Two Denominations, Two Languages - One Lord

The Anglican Chaplaincy St Boniface Bonn with All Saints Cologne, Germany, teamed up with the Old Catholic Community of Saint Cyprian in Bonn to celebrate bi-lingual Compline as part of Bonn’s  5. BonnerKirchenNacht (the 5th “Night of Churches”) on the last Friday in May.

Churches of all denominations in Germany’s former capital opened their doors from 18.00 – midnight so visitors could get to know and become part of about 45 participating Christian communities. The Anglican Community was invited to take part at the city centre’s Namen Jesu-Kirche (The Name of Jesus Church); the newly-refurbished Jesuit-Gothic church, shortly to be handed over as a cathedral for the Old Catholic Community.

The evening included a bi-lingual puppet tour of the church for children and as a way of getting to know people from the Anglican and Old-Catholic churches, visitors were challenged to a quiz on Biblical names using photos of many congregation members who share such names, and who were on hand around the church to share insights into worship at their respective churches. The Bonn English Singersdelighted a packed church with a workshop on four-part Anglican hymn-singing with the name-related favourites of At the name of Jesus, Join all the glorious names, and All hail the power of Jesu’s name. It was standing room only for ecumenical bi-lingual Compline with lessons read by Anglican and Old Catholic congregation members and a Meditation shared in both English and German by Rev. Andrew Sillis, who was appointed as Anglican Chaplain in January.

Following a call to serve in Germany back in 2006, Andrew put himself through intensive German courses at the Goethe Institute, London, in order to be able to finally take up his ministry this year. The evening concluded with a meditation on the World Council of Churches’ 99 Names of God newly translated in parts to again bring together two congregations of two languages. Commenting on the experience of his first KirchenNacht, he says “it was wonderful to see the city thronging with people enjoying the summer evening; the art and the music, and coming together in prayer. The city was alive!”

Information provided by Rebecca Sillis. Photos by Reiner Knudsen