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A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler



Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors
     
 

The 100 Year Jubilee of the Congregation Mixed Couples

by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler

   On the 26th of October 1930 it was celebrated for the hundredth time, that the first school-prayer house was consecrated and the Evangelicals of Feketitsch could hold church services in their own place of worship.  The community prepared with the joyous hope of the desired celebration.  Occasionally this festival filled the church with the community to the last pew.  The everlasting beautiful chorale "Now everyone thanks God" was sung.  Senior Jakob Jahn relied on the written word of the gospel Matthew V., 1-10, whereupon the local pastor greeted the guests and to be precise: Bishop's administrator Dr. Philipp Popp, chief justice, the Senior, the representatives of the local German and Hungarian Reformed congregations, the representatives of the political community, the numerous representatives of our former beloved parent community Sekitsch, and the festival community itself.  After that the youth choir sang.  They followed with the main hymn: "I Know of Whom I Believe."  Bishop Dr. Philipp Popp entered the pulpit at this time and preached on the strength of Romans 8.31b.  "God is with us, who might be against us." - the festival sermon.  He thought of the love of God, which so far had provided the community with protection, described the sorrow of the first Christians which they had endured for their firm beliefs, led us to the difficult battle  our Evangelical ancestors fought for their beliefs; thought of our elders who in the past 100 years have built for God.  They were with God and God was with them.  However our future will be as we ourselves will be.  It was a festival sermon which is still not often heard in our nation's churches.  The men's choir sang "To You and Your Jehovah I Will Sing" and "A Solid Fortress is Our God".  Then the bishop said the closing prayer, gave the blessings and performed the baptisms of the little sons of the parents Jakob Butscher, businessman, and the teacher's daughter Erna Gotsch.

   In memory of this 100 year celebration Dr. V. Pratscher dedicated a church flag which already on the day before the celebration, in an arrangement with the bishop who had already arrived, was immediately hoisted on the church tower for the first time.  On the flag were the dates 1830-1930.

   Since the first Kirchweih celebration in 1830 just a hundred years have passed to the Kirchweih celebration of 1930.  The Evangelicals of Feketitsch have celebrated the Kirchweih festival a hundred times so far.  A hundred times with new hope, with fresh courage sown and firm beliefs in God built, trusting in Him; A hundred times the rich gifts have been harvested in

which the love of God reveals itself to us.  One hundred years during which the Germans diligently accomplished work, ending with a happy Kirchweih festival at which the Evangelicals of Feketitsch can thank the Almighty God in their own house of God.

   "Stand firm by His Word, as rocks stand, you gracious God, God of truth!

   Years and centuries pass, and still your goodness is renewed daily."

   It would be nice to be in our lovely congregation in the next 100 years so that the festival speaker at the 200th celebration can also say "God is with us, who might be against us?"

 Mixed Marriages

     Between the two congregations of Evangelicals and German Reformers there existed a peculiar agreement according to which all children of mixed marriages would be educated in the religion of the father.  As long as it was left up to the person managing the birth register in the pastor's office, everything worked out well.  When the registry moved to the council's office in the 90's, the religion of the newborn could be enforced by the regulations of the religious laws.  However both congregations strongly agreed.  So it produced ever greater confusion if a girl came from a mixed marriage from outside the village, a birth certificate would be demanded.  The child who is Evangelical according to the birth certificate and according to the law but is actually baptized in the Reformed church and goes to Reformed religious instruction, etc.  However, there are also numerous cases in reverse.  Of the 387 marriages the Evangelical community had in 1935, there were 106 mixed marriages.  In other communities it happened according to the law and the reverse was decided for the descendant's religion.  This offense was almost completely unknown in Feketitsch.  In just the same patriarchal way is the church tax for mixed marriages regulated.  It is highly questionable if this confusion could be stopped in the long run.  Mixed marriages with other nationalities is extremely rare.  Our Germans have never entered into a marriage with non-Aryans.  Converting from one denomination to the other seldom occurs, but it does nevertheless happen.

[Published at DVHH.org 2004 by Jody McKim Pharr]