On Dec. 19, nearly 400 German natives, German language students, German-teaching professors from Tucson and Flagstaff and even English speakers with an interest in German language and culture attended the first German Christmas Service in Ahwatukee Foothills at Mountain View Lutheran Church.
The service started in the afternoon with the singing of German Christmas carols. Even those who did not speak German could participate, since they were familiar with most songs and could also read the German text provided. After six carols, the service proper began, featuring an organ, played by Shirley Boyken, a brass section composed of musicians from Desert Cross and Mountain View Lutheran Church, a recorder quartet, and a children's choir.
The German sermon was given by Pastor Ken Lentz, who studied in Germany at the Goethe Institute, received his doctorate from the University of Heidelberg and served at German churches in Mannheim and Buxtehude. He has served as pastor in Ohio, Michigan, Florida, California and Arizona. He is currently an interim pastor in Payson.
A group of readers around a manger scene addressed the significance of Jesus' birth to the poor, the old, the lonely and children. The 13-member children's choir supported the message with song.
After the service, visitors were invited to enjoy home-baked German Christmas cookies and tea. The event helped to connect German-speaking people in the Valley.
For more information about this event and next year's German Christmas service, contact Heike Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ingeborg Mack at (480) 961-4649.
Volunteers are needed for future planning to set up, clean up, bake cookies and any other help. A DVD from the event is also available.
Mareike Davis is a sophomore at Arizona State University and is pursuing a double-degree in computer systems engineering and German.