Pastor Christian Straeuli, Greytown
In the middle of the year 2021, Pastor Helmut Paul was called to continue his service in God’s vineyard in the St Peter’s Lutheran Congregation, Westville-Durban. He took up this call at the beginning of this year. After the Wittenberg members had decided to postpone their call until the 3rd of July, Pastor Helmut Straeuli graciously stepped in and led the congregation for the next six months.
Werner Straeuli, who served as vicar in the Congregation of Christ, Kirchdorf fully completed his studies on the 26th of June. He was overjoyed on the 3rd of July when the Bishop phoned him and informed him, that Wittenberg had extended a call to him to serve as their pastor.
Over the next bustling three weeks, Werner Straeuli moved his home, his wife Nadia, and sons Eli (2) and Liam (3 months) from Wartburg to a wonderfully prepared parsonage in Wittenberg.
Then on the 24th of July, the afternoon of the 6th Sunday of Trinity, at 15h00 Werner Straeuli was ordained and installed, in a Divine Service in the beautiful church Wittenberg that was filled with the congregation, as well as multiple pastors and other visitors and representatives of other congregations from the Synod.
Together with Werner’s uncle – Pastor Helmut Straeuli – and his childhood pastor – Pastor Matthias Albers – standing on either side of him as the assistants, Bishop Dieter Reinstorf ordained him as a servant of Christ’s Church and installed him as pastor of Evangelical Lutheran Church, Wittenberg. The many pastors in attendance came forward and spoke words of blessing.
The Bishop used the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 to show how God works in wonderful ways. He pointed out how in the miracle Jesus uses the meagre offerings of a small boy – 5 loaves of bread and two fish – to give the 5000 exactly what they need. He then equated the picture with the situation that now presently stands before this new pastor. Pastor Werner Straeuli, a single man, “a small boy” freshly out of seminary, is now called to serve a big congregation. He is called to give what he has. He is called to give his meagre offerings. It is a situation that might confound us, and we might doubt that it will work, but the bishop then pointed out, that is how Christ has always worked, because, in Christ, the congregation will receive exactly what they need.
Immediately following this, “the small boy” immediately took up this role by giving what he needed to give, and he gave the Word of God, in a moving sermon on Romans 6: 1-11 where he once again brought the congregation to their Baptisms and the wonderful gifts God has given there, and then he administered the Sacrament of the Altar, offering to those who came – through Christ’s body and blood – the forgiveness of sins, the strengthening of their faith and the perseverance towards eternal life.
We pray for God’s richest blessing on Pastor Straeuli, his family, and the congregation, as he brings Christ to all.