Service of Installation (Einführung) for Pastor Jochen Dallas in St.-Gallus-Kirche, Altenesch.

Jochen talking to us in the
Kapelle Am Deich (his second, smaller, church)
(Shortly after publishing the following blog post I gave an address on Remembrance Sunday directly connected with my visit to Germany. If you would like to read that please click HERE.)

This Sunday I was honoured to have been invited to take part in the Service of Installation (Einführung) of my friend and colleague Pastor Jochen Dallas as formally he took up his post in Lemwerder in Lower Saxony in St.-Gallus-Kirche, Altenesch. Jochen had, until July 2012, been the Pastor at the Deutsche Lutherische Kirche in Cambridge and we got to know each other through the local ecumenical network. Over the nine years he was here I came to value him highly, not only as an example of a fine, thoughtful, intelligent and warmhearted Christian pastor, but also as a friend and weekly companion in prayer. Needless to say I, and the twenty-eight members of his Cambridge and other East Anglian congregations (who are a delightful bunch) with whom Susanna and I travelled to Germany greatly miss his presence and that of his wife and son, Stephanie and Christopher but we all know that life must move on. We are all simply grateful that we were graced for a time by their presence among us and wish them well in their new home.

L. to r: me, Bishop Jan Janssen,
Jochen (with his back to us)
and Pastor Holger Harrack
Jochen asked me and another colleague, Pastor Holger Harrack, each to read two short Biblical lessons and then to offer another short reading of our own choosing as, along with the Bishop of the Oldenburgischen Kirche, Jan Janssen, we lay our hands on Jochen's head to induct him into his new ministry. I chose Philippians 4:5b-7:

The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

To be asked to do this for a close friend was, for me, a profoundly moving moment - a high point in my own religious journey.

At the reception afterwards in the Gemeindehaus.
Afterwards the round about one-hundred and fifty people reconvened at the local Gemeindehaus (church community centre) for a number of speeches and some splendid food. I took with me, not only the greetings of the Memorial Church (where I minister) but also the greetings of the ecumenical group in Central Cambridge and our gift was the promise of an always open door to Jochen, Stephanie and Christopher.

A splendid occasion that will, I am certain, stay with me for a lifetime.

Here are two links to local news reports of the occasion. They are in German, of course, but, should you have no German, if you use Google Translate then you'll be able to get the gist of them

Weser Kurier: Amtseinführung mit Gästen aus England

NWZ Online: „Erst kommt das Weh, dann der Mut“

Revd Andrew James Brown and Bishop Jan Janssen

Jochen and me at Binham Priory, Norfolk
in May 2012
Lastly, below are just a few photos of Bremen-Vegesack where we stayed during this wonderful weekend.

One small part of the Lürssen shipyards looking across to Lemwerder from Vegesack

Looking downstream on the Weserpromenade

Autumn colour in the Stadtgarten

Autumn colour in the Stadtgarten

The Grauer Esel (Grey Donkey) restaurant where Susanna and I had a lovely meal 

Various Stube at Vegesack Hafen

Various Stube at Vegesack Hafen

Looking upsteam and the Weserpromenade

Windturbine blades being shipped downstream from Bard Emden Energy

A whale's tail sculpture by the ferry

The Schulschiff Deutschland in Vegesack 

Bronze, full-size replica of a blue whale's jaw bone at Vegesack Hafen