|321: Christ the King, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.|
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Mystery Worshipper: Father Ozarks.
The church: Christ the King, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
The building: The building was dedicated in 1957. For many years, it was shared with the Old Catholic Church of Germany; after they moved to a site in Bockenheim, some 12 years ago, the building and land became the property of the parish. A few stained glass windows and a sign are all that distinguish it outside. The nave is tall and the chancel is wide.
The church: Christ the King is under the jurisdiction of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe, which is linked to Province Two of the Episcopal Church USA. Its membership is 30 per cent American, 27 per cent British, 26 per cent German, and 17 per cent other (20 nationalities). A feature of Christ the King is the fluidity of the congregation; it has been estimated that there is an annual turnover of 25-30 per cent of the parish each year.
The neighbourhood: Located just off a major thoroughfare (Miquel-Allee), Christ the King adjoins a large public park and is only a few blocks from the housing units provided to employees of the American Consulate General.
The cast: Guest celebrant and preacher was Chaplain Roger Kappel from Hanau Army Base.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
Mostly full, including a small contingent from the Hanau Episcopal Chapel.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
The usher greeted us briefly as we entered. During the announcements, guests were asked to introduce themselves and provide a little personal information.
Was your pew comfortable?
The pews were comfortable, as were the kneelers.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Lots of quiet conversation.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
What books did the congregation use during the service?
The booklet "Enriching Our Worship," a contemporary-text missal prepared by the Standing Liturgical Commission, and the 1980 Episcopal Hymnal.
What musical instruments were played?
Did anything distract you?
The exuberance of the congregation was pleasurably distracting to one used to a more inhibited setting.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
People participated they sang, prayed and responded very actively.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you" (John 14:27) was the text. Father Kappel provided a number of concrete examples to illustrate this theme, including that of a family which never argued or fought but was unhappy. "Peace is more than the absence of war..."
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
Great music, particularly by the children's choir. Hearing their British accents made me think I was attending King's College.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Because it was Father Kappel's last Sunday at Christ the King (he has been reassigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina), a lay spokesman spent a lot of time thanking him and presenting a gift, followed by protracted applause (which I think inappropriate in a worship setting).
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
We followed the crowd to the undercroft for the coffee hour. No one spoke to us during this journey. Once we were there, several people stopped by for a brief chat.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Coffee, tea, juice and cookies.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
8 If I lived in Frankfurt, I'd be excited about regular attendance.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes indeed! As mentioned earlier, the participation level was fantastic.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?