Lüderitz church celebrates centenaryBy: TANJA BAUSE
THE Evangelical Lutheran Felsenkirche, which means ‘church on the rocks’, at Lüderitz is celebrating its centenary on August 4.
The church was named for the granite outcroppings that form its foundation. The cornerstone was laid on November 19 1911 and it was consecrated on August 4 1912. The church is not only one of Namibia’s architectural jewels, but also one of the oldest Lutheran churches in Namibia.
The number of German inhabitants in the town increased in 1908 after the completion of the railway line between Lüderitz and the interior of Namibia, coupled with the discovery of diamonds in the area around Lüderitz. The result of this development was the establishment of a more permanent European population in Lüderitz. The church was built on Diamond Hill overlooking Lüderitz. The proportions of the church, especially the spire, represent an English Gothic style known as Vertical Gothic, prevalent in the Victorian era, rather than the neo-Gothic preferred by the German church at the time. The church was designed and built by Albert Bause who implemented the Victorian influences he had seen in the Cape. The cost amounted to 46 000 German marks, which was donated by various sponsors in Germany.
The colourful windows of the church were donated by Emperor Wilhelm II and Johann Albrecht von Mecklenburg. The stained-glass windows came from the finest Bremen Company artists of the time, and are actually all that remains of the vast number of such windows created and installed by the company, but which were destroyed during the second World War.
The old Bible, which is still in impeccable condition, was a gift from Empress Auguste Victoria with a personal inscription from her. The Felsenkirche was proclaimed a national monument on September 21 1978. Visitors can visit the church daily from Monday to Saturday from 17h00.
On Sunday June 3 at 10h00 a service will be held by Pastor Walz. At 11h00 the 100-year-old Bible will be on display, as well as the 100-year-old baptismal font and communion cups.
On Sunday, August 19 a special service will be held by Bishop Reinhard Keding and guests from his congregation in Germany.