A German evangelical priest has offered his parish church up to become migrant housing, but will be stripping out most of the fittings to ensure their comfort – including all symbols of Christianity.
Father Joachim Deterding, parish priest of the evangelical Königshardt-Schmachtendorf church in Oberhausen, western Germany offered his church to the city authorities this week, a suggestion they accepted “gladly”, reports der Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung.
It is the first time in Germany a still consecrated, serving church has been turned over to migrant accommodation, but it is entirely in keeping with the philosophy of the priest and his mission. The church website advertises services given in English for the majority of refugees who speak no or little German, proudly proclaims “Refugees welcome… we are all citizens with the saints and members of the household of God”.
If this is true, the massive changed being wrought to the church may seem odd. As well as clearing out pews, the altar, and the pulpit to make space for beds and kitchens, the church is also clearing out Christian symbols. This move has been calculated to make the migrants feel more welcome in their new home, reports The Express.
The fine Wilhelmine church, which was consecrated in 1906, will receive washing machines and daily food deliveries instead of the crucifix and locals going to pray. That is not to say locals will no longer be welcome at the church — Father Deterding is appealing for volunteers to help convert and run the migrant accommodation.
Although Königshardt-Schmachtendorf is the first consecrated, active church to be turned over to migrants, it is not by far the first church building to fulfill that purpose. Plunging church attendance across Europe has left hundreds of churches empty, and as Breitbart London reported in September, the Austrian Catholic church was already working to make 1,000 beds in them.
Former churches, monasteries, and vicarages were turned over by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna to predominantly Muslim economic migrants for their comfort. The Cardinal, who has been tipped to be the next pope, told other Catholic congregations in Austria that he expected them to do the same with their buildings.
While Cardinal Schönborn was turning over his own churches to migrants, some other bishops even presume to order churches outside of their jurisdictions to de-Christianify for the pleasure of Muslim newcomers. Breitbart London reported in October on the world’s first openly lesbian bishop, Eva Brunne of Stockholm when she ordered a church in the dockyards of her city to remove crosses, make space for prayer mats, and mark the direction to Mecca.
Taking to her official blog, bishop Brunne called Muslims “angels” and argued that removing Christian symbols from the church made you no less a Christian. To do any less would instead make one “stingy towards people of other faiths”.
One major roadblock stood in the way of the married, lesbian bishop getting her way, however. As the church in question was part of the seaman’s mission, it was independent of the church of Sweden and the bishop had no jurisdiction over it. The church coordinator told local media they would not be removing the cross, and while Muslims were welcome to pray there it was their “choice to go in there” in the first place.
Follow Oliver Lane on Twitter: Follow @Oliver_Lane or e-mail to: email@example.com