Why do more than 400 people attend an event that many can’t even pronounce?
Because the visitors to this event at Mountain View Lutheran Church’s share a common love of the German language and customs.
“Weihnachtsgottesdienst in deutscher Sprache”—“Christmas Service” in German—will be at 4:10 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17 at the church, 11002 S. 48th St., Ahwatukee, for the eighth year and likely will again draw people as far away as Tucson and Flagstaff.
“These are Germans, Austrians, Swiss and everyone who enjoys the German culture,” said Ingeborg Mack, one of the organizers. “The Christmas Service is offered for Christians of all denominations and even those who do not belong to any are welcome.”
In past years, she said, about 20 percent of guests could not speak German but got involved anyway by singing hymns that can be also sung in English, such as “Silent Night.”
Mack grew up in Stuttgard, Germany, and moved to Chandler 30 years ago.
A former deaconess in the German Lutheran Church, she has been a volunteer deaconess at Mountain View Lutheran for about 25 years.
The celebratory afternoon begins with singing traditional Christmas songs. The hour-long Christmas service starts at 4:30 pm with the ringing of the church bells of the Dom in Trier.
The brass ensemble, a children and adult choir and recorder ensemble “enrich the celebration with their music and remind many of their traditional childhood holidays past,” Mack said.
The question, “Why do we celebrate Christmas” will be answered in a short play presented by several children. The children’s choir and soloists will sing about the joy that the many Christmas traditions give people.
“But the wonder of God’s love is the real reason of the Christmas joy,” Mack added.
Pastor Cordula Schmid-Wassmuth will address the children with a special message and will also give the sermon.
Schmid-Wassmuth grew up in Namibia and in Wuppertal, Germany. She studied to become a pastor and served in congregations in Germany.
She lives currently with her husband and two daughters in Washington, D.C., where her husband is pastor of the German Congregation.
After the service, everyone is invited to the fellowship hour where tea, coffee and home-baked Christmas cookies brought by the guests will be available.
“This time is a wonderful opportunity to meet old friends and connect with new people and chat in German and have fun,” Mack said.