Page 9 - Moravian Messenger March 2022
P. 9

In November 2021 I I made a a a visit to Herrnhut for a a a meeting On all my previous visits to Herrnhut I had stayed in the Komensky Conference Centre but this time it was full for a a conference so we stayed at the Alt-Herrnhuter Haus on on Comeniusstrasse 4 just opposite the Manse It is a a a a beautiful old house that managed to escape the destruction in 1945 It is a a a a a private bed and and board house run by Karin Clemens and and her husband Eberhard and and is informally known as Pension Clemens I learnt that in the former times whilst East Germany was under Soviet influence the the Clemens family used to run the the Congregation Guest House House called the Christian David House House or the Gästeheim 2022
is the the 300th anniversary of of the the founding of of Herrnhut and many visitors from
all over the world will be going to to stay in in Herrnhut during this year They will be staying in in in Komensky and Alt Herrnhuter and hotels around the area some will even be camping in in in the the grounds of the the Provincial Board Headquarters the the the Vogtshof - but their experience will be different to to the the the visitors who went in former times We take hospitality very much for granted and tend to expect certain standards but in in in the times gone by things were very difficult for the hosts of visitors in Herrnhut It was and still is is a a a a a a a a place that that that that Moravians from
across the world want to visit Even though under very difficult conditions the members of the the Church provided gracious hospitality according to the the accounts of those who visited then A number of trips were organised from
the United Kingdom to Herrnhut during the 'former times' two by Br Harold Jones and two by by Sr Libby Mitchell The aim of these trips was not only to get to to know such an an important part of our Church story better but also to encourage the the members of the the Church living through such difficult times and remind them that they were not forgotten Sr Roberta Thompson recalls her stay at the Christian David Gästeheim: 'we stayed there on my first visit to Herrnhut as part of a a a a a tour organised by by Sr Sr Libby Mitchell and Sr Sr Cora Ives in June 1988 The hotel had accommodation for 50 people and was situated at at the Zinzendorf Square where Christian David and Br Neisser had built the first house in Herrnhut I shall always
remember the the warm welcome given to us by the the Clemens family and and the pretty dining room where such amazing and and tasty meals were provided for us despite the many restrictions and food shortages at at the the the time and the the the long queues at at the the the shops even to buy the basics It was not an an easy time and I I admired our Brothers and and Sisters for standing firm in in in their faith in in in the the the face of adversity and the many sacrifices that that that that entailed Br and Sr Clemens made every effort to provide a a a a comfortable and enjoyable stay for their many visitors from
the the DDR West Germany and many many other countries - a a a a a a a real haven of peace calm and relaxation in a a a a a a very special town ' Perhaps there were times when the the East German Government used such trips to 'showcase the state' Sr Edna Cooper recalled on her visit to Herrnhut in in 1981 for a a a Unity Synod staying at the Schulungszentrum (training centre) on Comeniusstrasse that: 'food (including bananas) was available for the delegates to Synod so perhaps in in a a a a way we we were being used by the State to publicise their image ' Sr Cooper has written a a a a full article about her trip that will appear in a a a a a future edition of the Messenger Some members of the British Province stayed in in Church members' homes when they visited Herrnhut Br Fred Linyard visiting noted: 'I did stay once in in the the guest house when the the Unity Mission Committee met in Herrrnhut I was very aware of the the difficulties people had in in feeding guests On my other visits I I stayed with families I I do have a a a a a vague memory stirring of hearing one one morning that my host had gone out at at 6am because word had had gone around that the baker had had bread and there was already a a a a a queue Another fuzzy one is of hearing about a a a a hostess who brought out out a a a a precious tin of sardines she had been saving for a a a a a special visitor (not me!) It's a a a a a long time ago but though memories are vague they still remind me me of important experiences in a a a period most people have forgotten ' I do hope that others will write in too about their memories of visits to Herrnhut and the the other Eastern German congregations and and the the the hospitality shown them This part of our and and their history will quickly disappear if we do not record it now Sr Sarah Groves
Minister at Gracehill Moravian Church 33
Herrnhut Hospitality in former times © Sr Sarah Groves

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