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

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

The First Site of the Church Service

by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler

     Many immigrants who came to Feketitsch brought their Bible and hymnal with them, often these were still the original copies which the settlers had brought with them from the Empire on the Great Schwabenzug.  It cannot be noticed enough that such sparsely available books of the ancestors in their original condition have great worth, like a magnificent shiny golden new copy.  Such books should be held in high esteem because of the family records which are kept in it and out of respect to their ancestors.

   The first Evangelical families attended the church service in Sekitsch and held religious meetings amongst themselves in their private apartments in Feketitsch and later in the rented schoolroom.  In 1829 the political community noted that an Evangelical "meeting" existed here.

   In 1829 the pastor's courtyard at the time was purchased.  On it stood a thatched house on the front corner, parallel to the homes of the day: Baschawerk and Seibert. At this house the community built on a hall in 1840 which served as school and place of worship and stood at the site of today's parsonage.  This school/prayer house was at the opened during the Sekitsch church fair in 1830.  Until 1829 there was only a church fair in Sekitsch.  From then on there were two church fairs which always fell together for 30 years.

   The first school/prayer house stood from 1830 to 1857.  During this time the school/prayer house was always full.  From year to year new benches were always added.  The number of schoolchildren steadily grew, the number of believers was always greater.

   The architect Kopitz finished the plan for the new building and received 50 Florint for it.  After that in the Spring of 1857 the old building was torn down, and according this plan the separate place of worship stood where the church stands today.  The teacher's apartment and school were at the site of today's parsonage.

The Evangelical Front The choirmaster's apartment, the new school building, the new parsonage, the church.

     The church, the old parsonage with horse stall, chancellery, the small and the big school and the choirmaster's apartment.

    The place of worship could be entered from the teacher's apartment only through a massive two-winged door into a dry entrance.

   The year before 34,000 bricks were already purchased which were not enough by far.  So the community bought sandstone from Katharina Bollinger, Philipp Laux, Ludwig Morell, Philipp Ringel, Gottfried Schuster, and Johann Wagner. 12,000 roof tiles were supplied by Conrad Butscher.  For the sand the leaders went to Despot Sv. Ivan.  The lumber was fetched from Stari Betschej and cost 644 Florint.  The carpenters, Friedrich Schmidt and Theobald Hauser, together with the cabinetmaker, Johann Stutzmann, made the benches in the place of worship.  Johann Gebel, the blacksmith, made the cross for the place of worship.

   While it was being built in the summer of 1857 church service was held in the German Reformed school/prayer house instead.  In this time the offertory was 9 Florint, 51 Kreuzer, which the Reformed church father Jakob Schwebler turned in.

   At the church festival in 1857 the new building was finished and could officially open and on the occasion of the church festival the community received many donations from the upper class of the parent community.  And on the church there was a placard which bore the following inscription: "To the church festival donated on the 1st of November, 1857, on the day of the official opening of the new place of worship, of the Evangelical congregation, from Johann Jauß, boy's teacher of Szeghegy."  Jauß is the late historian of Sekitsch.

   In 1862 the bricklayer Jakob Dietrich covered the place of worship with tiles and built an altar.  For this purpose voluntary gifts of 105 Florints, 75½ Kreuzer in Austrian currency flowed in.

   The place of worship was 10 fathoms long and 4 fathoms, 3 shoes wide.  It had two rows of windows.  The altar stood as it does today, and in the middle of the altar a pulpit was built in.  The benches were planed smooth and filled the place of worship.  From the entrance on the right more bench boards were brought in which had to replace a heavenly church.  On it there was space for the harmonious organ and the school youth.  The organ was ordered from Vienna in 1865 and cost 280 Florint in Austrian currency.  It had 8 stops and an attached pedal.  The choirmasters had decades to play the pedal with one foot, and step on the bellows with the other.  Later the footstep was so extended that the sexton under the choirmaster could fill the bellows by hand.  In the 90's the organ was moved to the left of the altar so more benches would be freed up to be used for seating.

   This relatively large but simple place of worship stood until 1903 when it was torn down to make room to build a magnificent church.

[Published at 2004 by Jody McKim Pharr]

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