(2.10.1936 – 7.4.2022)
A very personal remembrance
by Peter Ahlers
“The bells ring very differently, when it’s a dear friend who has died.” The truth of this saying was once again forcefully brought home to me at the passing of Hans Beier on April 7th of this year.
This tribute, however, is not about my personal friendship, but concerns his valuable contributions to the FELSISA.
Hans was not a man of many words, but of many deeds – that applies especially to his congregation, St Peter’s Durban-Westville, and to the FELSISA, which he served as a member of the Synodical Council for eight years, from 1990 to 1998.
The first time we worked together was in 1984, during the re-organization of the then completely inadequate pastors’ pension scheme. After the Synodical Convention had adopted a new constitution regarding this, Hans Beier – together with Dr Helmuth Eggers – organised a considerable collection within the congregations of the FELSISA to cover the substantial existing deficit, and saw to the establishment and administration of the Pension Fund.
In 1990, Hans Beier was elected onto the Synodical Council of the FELSISA, where he worked devotedly and with great love for all matters of Synod for eight years. During this time, I took many joint trips with him to meetings and conferences.
In June 1992, he enabled my travel to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) in the USA for preliminary discussions regarding church fellowship between the LCMS and the FELSISA, and to inquire about the possibility for FELSISA students to study at LCMS seminaries. Hans Beier then also participated in the doctrinal discussions between the LCMS and the FELSISA on 25.2.1994 in Piet Retief, which led to the establishment of church fellowship between the two churches in 1995.
Even after his time on the synodical council, the relationship with him remained – on synodical level especially because of the pension fund.
At the 2010 Synodical Convention, I was bidden farewell from the FELSISA presidency by Hans; and after my wife and I retired to Hillcrest, Durban, we met Hans and his wife Veronika regularly – at the St Peter’s congregation, and when we visited each other. “The bells ring very differently¼”
Our Lord Jesus Christ gather Hans Beier into the truth of His word: “Because I live, you also will live.” (John 14:19)
And I heard a voice from heaven saying: “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labours: for their deeds follow them!” (Revelation 14:13)
Translated by Pastor Tobias Ahlers