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



Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors
     
 

The Administration of the Congregation; The Church Chancellery

by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler

(From the report on the occasion of the canonical visitation in 1874.)

   The organization of the congregation.  The chairman convened  the elders in the investigation hall.  The elders carried out the assembly's decisions, prepared for the assembly's present subjects, and settled within certain boundaries church matters with reservation of permission from themselves.

   The general meeting (assembly) convened at least twice a year.  The main topics of the general assembly the pastor announced from the pulpit on the previous Sunday.  In the general assembly the minutes of the elders' session were read aloud.  It decided the majority  of the votes.

   The moral condition of the community.  In the ranks of relevant, praiseworthy Evangelical communities they were concerned with the religious sense, church matters, and observances on Sundays and holidays and their glory must be particularly stressed: the unshakable firm affection for the old beliefs of their elders.

   The activity of the pastors.  Between the community and their pastor prevailed the greatest love and harmony.    He held his sermon one year over the old Evangelicals and another year over the (epistolischen Perikopen?) and the main contents were put on paper.  The pastor gave confirmation lessons for two hours daily during the Passiontide.  Confirmation was celebrated on "Green Thursday" and Holy Communion was received on "Char Friday".

   The Church Service and on Sundays and Festival Days

   The church service.  On Sundays and festival days people were called together about 9:30 A.M.  This summons ended with the pastor's entrance into the church.  After this 2 or 3 verses of festival hymns or praise hymns were sung.  After that the altar service followed with a short prayer from the Vienna liturgy, after which the gospels or the epistles were read aloud.  Now the main hymn was sung and after 3 or 4 verses the sermon began.  Immediately after the sermon a longer church prayer followed, then intercessions for the sick, announcements of decrees and engagements, the upcoming festival days, or the usual changes and things which the public church services are concerned about, or knowledge which is useful or necessary to the community, and after the Lord's Prayer and the giving of blessings the pastor left the pulpit.  As the last verse of the main hymn was sung as the closing hymn the congregation left the church.  Baptisms were done on Sundays after church service or weekdays at noon.  Wedding ceremonies took precedence according to the law.  At funerals children had to be with a parent (Parentation?) until confirmation age but adults were buried with a funeral oration in the church.

   A report written sixty years ago shows that during half a century little has changed in church customs.  During the Lord's Prayer the middle bell rang.  In more recent times this prayer has been accompanied by the organ.  The giving of blessings took place after the preceding prayer before the altar.  The closing hymn in most recent times has been sung standing.  The order of church service should be absolutely uniform in all the churches in the land so that embarrassing cases would be eliminated where the Evangelical person in the Evangelical church in a neighboring village would no longer be able to follow along.  In general the people of the church are not accustomed to changes in the old-fashioned customs.  As with all such changes placing old customs in an inferior light could effect the interest in a moral religious life much sooner than desired.  This old theme continued to exist. "All rights are rooted in the community and the community rules itself.  Nothing can happen against their will." (Seniorat's minutes, 1935, page 32.) 

The Church Chancellery

   At the old schools (from 1872-1910) the church chancellery was just built on, as today, only the entrance was directly on the street.  Today's chancellery has its entrance off the school corridor.  At first there is an anteroom with steps up to the floor, etc.  Then follows the chancellery with a window on the street.  The chancellery is is 3 meters wide by 5 meters long.  It is the workplace of the treasurer and the church elders.  Here the members' dues are accepted.

   In 1930 the dues were fixed at the following amount by the assembly: The assessor was paid 20 Dinar for the couple's fee, the small homeowner paid 30 Dinar, the farmer paid 40 Dinar.  The share of the costs after state tax amounted to 16%.  Altogether 40,000 Dinar should flow in.  In addition the pastor's fruit was paid by couples, house, field, and commercial trade.  All fees flowed in promptly and local community members in arrears were dwindling.  Others were with the outside owners.  In 1926 the fatal decision was made that for purely technical reasons the surcharges of the state tax should also be taken as a foundation.  With it a uniform key and a lower percentage could be reached which was slightly fairer, but half of the outside owners refused to pay.  For this reason the calculations for the years 1924-1928 had to be revised concerning the outside owners.  This great work was done by the treasurer Christian Gerber free of charge out of  pure passion and love of his community.  At the same time it is a beautiful example of what an average farmer is capable of achieving today.

   The workspace for the pastors was in the chancellery.  Here the archives for the community were stored.  In 1934 a set of archives was furnished in the space on the left side next to the church entrance.  The first church seal was purchased in 1860 and cost 8 Florints.  In 1875 a second church stamp was purchased with a symbol and the inscription: Sigill. Eccl. A.C. Feketehegy 1860.  Since 1934 all of the churches in all of the communities in the land have a uniform seal.  The bears the inscription around the cross which reads: "German Evangelical Christian State Church in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.  Congregation of Feketic."

   The following men held the honored posts of church elders, treasurers, and inspectors, as far as has been noted: (until the 1880's the names of jurors and judges were also noted.)

CHURCH ELDERS:

Friedrich Kränzler. . 1827

Adolf Howe . . . . . .1831

Friedrich Epler. . . . 1835

Peter Bolinger. . . . 1835

Philipp Laux. . . . . .1838

Georg Kieß. . . . . . 1841

Johann Gebel. . .. .1847

Karl Diel. . . . . .  . .1852

Johann Freund. . . .1857

Philipp Schorr. . . . .1861

Friedrich Schmidt. . 1862

Jakob Häußer. . . . .1865

Paul Stroh. . . . . . . 1866

Friedrich Ruppe. . . 1869

Ludwig Webel. . . .  1870

Martin Pratscher. . . 1871

Jakob Schwindt.  . . 1873

Friedrich Hoffmann.1875

Reinhardt Stengel. . 1877

Johann Ruppe. . . . .1878

Michael Kinkel. . . . 1881

Heinrich Reitenbach. 1882

Michael Kinkel. . . . 1881

Leonhardt Roth. . . .1885

Georg Baschawerk. 1887

Peter Burger. . . . . . 1888

Johann Spengler. . . 1892

Adam Leibersperger. 1894

Kern Karl Sr. . . . . .1896 

Philipp Freitag. . . . .1899

Daniel Schnauthiel. .1901

Michael Scheer. . . .1903

Georg Ziegler. . . . . 1904

Karl Seibert. . . . . . 1907

Josef Stroh. . . . . . .1910

Johann Dietrich. . . .1911

Jakob Scheer. . . . . 1913

Philipp Morell. . . . . 1917

Christian Müller. . . .1923

Johann Müller. . . . . 1929

ohann Ortag. . . . . .1935

TREASURERS:

Philipp Huth . . . . 1827

Adolf Howe . . . . .1834

Christian Dðrr. . .  1835

Bernhardt Müller. . 1838

Matthias Bolinger.  1841

Georg Ludmann Jr  1844

Bernhardt Müller . .1852

Jakob Müller. . . . .1857

Johann Freund. . . 1860

Adam Müller. . . .  1862

Philipp Häußer. . . 1863

Karl Trumpf. . . . . 1865

Georg Ziegler. . . . 1866

Carl Spengler. . . . .1868

Conrad Gutwein. . .1870

David Rettenbach. .1871

Philipp Scheer. . . . 1872

David Kilz. . . . . . . 1873

Nikolaus Weber. . . 1874

Georg Bittlingmayer. 1875

Kern. . . . . 1876

Heinrich Klos. . . . .1877

Peter Gutwein. . . . 1878

Nikolaus Karger. . 1881

Georg Loser. . . . . 1883

akob Morell. . . . .1884

Ludwig Webel.. 1886                      

Johann Dietrich. . . 1887

Jakob Dietrich. . . .1887

Georg Karbiener. .1888

Philipp Häußer. . . 1891

Johann Burger. . . .1892

Johann Müller. . . .1894

Andr. Bittlingmayer. 1896

Karl Häußer. . . . .1898

Peter Burger. . . . .1899

Peter Gutwein. . . .1903

Nikolaus Karger. .1903

Peter Burger. . . . .1904

Anton Scheer. . . .1907

Heinrich Klos. . . .1910

Heinrich Karger

Adam Ludmann

Nikolaus Dietrich

Jakob Schwindt 1920

Adam Gutwein 1923

Georg Bittlingmayer 1923

Johann Ludmann 1926

Christian Gerber 1929

Joh. Schwebler H. 1935

JURORS:

Jakob Schwebler . . 1832

Christian Spengler .1836

Philipp Huth. . . . . .1839

Matthias Bolinger . 1843

Georg Ludmann Jr. 1844

Johann Ludmann. . 1845

Georg Huth. . . . . . 1846

Matthias Bolinger. .1847

Bernhardt Müller. . 1848

Michael Trumpf. . . 1849

David Morell. . . . . 1851

Peter Trumpf. . . . . 1854

Johann Will. . . . . . .1857

Martin Pratscher. . .1858

Karl Spengler. . . . .1859

Karl Trumpf. . . . . .1863

Stefan Gerber. . . . .1865

Johann Ludmann. . .1867

Nikolaus Weber. . . 1874

JUDGES

Christian Gerber. . .1868

Andr. Bittlingmayer.

Karl Trumpf. . . . . .1870

Nikolaus Weber. . .1871

Georg Karbiener. . 1874

Jakob Morell. . . . .1875

2nd JUDGE

Karl Trumpf. . . . . .1870

In the later years the above Judges and Jurors are not recorded in the church book, or only very occasionally.  It was desirable that these records be included again so that these men would be represented also in the interests of the congregation.

CHURCH INSPECTORS

August Pulsky. . . . . 1890

Dr. Ludwig Kern. . .1901

Dr. Johann Scherer. 1903

Josef Stroh. . . . . . . 1911

Jakob Morell. . . . . .1917

Peter Burger. . . . . . 1923

Peter Gutwein. . . . . 1929

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

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