Church-Part 6

9 Oct


Judy Wills

We left Leavenworth, Kansas, for a couple of weeks of vacation time, to visit our families before we headed to Germany.  Lovely time – family is best!

We arrived in Heidelberg, West Germany for Fred’s next assignment.  Again, there wasn’t any housing available just at that moment, so we stayed in the “Q” – officers temporary quarters.  It was mostly like a hotel room, but no kitchen or kitchenette, so all our meals were eaten out.

Guest quarters – Patrick Henry Village

Within a week – after we had gotten over our jet lag – we started looking for the Baptist church there in Heidelberg.  When we had been in Wiesbaden, our church there had dealings with other Baptist churches throughout Europe, and knew there was a church there in Heidelberg.  Neither Fred nor I can remember how we found out that the Sunday School part was not meeting at the church building, but were holding classes in a school nearby, then walking to worship service in the church building.  In any case, we went to the Sunday School one Sunday morning, then walked to the worship service in the church building.  

We did join that body of believers – Grace Baptist Church.  Neither Fred nor I can remember the name of the pastor who was there at that time.  But perhaps that’s because he and his family were getting ready to rotate back to the States.  His three-year tour was up.  More to come on how we called another pastor.

In Heidelberg, the German congregation of believers had built a building, where they met for services.

Grace Baptist Church, Heidelberg, West Germany

The pulpit and baptistry cross

Inside the church building for a service

Inside the church building for a service – this is where the adult choir sat for worship services

But as with the church in Wiesbaden, the German congregation shared the building with the American congregation.  I’m sure we paid a rental fee to the German group, but that was okay.  It was a lovely building, with a basement, where we held our choir practice, and special events.   

When we were in Wiesbaden, the American and German congregations did a lot of “joint” events together.  Not only did we share the building, but we had dinners and outings together.  It was a wonderful time together.  Unfortunately, we didn’t find the same cooperative feeling in the church in Heidelberg.  We did “cooperate” with them, but had little-to-no events together.  That was the only down side of that church.  

However, I do remember early one December, the German congregation had a sort-of “bazaar” of hand-crafted Christmas decorations, and had them set out for us to look at and purchase if we wanted.  I found several items that I wanted, and have kept them all these years.  Some are a little “worst for the wear” but I still use them.  Not only do I like them, but they remind me of Germany, and the time we spent there.  They were lovely people, and we did try to incorporate them into our worship time together.

While the American congregation wasn’t too large, we were a great group.  We found a family from Canada; there was a young lady from New Zealand

Stacy from New Zealand and Judy

who was touring Germany and found she loved Heidelberg, and so stayed and worked as a chamber maid in a hotel, who just wanted some time with English speaking people, and found our church.  There was a school teacher who is still a good friend of ours.

One thing I especially loved about this church was that, while most of the members were military people and their families – when they walked through the doors of the church – the “rank” came off – we were all the same in God’s eyes.  No one ever pulled rank or tried to be more than anyone else.  It was great.  Wish the American schools had the same policy.  


~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson and a great-granddaughter. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

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