It was a great pleasure to re-visit Leipzig English Church. Leipzig is a dynamic, growing city in the former GDR, and the English-speaking church is similarly youthful, international and lively. Worship is led by a group including professional musicians who range expertly across a classical repertoire and modern songs. Last time I attended LEC I was struck by the number of students. This time, I noticed the large number of young families.
My visit began with a meeting with the Church Council. This included a longish (two and a half hour) question and answer session, which I greatly enjoyed. Several Council members had razor sharp intellects and the conversation was robust. One fundamental topic was: ‘why be part of the Church of England?’
On the Sunday morning I confirmed six candidates: Valentin, Natanael, Jean, Hannes, Oliver and James.
One interesting and powerful liturgical innovation was to have the chaplain, Canon Martin Reakes-Williams, say something about each of the candidate’s faith as he gave them a lighted candle at the end of the service.
Actually, there was a seventh confirmation. Klaus Hickel is an ordination candidate. Klaus was confirmed as a Lutheran, but (for reasons that I hope one day we will overcome) the Church of England doesn’t recognise presbyteral Lutheran confirmations, so I confirmed Klaus in a private family ceremony after I had confirmed their son Oliver at the big service. Klaus and his wife Jude are CMS-Australia partners who are growing a German speaking ministry at LEC.
Canon Martin was instrumental in the founding of LEC 23 years ago. It has grown steadily year by year, and now feels to be a mature and flourishing fellowship with a wide range of mid-week activities, children’s and youth work. It is very encouraging to see the fruit of this committed, long-term pastoral and evangelistic ministry.