For almost 21 years, erich sauer has served as pastor in fuchsstadt, machtilshausen and feuerthal. In addition, he has been active for five years in the five other parishes of the parish community of saalekreuz. Now he is moving back to his home town of haibach, near aschaffenburg. The moving boxes are not yet packed, he said, only the easter and christmas decorations sauer has brought to his new place of residence and work after the festivities.
"It was always possible to work well with the consistently open-minded members of the community", woman of 51 years after long time on the scene "they care about faith." Not least because of this, he also liked to get involved in village life as a private citizen and was always present at carnival activities. That could be different in the new community: "because of the proximity to aschaffenburg, things are more urban there, personal contact could be less intensive", he suspects. Nevertheless, sauer is looking forward to the new job on the northwestern edge of bavaria. Instead of eight previously, there are only three operational sites there. "That makes the job a lot easier. I'm not getting any younger, he laughs. It will be more difficult to get used to the new environment: "I have to get to know and understand the circumstances and parishioners." He also had to position himself and set his accents.
Streamlined order of worship
Some things will certainly change in the new community. Perhaps even more striking, however, will be the changes for the parish community saalekreuz. The pastor's position has been advertised, but there are no applicants or interested parties as yet. "We have tightened the order of service and not every golden wedding can get its own mass", says sauer with a view to the future.
On the whole, however, things are going well, thanks in part to the retirees, full-time employees and volunteers. "The liturgists will have more work, since only with them can the service times be covered, estimates the chairwoman of the fuchsstadt parish council, romana heinemann-kufer.
It is precisely this commitment on the part of the volunteers that is particularly important. There will also be more work for the full-time staff, for example for the community advisor markus schlereth: "there is a whole position missing, we can't make up for it. We have to see what can go on and what can no longer go on." Nevertheless, there can be no talk of a pessimistic mood: "where one door closes, a new door opens. With new tasks we can grow. It makes no sense to go into the future with fear", says heinemann-kufer.
It may take some time before a new pastor arrives. "It could have been one or two years, suspects sour. At the moment, there are about ten vacancies in the wurzburg diocese. "One position with eight villages to serve could be daunting." Here, too, as in the rest of germany, there is an acute shortage of priests. "Nothing will change from one day to the next", says schlereth "we have to adjust to this situation." The question of how to live out the faith together as a local church was of central importance.
The church must be attractive and inviting: "today we must court every catholic more strongly than in the past. Church is no longer self-evident", says pastor sauer. The times had changed, and with them the attitudes of the faithful. "Of course, one could also think about the question of celibacy", he adds.
Nevertheless, the church has to keep its profile, says the parish councilor: "we can't orient ourselves to every current in society, that would be too one-sided." A stronger cooperation between churchgoers and the higher ecclesiastical offices would be desirable.
Saturday, 28. July, pastor erich sauer is bid farewell with a church service. Start is at 6 pm in the parish church in fuchsstadt. Afterwards the parade goes to the reception in the multipurpose hall.