Vessels of mercy

Weitenhagen is near Greifswald in north-eastern Germany. Work on the construction of the brick-built church with Romanesque and Gothic elements began in 1280.

It was in a pitiful state of dereliction.

In early 2008 a voice mingled with the prayers before the altar…

Words at the consecration:

We are standing here in this Cistercian church, built in 1280, and we experience this place, this house of the Lord in a new way.

I imagine the church as a ship on a journey through time, with all the dangers and joys this involves, with all the storms, and the calm that returns again and again. Each age leaves it mark as it flows around the ship. People of each epoch actively shape it. The traces of the various artistic movements, the authentic spirit of each age, are preserved, if only we can manage to perceive them. But we must always ensure that this does not obstruct our view of that which is most important:

His word
His spirit
His light

Thus the idea of the vessels of mercy:
Minimal constructions symbolising the holy values.

Font - Empty, in expectation of the grace of the living waters
Ambo - Empty, with leaves from the Holy Scripture, in expectation of the Logos
Luminaires - Like our hearts, empty, for the divine light.

Constructions of steel and glass

Altar- the interface between heaven and earth. The place for participation in the heavenly supper, today, tomorrow; The church carries this sacrament into the future.

Inaugurated in October 2011


How it all began

In the spring of 2008 I attended a silent retreat the House of Silence. My favourite place for the periods of silence was in the church, although it was much colder there than in the sunlit garden. Over time I came to become more and more aware of the inner space of the church. The voice that intervened in my prayers seemed to be saying: Go to the pastor and speak to him...
I waited. The next day I heard the voice again. It was clear to me that I had to act. That day I arranged an appointment with Pastor Breithaupt. I was surprised how open he was about the precarious state of the old church.
This was the start of a gradual exchange of ideas. Things were not always easy, but luck was on our side.
Good workers and generous donors joined in. Today we can be pleased about the reconstruction of the church and celebrate this re-consecration.