“Merkendorf is paradise!”

Even though the weather was not so kind to the people of merkendorf this time, they still escorted their new deacon christoph gahlau in the procession from the parish church "kreuzerhohung" to the festival hall of the brewery wagner. He was also accompanied by peter barthelme, memmelsdorf resident and senior pastor of the gugel pastoral area and now also the new parish administrator for merkendorf. The altar boys were followed by the flag delegations of the clubs SV, RVC 09, the sportschutzen, the voluntary fire department as well as FC bayern munich fans and the church and community representatives.

Believers had to sit in the pews

Due to the pandemic, the service was held in the festival hall with about 100 believers. Others had to take their places outside so that the distance could be maintained. Churchwarden gunther knoll welcomed the clergy in the name of the parish council and the church administration merkendorf/laubend, the mayor of memmelsdorf gerd schneider (SPD) and the associations. Afterwards, the church administrator officially handed over the keys of the church to pastor barthelme.

Invitation to the kindergarten

Sandra wagner buried the two clergymen on behalf of the kindergarten and invited them to visit the little ones soon. Parish council chairwoman kerstin forster mentioned in her welcoming address that gahlau was responsible for the entire gugel parish area, but that he was based in merkendorf. "We are happy about it", she said "because a contact person on site is extremely valuable."

Father barthelme thanked for the funeral: "it is already, that one is accepted with you equally." He added that pastor hagel will continue to hold services here.

He went on to say that it is important for us as a parish to put christ at the center, because that is what the parish thrives on. In his sermon, he emphasized that "we are all servants in the vineyard and called by baptism." Then he praised the people of merkendorf: "i am pleased that i find a parish in merkendorf where things are very lively."

It is important, the pastor emphasized, that we are together as a church, that there are different parishes and different ways of faith, but the common church of god.

But since many other things have changed, barthelme asked: "how can this succeed??" It is necessary, he answered, that many people take part in it. Furthermore, one should take care of each other, listen to each other and look to each other. The preacher concluded: "the prayer for the deceased, the sick, the mourning and the weak is the expression of our togetherness." The service was musically accompanied by rita pfeifer on the keyboard.

Hymn of praise for the place

At the end of the service, the new deacon introduced himself. He began with a hymn of praise for the village and with his statement: "merkendorf is paradise"!" According to his statement, this was not only claimed by merkendorfer and laubender, but also by his beer friends. Their eyes lit up when he told them that he would be working here starting in september.

The deacon went on to report that he was married and had two grown-up children. He grew up in gundelsheim, where he was an altar boy and later a senior altar boy. In 2018, he was ordained as a deacon by archbishop schick and then spent two years as a deacon with a civilian vocation in the pastoral area of stegaurach-lisberg. 26 years of journalistic activity are now behind him, said gahlau, who most recently worked as an editor at heinrichsblatt.

About his new field of activity, gahlau said: "i don’t want to hide behind closed doors, because it is the deacon’s primary task to take care of people’s concerns and needs." In addition, the deacon continued, he had to proclaim the good news in the holy mass. But he also wanted to do this through his life, so that after the earthly paradise in merkendorf, the heavenly paradise would also come.


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