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Author: Subject: St John's, Klitten, Germany
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[*] posted on 7-22-2014 at 08:11 AM
St John's, Klitten, Germany


The 140th JUBILEE OF THE DEDICATION
OF THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN JOHANNES CONGREGATION
OF KLITTEN, SAXONY, GERMANY

Translated by Margot Hendricks, Wendish Research Exchange

I. INTRODUCTION

In the historical writings of the fathers of our congregation we read repeatedly that we and our descendants maintain the pure sermon of the word of God and the pure use of the sacraments.
In the same belief we hope to express our hope for the future, as we celebrate our 140th jubilee this year. With thankfulness we look back at our forefathers in belief. They made huge sacrifices for this church. Their Lutheran confession had value, was of importance, and could not be sacrificed.
This historical brochure represents us and our forefathers as sinners. But to a greater extent it represents the great grace and faithfulness of the master of our church, Jesus Christ. During all periods of changing thought and the way we look at things we want to confess our love for our church. In this way we are in harmony with our forefathers’ confession.

2. DESCRIPTION OF LOCALITY

Klitten, district Niesky, jurisdiction Dresden, with the suburbs of Jahmen, Kaschel, Ölsa, Zimpel, Tauer, Klein Radisch, and Dürrbach, is situated in the area called Oberlausitz, along the east-west highway Niesky-Hoyerswerda and the train Görlitz-Dessau.
Klitten has a population of about 1850. Most people here work in agriculture, ranching, fish and forestry. 40% of the land is covered by woods. There are 12 trades of skilled laborers found, higher education and education in the service area. People of Klitten work in the power station at Boxberg, in mining in Bärwalde, and in industry and services of the neighboring towns.
The larger number of believers of Klitten belong to the evangelical church of the district of Görlitz. After 1945 a small catholic congregation started. The members of our evangelical Lutheran Johannes congregation also live in Reichwalde, Kringelsdorf, Boxberg, Weisswasser, and Hoyerswerda.
The possibility of mining in the Klitten area is being studied by experts and laypeople alike.
We want to ask God, our Lord, that all decisions will be made with correct understanding and a view towards future generations.

Herr Jesu hilf, dein Kirch erhalte
Wir sind arg, sicher, träg und kalt;
Gib Glück und Heil zu deinem Wort,
schaff, dass es schall an manchem Ort.

3. HISTORY

A look into the ever changing history of our homeland may open our eyes to the very great grace, which God our Father has given to our land and his congregation over the centuries.
The congregation of Jesus Christ lived and lives in the present world with its constant changes, demands, and disagreements. The biggest of all wonders of God is, that our Christian belief survived despite its many obstacles to this day.
On the occasion of our 140th jubilee we want to sing to the glory of God, as the Klitten poet and hymn writer, Johann Mentzer, wrote 300 years ago:

O dass ich tausend Zungen hätte
Und einen tausendfachen Mund,
so stimmt ich damit um die Wette
aus allertiefstem Herzensgrund
ein Loblied nach dem andern an
von dem was Gott an mir getan.

The name Klitten, in 1390 it was called Kletin, comes from the Sorbian word Kletka and means as much as bad house. The name is proof of the humble conditions at the time of settlement and the following centuries here in the area of Oberlausitz.
About 400 AD our area was deserted by the migration of the nations. In the following centuries Slavic tribes settled in this area. The Niederlausitz area was settled by the tribe of the Lusitzer. In the area of Budissin (Bautzen) , which soon developed into the center of all the settlements, it was the Milzener tribe. These tribes, which were also called “Wenden” (Wendish), had a belief in nature similar to that of the Germanic tribes. The names of Czorneboh (meaning black God), Bieleboh (white God) or Radegast (the God of War) are living proof of their belief. In the 8th century the conversion to Christianity started. The huge difference in languages caused great difficulty for the Wendish people to change, particularly because they were a people who took great pride in their traditions. Progress was slow.
Soon wars developed among the different peoples of the Germanic and the Slavic tribes. These wars were fought throughout many centuries and cost a great number of human life. In 932 AD Heinrich I of the House of Saxony conquered the Milzener and became part of the margraviate of Meissen. German knights received stretches of land as their own. The farmers became dependents of the margrave.
In 1032 under emperor Konrad II the area of Oberlausitz (Budissin) became part of the German Reich. Around 1200 German colonists from Thuringia, Frankia, and Swabia moved to this area and settled the towns of Merzdorf, Dürrbach and Reichwalde. Due to the rivalries among the houses of the princes the Oberlausitz was made part of the Mark Brandenburg in 1253, and ultimately as Mark Budissin in 1329 as part of Bohemia. It was a very restless period, as the knights hid in our woods. In 1346 the towns of Kamenz, Bautzen, Löbau, Zittau, Görlitz and Lauban made a pact to fight the knights. The war of the Hussites between 1419 and 1436 was devastating to the area. Only brief periods of calm allowed the people to strengthen while still under bondage to the princes.
In 1618 Oberlausitz situated next to Bohemia was pulled into the 30 Year War. Bohemia at that time enjoyed freedom of belief. Great losses were recorded among the Oberlausitz people. In 1635 the Peace of Prague gave the elector of Saxony the Oberlausitz as pledge for war expenses. But the struggles continued.
The pastor of Kreba, Bittner, writes about Klitten “When the Swedish came through in 1643, the church was set on fire, also burnt down the parsonage, the guest house, and two farms” The pest had spread everywhere. Many people died in Boxberg and were buried in Klitten. Kreba recorded 34 dead in one day.
In the next century which was peaceful, the government was led by princes who loved art. As a result the castle of Jahmen was rebuilt in 1648. Between 1720 and 1769 it was finished in its precious appearance. The church was also reconstructed.
1689 was the year of the huge burn of Klitten. It started in the forge, moved to the school, and 9 farms. The 18th century reflects Friedrich II (the Great) as the king of Prussia. The Oberlausitz was looked upon as enemy territory. It belonged to Saxony but was involved with the 2nd Silesian war and the 7 Year war. The population suffered much through the hardship of offering quarters and food to the marching troops. Bad harvests contributed to the suffering. In 1762 everything had become so expensive as they had not seen so much hunger in 100 years.
After the turn of the century new dangers of war became apparent with the reign of Napoleon. In 1806 the troops of Saxony and Prussia were beaten and forced to help with the war against Austria and Russia. In 1812 our home land became once more the land of the armies of Europe marching through. Chronicles of the time reflect the enormous suffering the Wendish people experienced, still a people owned by the princes, pressured into giving everything to their cause and ravaged by looting. Their houses looked more like the poorest huts. Only the successful ending of the battle at Leipzig brought the looting mistreatment to an end.
The Vienna Congress of May 18, 1815, gave our Oberlausitz to the kingdom of Prussia. In 1820 the submission to the prince was dissolved. Now the farmers were free men. An economic upswing was experienced. Trade prospered. The population of our villages changed the image of our villages.

4. THE CHURCH IN KLITTEN

In the year of 968 the diocese of Meissen was founded. Oberlausitz was part of it. The following excerpts of the “History of the Klitten Church and Congregation” by Rev. Dr. Alpermann refer to the evangelical church, which at that time was the church of our forefathers.
It is not clear when the first church was built in Klitten. Klitten belonged to the seminary of St. Petri in Bautzen. In 1415 a pastor by the name of Petrus Windish in Klitten is mentioned. Therefore, there had to be a church at that time. In literature of Meissen we find in 1495 that Klettin (Klitten) and Millekal (Milkel) are mentioned.
The oldest part of the church is the chancel area. It goes back to the time before the Reformation. It is assumed that it is the original church. During the Reformation period the patron Kaspar von Nostitz built the present church nave. In 1555 he donated the paintings above the altar and the bell in the center. In 1623 the family Witzthum of Eckstedt took over. Under their patronage the big bell was purchased in 1678. The same family donated the carved baptismal angel in 1699, which was destroyed in 1945. The same family had the steeple built in 1713 and 1714. The patronage of Johann Karl von Metzrat followed in 1741. He was rich, he loved art. He had the castle Jahmen beautified. He extended the church between 1769 and 1773, renovated the chancel, altar and ceiling, added on the sacristy and private boxes. In 1904 a huge renovation of the church was undertaken. However, on April 29, 1945, the church was bombed and burnt to the ground. 1947 the church was rebuilt with the help of congregational members.

5. EVANGELICAL – LUTHERAN CHURCH IN KLITTEN

At the time of the Reformation celebration 1817 the king of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm III, introduced the union of the Lutheran Church and the Reformed Church as the Evangelical State Church. This was done without any foundation of common confession. In 1830 under the leadership of Professor of Theology, Johann Gottfried Scheibel, and the support of pastors and congregations especially in Silesia a protest was staged against the mixing up of beliefs. But all requests for reinstatement of the Lutheran Church as we had known it were rejected. Lutherans who held on to their belief were militarily persecuted.
As Weigersdorf and Klitten were on the border to Saxony and by virtue of the economic and traditional connection to Bautzen, it was possible for our church fathers to find refuge with the pastors and congregations in Saxony, especially in Baruth. In 1840 the persecution of the Lutherans was stopped under King Friedrich Wilhelm IV and given permission to remain in Saxony and practiced their belief. In 1841 they were able to follow their own church rules under the legal leadership of Eduard Huschke of Breslau. The head of the church collegium would be in Breslau.
The confessional Lutherans of Klitten, called “Mucker”, first met at the house of the shoemaker Andreas Urban in Weigersdorf. They maintained contact with the pastors of the area of Bautzen. In 1843 the “alt lutherische (Old Lutheran)” congregation constituted itself Rev. Gessner of Freystadt led the congregation at first. Church services were held in the barn of the congregational president Lehnigk in Ölsa. After Lehnigk it was Grau, and now Werner Medack Bible studies were held in congregational family homes as far away as Wuscha and Mocholz. In 1844 the congregation had grown to 100 members. In 1847 Rev. Jan Kilian became their first pastor. He came from Kotitz, Saxony. The congregation grew to 800 souls quickly.
Planning for a church building was initiated. The church in Weigersdorf was dedicated in 1846. The foundation for our church building was laid on October 14, 1846.

6. THE EMIGRATION, A PATH TO NEW HOPE

Many Lutherans of the Lutheran confession lost their religious freedom with the initiation of the union in Prussia. Decrees ordered by the state of Prussia, under the leadership of Friedrich Wilhelm III, created conflicts of conscience. King Friedrich IV allowed for an independent Lutheran church, but the Lutheran Christians had their doubts. Religious disputes extended to the furthest ends of the German land. This constant quarrel caused many Lutherans to start thinking about a new home, a place where they could live in freedom and would not have to experience conflicts of their belief. Australia and America were countries, in which their hopes could grow. Their drive to pass on the belief of their fathers, to be free, to create a better basis for life, were some of the thoughts to follow such a difficult way. We don’t have proof of an exact number of people who emigrated to Australia. But we do know that in 1854 21 people emigrated from Rothenburg to Australia.
Churches of the area of Weigersdorf and Klitten left their home country and emigrated to Texas, USA. Rev. Kilian together with 577 believers started their journey across the ocean on September 13, 1854. 200 of these belonged to the church in Klitten. Almost all of them are registered with us. Many of them contracted cholera and died at sea. When they arrived in their new home country, they settled the town of Serbin. In 1869 a small additional group of Wendish people of Klitten arrived in Serbin.
In 1872 these Lutherans built their church in the image of their church in Klitten. Until 1947 church services were held in the Wendish language. Descendants of the original immigrants meet once a year for a festival in September, at which they celebrate their Wendish traditions.

7. THE CHURCH BUILDING

On October 14, 1846, the foundation for the Fachwerk church building was laid. Before winter arrived it was possible to finish the outside of the church and start with the interior work. Very good planning had taken place before the start of the building. On October 3, 1847, the church was dedicated. The cost of church building and organ amounted to 1800 Taler. At first it was not possible for the congregation to meet all cost. They had collected 800 Taler. But with their trust in God’s help they hoped to pay back the debt of 1000 Taler. Remember, that the daily wages for a laborer amounted to 10 to 15 Groschen.
In the center of the roof was a small steeple, called a Dachreiter. Later on a beautiful bell was mounted inside. Between 1870 and 1872 the steeple was strengthened to hold the bell. The first organ was built by organ builder, Krueger, of Cottbus, for 350 Taler. It was renovated in 1884 by the organ builder Stiller of Freystadt.
On July 1, 1891, lightning struck the church. The east side of the church received the most damage. Thanks to the quick action of a neighbor, the flames were brought under control. On July 2, 1891, the congregation held a prayer service. The little steeple proved not to be strong enough to carry the weight of the bronze bell. It was decided to build a massive steeple on the west end of the roof.
Further Building Measures:
After the consecration of the church building and after a regular congregational life had developed, it soon became clear, that further buildings would be needed. In 1857 it was possible to build the parsonage in Fachwerk style. Originally it was planned as the school, as was the case in Weigersdorf, it had to be rented out. One room was reserved for the pastor, and another room for leading bible studies and confirmation lessons. In 1888 the parsonage was renovated. Between 1862 and 1865 a small addition to the parsonage was built. It cost 300 Taler. It offered space for storing wood needed for heating the house, and storage of implements, and the horse which belonged to the pastor. He rode the horse from Weigersdorf to Klitten.
During the last 15 years essential repairs and restorations were made. This was possible as our present pastor, Siegfried Matzke, came to us as parsonage assistant in 1973. He was very dedicated and skilled with his hands and helped us make the repairs and restoration possible. The parsonage received a total overhaul which included more living space. In 1978 the reconstruction of the church building started. The stone walls were insulated, the windows replaced, and the east gable built.
By moving the separating wall with altar and chancel new congregational rooms were gained. A new floor was laid, new heating system installed, new benches placed, and the ceiling paneled. After all painting was completed the church was consecrated on 21 October 1979 in its present form.
In 1980 the repairs on the tower and the cemetery hall were completed and all buildings given a fresh paint job. Pastor and his congregation could now look back with a thankful heart. Most of the work had been completed by congregational members without pay. The congregation gave DM45,000 in addition to monies in their building fund.
We thank those who so willingly gave of themselves to make it possible to celebrate today our 140th jubilee, our church and parsonage in very good condition. Glory to God and joy to the congregation.

8. THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE STEEPLE

In 1930, the new steeple was built and dedicated. It was the period of great unemployment in the country. The construction company of Ziesche in Dauban was in charge of the erection of the steeple. Copper was used for the roofing. The business matters were taken care of by the president of the congregation, Johann Junker, with the support of Rev. Günther, and congregational directors Mathäus Wenke and Ernst Nyschan. The menial work was done by congregational members. Wilhelm Waschnick and Paul Rölke were present at all times. For the base of the steeple a 3 meter deep ditch was dug. Cement was poured. The walls are 60 cm thick and thinner at the top. The walls were built by Father Gröscho and son as well as Paul Krautz and our Martin Wenke. They put in one hour of work without pay per day. The steeple is 25 meters tall including the cross. All this was made possible without any accidents. The dedication of the steeple and bell was performed by a member of the consistory, D. D. Gottfried Nagel from Breslau. The title of his sermon was “I am well grounded, now I lift my eyes high”.

9. THE BELLS

During the war of 1870 against France many French canons were captured. The king declared he would give away the canons to poor church congregations in order to found bells. Our Klitten congregation requested to participate, as one of their soldiers had fallen at Paris. The king gave his approval. A French canon was sent from Berlin. The company of Gruhl in Klein Welka near Bautzen founded a beautiful bell for our church. It was placed into the roof gable (Dachreiter). On November 4, 1872, this bell was dedicated by consistory Böhringer of Breslau. Psalm 95, verse 1 to 7 was the basis for the dedication.
In January 1930, the congregation decided to build a new steeple and ordered two new bells. Professor Biele of Bautzen was in charge. The steel works of Middle Germany located in Lauchhammer poured the bells. On the 9th of November 1930 the dedication of the new bells was done by Dr. Dr. Nagel of Breslau.
These bells served their congregation for 12 years. The two larger bells were confiscated for war purposes and removed in 1942. Two new bells were poured in 1949 with the financial support of the congregation. The foundry of Schilling and Lattermann of Apolda poured the bells and delivered them. They were dedicated on March 13, 1949. All three bells have inscriptions.
The ringing of the bell in the center is the one which would invite us to listen to the word of God.

O Land, Land, Land, Hear the Word of the Lord! (Jeremiah 22:29)
With the large bell we want to call to the Lord and ask for peace
O King of Majesty, Come with Peace!
The small bell calls us for prayer
Your Word, o Lord, the Eternal Light, do not Extinguish It.

The ringing of the bells of both churches in our village is done in harmony. Our ringing of the bells is to be interpreted as pointing to the belief that our time here on earth is not complete but is waiting for the completion which is promised us in the eternal majesty in the kingdom of God.

10. OUR CONGREGATION DURING THE TIME OF NATIONAL SOCIALISM

The period of national socialism meant a challenge of special kind. Our clear religious point of view as well as our independence from the pressures of government to misuse the church should have preserved us. But who knows the serious conversations and discussions of that generation. Behind the façade of the economic upswing and the propaganda the basic erring of the ideology of the day could be presented clearly by the message of holy writings. Under the seal of secrecy information about arbitrary proceedings trickled through to our area. The catastrophe, the war, started. Our congregation was faced with bitter afflictions as God’s answer to human delusions of greatness.
Our men between the ages of 17 and 45 who had to serve as soldiers in this murderous war, lost 10 good men. Here at home the family Kiessetz and mayor Ernst Nyschan were killed by the war. Shortly before the end of war in 1945, our town was hit hard.
After the Soviet troops had moved to the Neisse River in the winter of 1944 to 1945, they started their last attack in the spring of 1945. Klitten became the battle field. On April 18, 1945, the bells of both churches rang the warning signal. The population had to leave Klitten. With carts pulled by horses or cows, with loaded wagons and bicycles the people moved out of Klitten. The animals in the barns were turned loose. A trek moved towards the West, others, especially those with cows moved towards the South. Especially hard hit was the first trek. When they arrived at Zeissholz, the front rolled over them. The refugees lost their carts and their goods. The trek turned around and traveled back towards Klitten. Since this town was still plagued by bloody fighting, the trek was directed towards the town of Kringelsdorf. Here they found protection with their confessional members. The trek which had left for the South did not incur any fighting. On April 19, 1945, the town of Kreba was bombed heavily by Russian troops. Houses were set on fire, and Klitten was occupied. On April 21, 1945, German troops moved out of the woods south of Klitten and attacked the Russians. After a hard fight Klitten was freed from the Russian occupation. The front moved to in between Klitten and Dürrbach. On April 29,1945 the 2. Polish army unit attacked out of Dürrbach. A big battle ensued which cost much life on either side. The evangelical church, the inn, the castle, several farms and barns were set on fire. The town of Zimpel was totally destroyed. Our church building received 7 shells. The roof was destroyed by 50%. During the first week of May the people returned to their town to find much destruction and their church badly damaged.
On May 8th, 1945, the weapons were laid down. The Soviet commander saw to it that peace would return to this town. Johann Junker became the mayor once more. The barns were empty, no animals and no wagons or carts to be had to help with the work in the fields.
Refugees came from everywhere. Some wanted to return to their home of Silesia. At Klitten, between the rivers of Neisse and Spree, refugees met in great numbers and did not know which way to turn. What was left of food and drink was shared. Then typhoid spread and others were killed by falling walls. Slowly a more normal life began.
The Soviet and Polish soldiers who had died were sent home or buried in mass graves. The fallen German soldiers were buried in the cemeteries of the evangelical church and the “alt lutherische” church. An engraved rock was placed in the cemetery of the alt lutherische church honoring all soldiers who had given their lives here.

Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich
Herr Gott, zu unsern Zeiten,
Es ist ja doch kein anderer nicht,
der für uns könnte streiten,
denn du unser Gott alleine.

11. DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHURCH MUSIC

The Lutheran church is a singing church. It is reflected in the bulletin, the liturgy, in the treasure of hymns. The organ is part of the church service. Considering the level of education 140 years ago in our country congregation it was not easy to find an organist. Pioneering work was done by the parochial teacher Dutschmann of Weigersdorf. It is also known that for a very long time the nursery man by the name of Mathei Jurz of Kaschel played our organ. Around the turn of the century Johann Junker, later on president of the congregation, and Ernst Nyschan, also a leading figure in the congregation, showed great interest in playing the organ. Father Jurz encouraged both, and the leader of the church music at the evangelical church, Gloner, taught them about harmony in music.
In 1959 Johann Junker celebrated his 50th jubilee as an organist. Hermann Urban played the organ. By his own initiative Urban taught himself to play the organ. When the organ was reworked by the company Eule of Bautzen, he helped with his own two hands. His three children, Irmgard, Helga, and Manfred learned to play the organ. Manfred Urban is our present organist. With thankfulness we recognize the blessed hand of our heavenly Father.
Playing the organ also meant for Johann Junker to have influence on the singing of the congregation. On the 1st Advent of 1909 Manfred at the age of 19 created the choir. At first everybody sang at the same level. Soon the choir had grown to 25 participants. Pastor Biehler supported the choir. The choir started to study more difficult music. As the choir director and the choir gained confidence, they offered more difficult compositions of music. Here and there a men choir sang hymns.
Over time the choir had gained great influence over the congregational life. After 44 years Johann Junker had to give up his music, as he had fallen ill. In 1953 his youngest son, Gottfried, took over his father’s position as choir director. For over 30 years choirs of various churches met and sang hymns in the diocese of Lausitz. They kept the choir music alive and brought much happiness to those who listened. Our church choir has been active for 78 years. Between 20 and 25 singers have belonged to this choir consistently.
The congregation does not only hear the sound and harmony of the singers, but also recognizes the loving service of the choir director and the choir in honor of God and Jesus Christ. Trombonists formed a choir. The founding of this choir is described in great detail by Johann Rölke, who was president of our congregation for 42 years.

The choir of the trombonists:
It happened in World War I in the Army. The captain ordered us to line up and shouted “Who would like to play the drums and fifes?” Nobody answered. At that moment Johann Junker pushes me forward, so that I am standing right in front of the captain. Then Johann Junker was called upon. So it was decided that he and I would be blowing wind pipes. But we had to learn it. The instruments were simple without stops. The next day we were sent to Löwenburg to receive lessons. Johann Junker became a drummer, but it did not go well. He changed over to become the bugler. After 4 years of war we had learned a lot. I had bought a trumpet in the meantime.
We decided to start a choir of trumpets and the like. We raised some money and made contact with Markneukirchen. We were 6 players. By the first Sunday in Advent, 1919 we had 10 members. The beginnings were hard as we had to teach ourselves how to play well. We ordered music books. We took notes of our progress. It was slow but steady. We now needed to find a choir director. On the 1st of Advent we played for the first time during the church service. The congregation said “one could hear you”. That meant we made progress.
Even before 1933 our Klitten choir of trumpets participated in the trumpet celebrations of the Lower Silesian diocese. We traveled to Freystadt or Liegnitz by bicycle. Even during World War II we continued to play. Instruments were destroyed but later replaced. We also enjoyed participating in the trumpet celebrations of the Saxony Trumpet Mission, which took place in our diocese. In 1961 Johann Rölke had to give up leading the trumpet choir. Gottfried Junker, choir director of the singing choir included the trumpet choir under his leadership. Hermann Urban was instrumental in recruiting young singers and instrument players until his death in 1981. At present our trumpet choir has 25 members. The Klitten poet of hymns, Johann Mentzer, says it best:

Ach nimm das arme Lob auf Erden,
Mein Gott, in allen Gnaden hin.
Im Himmel soll es besser werden,
wenn ich bei deinen Engeln bin.
Da sing ich dir im höhern Chor
Viel tausend Halleluja vor.

12. PASTORS OF OUR CONGREGATION

The pastors of the parish church Weigersdorf-Klitten had their parsonage in Weigersdorf. You could reach Klitten by foot or by horse until such time that there were bicycles and cars. Every two weeks the pastor would go from one church to the other. The president of the congregation would lead a church service by reading from the bible and lead bible studies. He would also take care of all other needed matters concerning his church and congregation. The following Sunday the pastor would lead the congregation. The alt lutherische congregation of Klitten had wonderful leaders in their congregation, who served the Lord and the congregation faithfully. The first 4 years Rev. Gessner led the parish church. Then Rev. Jan Kilian of Kotitz (he was Wendish) received permission from the Prussian Ministry to serve the congregation of Weigersdorf and surrounding area. He was installed in 1847. He served here until his emigration to the USA in September 1854.
Rev. Gotthold Albert Gummlich followed Rev. Kilian. He served the church for 7 years. In 1872 he moved to Berlin and became a teacher.
He was followed by Rev. Ebert of Döbbrick near Cottbus, for 4 years.
In 1865 Rev. Julius Martin Greve was elected to lead the parish church. After 10 years of service he had to resign due to serious illness.
Rev. Matthäus Urban of Tauer was called to Weigersdorf in 1875. He stayed for almost 30 years. In 1903 he retired in Crostau. He was buried at the Weigersdorfer cemetery.
In 1903 Rev. Johannes Schachschneider took over the parish church. In 1911 he took over the church at Meseritz.
Rev. Johannes Biehler took over the parish church of Weigersdorf/Klitten. He remained for 17 years. He supported our church music. In 1929 he became the pastor in Seifertshain near Leipzig.
In 1929 Rev. Ernst Günther became our spiritual leader. He stayed with us for 25 years. He led us through the difficult times of National Socialism. He and his wife are buried at Weigersdorf.
In 1945 Rev. Dr. Martin Kiunke and family had to leave Liegnitz and found shelter in Klitten. At this point in time the congregations of Weigersdorf and Klitten were separated and Dr. Kiunke became pastor of our church in Klitten. As all documents had been lost in Breslau and the relocation of the congregations of Silesia our church had to make a new start. Dr. Kiunke wrote new documents and was in charge of gathering the alt lutherischen congregational members. Seven alt lutherische families from Silesia found rescue in our church. In December 1947 Dr. Kiunke was called to the Theological University of Gross Ösingen (later called Oberursel).
In January of 1948 Paul Schröter, retired superintendent at the town of Brieg, came to Klitten and became our pastor. At the age of almost 91 years he died and was buried here in Klitten.
On 22 August 1954 Rev. Karl Andreas Eckert took over the parish church at Weigersdorf. As of 1955 the churches of Weigersdorf and Klitten once more became sister churches. He stayed for 22 years. He wrote rules and regulations for the congregations which were helpful for that time. During his tenure the agriculture experienced changes due to the socialistic government. Church and government were clearly separated. In 1976 Rev. Eckert received a call to Guben. He accepted the leadership of the Naemi-Wilke charitable organization as well as the parish.
On March 1, 1973, Deacon Siegfried Matzke was called to Klitten. He learned all the duties of a pastor. In 1979 he was ordained and became our pastor. During the period that Weigersdorf did not have a pastor, he also served their congregation.
One year after Rev. Eckert had left the congregation, Rev. Johannes Hübener accepted the call to the parish church. He stayed for 7 years. In 1984 returned to his evangelical Lutheran Freikirche (Freedom Church).
1985 Rev. Arno Böhm accepted the call to Weigersdorf. This church and the one in Klitten became separate churches once more.
We want to be thankful that we have had shepherds to this day who through the word of the Bible and confession remained faithful to the Lutheran church.

13. FINAL WORDS

On Sunday Misericordias Domini 1843 our congregation was founded. Our congregation in Klitten produced three pastors. Presently we have brothers who are preparing for ordination.
Before 1889 only the Wendish dialect was spoken. As of that year German was introduced every other Sunday. Almost 50 years later during the period of Hitler the Wendish dialect was forbidden to be spoken in church. It was a painful period for the Wendish people, who have such deep roots in tradition.
Some people walked for two hours to share in the Sunday morning service. Receiving the knowledge and blessing of God made these people strong. Our congregation has remained the same over many decades. Presently we have 269 members, 200 adults and 69 children.
The villages Weisswasser and Hoyerswerda offer one monthly service held in a private home. The pastor also takes care of church members in the area of Bautzen and Kamenz. We hope that congregational services will continue for us and our descendants until we are called to Heaven.

Psalm 27, verse 4:
One thing I ask of the Lord,
This is what I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
And to seek him in his temple.

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