Lions get ‘tour’ of Germany by Rev. Tiews

From left are Program Chairman Lion David Fetgatter, Rev. Dr. Lion Christian Tiews, and President Lion Duaine Janzen. (Photo and information provided by Dean Craig, with excerpts from Kaitlyn Dillard, Okmulgee Times staff writer).


Okmulgee Lions Club


Tuesday's Lions Club meeting was another outstanding program of local interest provided by Rev. Dr. Lion Christian Tiews, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, regarding a recent tour of Germany, conducted by him and his wife, Lula.  The tour was in June and consisted of 42 people from six different states, and was centered around the 500 year celebration of the Reformation, beginning on October 31, 1517.  Since Pastor Tiews was born in Munich, Germany, it was kind of like a "homecoming" to him.

The history of Germany is quite a remarkable story but unless you are a real history buff, unlike myself, it is somewhat difficult to follow. Prior to "the war" (WW II), Germany was all one country, but after the war, it was divided into four sectors by the four Allies--the United States, Russia, Britain, and French.  Three of the Allies relinquished their sectors but Russia kept theirs, technically creating "The Wall" that separated East and West Germany (and East and West Berlin, as well) from 1961-89. Among other places, the tour group also visited Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, for U.S. military the main border crossing into the East during that period. According to Pastor Tiews, you cannot tell the difference now, going from East to West, because East Germany is now completely "westernized" with shopping malls and other modern amenities. Modern-day, reunited Germany is about 1/2 the size of Texas but with a population of 81 million people.

The history and life of Martin Luther is an amazing story and Pastor Tiews told us a bit of history that I doubt any of us knew--Luther's last name was actually Luder, but he changed it to Luther because Luder in the German language is a derogatory term for women. Also, by changing it to “Luther””—similar to the Greek word for “free—the Reformer was proclaiming the freedom that Jesus won for all of us on the cross—a message that had been lost for centuries but which Luther rediscovered for Christianity. This is the main point of the Protestant Reformation. Pastor Tiews' Powerpoint program showed a lot of historical sites, such as: Wittenberg (where the Reformation began); the City Church and the Castle Church, where Pastor Tiews preached during the culmination at a festival titled "Luther's Wedding", which is an annual event celebrating the wedding of Martin and Katie Luther in 1525 and in which many couples renew their wedding vows; Buchenwald Concentration Camp; and Neuschwanstein Castle, after which the castles at Disney Land/Disney World were modeled.

One church the group visited—Trinity Lutheran in Berlin--is pastored by a personal friend of Pastor Tiews and started out with around 50 members but now numbers around 1,600 members due to a lot of former Muslims converting to Lutheran Christianity. The services last about three hours, with no complaints.  While in Germany, Pastor Tiews also met Andy Ray from Winfield, Kansas, who is a great-great-great... nephew (15 generations back) of Martin Luther.  What another outstanding program and proof that the world is continually "shrinking" because wherever we may go, we can usually meet someone with a commonality, whether they are from Okmulgee, the State of Oklahoma, or the United States, or maybe related to you or to someone you know.  And a good way to develop a commonality is to attend another one of our upcoming outstanding programs and help us provide for our community.  "WE SERVE".


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