by Kurt Maerschel
You might have heard that last Sunday, March 24, the Deutsche Kirche Dallas (DKD), German Church of Dallas, celebrated its first Worship service at Chapel Hill UMC. I know most of you might not have known until now, but I have been busy with this project for four or five months.
It all originated through an initiative by the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church called “New Faces, New Spaces.” As part of my internship at Kessler Park UMC, I attended a seminar which explained to us the goals of engaging communities in our vicinity with our faith. I had pondered about supporting a regular German worship service by that time for about a year and had held preliminary talks with some of the leaders of our German community here in Dallas. According to US Census data, 13,000 German speaking people live in North Texas. I know this sounds shocking – it shocked me for sure, but it shows that there is definitely the need for a German speaking congregation here in DFW.
The plan was to offer the service at Chapel Hill UMC because they are the home of the German International School of Dallas for almost 10 years now! While the school and the church are separate entities, the location serves as a hub for almost 80 German speaking families on a daily basis. Additionally, the church is centrally located on I-635 between Marsh and Webb Chapel and easily accessible from all parts of the metroplex. The congregation of Chapel Hill, as well as the Rev. Elzie Odom, Jr. and his team, received us with open arms and offered any support we needed. Apart from this, I was able to pick up on the work which has been done by Christ Lutheran Church and the Order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem who cooperated in bringing about three worship services per year (Advent, Easter and Reformation Day). A few years ago this German community was even served by two Lutheran vicars who were, unfortunately, only allowed to stay for one year. From both Christ Lutheran Church and the knight’s order, I received past church bulletins, logos, banners, a Facebook group, and worship material in German. This help was super important to us succeeding in such a short time. The fruits of this work was a service with 25 German visitors and several visitors from our hosting congregation.
Future services are already planned. On April 13 at 5:00 pm we will have a children’s service following the Easter Festival of the German School. Our Easter service will be April 21 at 4:00 pm. Both services will be followed with opportunities to meet people afterwards over coffee and cake.
I am thankful to God for all the volunteers who helped in bringing the service together and for all the professional help I received. The church is first and foremost the people that choose to attend and volunteer. Based on this observation, I do look very positively into the future for the DKD. Thank you all for your support.
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