughts. As I understood better the German scenario in terms of life, religion and especially the Christian faith .. the lighting of the candle reminded me again and again God is still working in Europe perhaps not in the same way as Asia but we must not underestimate where Christ is working. Our role is to see where the Spirit is working, encouraging the people who are responding, and come alongside and serve Him faithfully wherever we are!