German Intern Returns Home
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Peter Guerth of St. Stephen’s Bethlehem UCC Returns Home to Germany
Syracuse, NY (November 18, 2014) - The New York Conference of the United Church of Christ bids a fond farewell to German citizen Peter Guerth following a nine month position as both intern and then Assistant Pastor at St. Stephen’s Bethlehem UCC (SSBUCC) in Amherst, NY. Peter will be returning to Germany to assume his new position as Minister at the Christuskirche in Burgau. He will be ordained and installed in Burgau December 14th by the Regional Bishop of Suebia Michael Grabow.
The Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN) in Germany, and the New York Conference of the UCC have formed a covenantal relationship, allowing future German pastors an opportunity to experience practical training here in New York State during their final year of Seminary. Pastors in the NY Conference also have an opportunity to go to the EKHN to experience the German church if they desire. During his time at SSBUCC Peter’s duties focused on preaching, teaching, and pastoral care. Each Sunday he held different responsibilities which provided a hands on learning experience. He placed an emphasis on adult education and thoroughly enjoyed attending bible studies, the Lenten Program, providing church members with information about the German Evangelical Churches, and the ways of education for becoming a minister. His first three months were spent in an apprentice role, shadowing step by step the work of a pastor and learning the responsibilities owed to the church community.
By June Peter was able to step into the Assistant Minster position and assume an active leadership role at SSBUCC. Gaining experience preparing bulletins for worship, building community connections, selecting praise songs and hymns for service, fostering an open and affirming church community and preaching on Sundays are tasks that Peter describes as “An opportunity you find rarely and I loved it, the time of three months supplying opened for me the possibility to grow on my tasks and to become more of a minister.”
Peter offered a fresh, multi-cultural, and intelligent voice to the church. He not only gained pastoral experience and acquired mentors but provided SSBUCC with an eager young minster who dedicated his time here to furthering the work of the church and strengthening the congregational bond.
In his own words Peter describes his experience:
“I have enjoyed my time here very much and I am grateful for the support of you all. It has been an outstanding learning experience for me. I hope that I have been an appropriate "ambassador" for the common relations between our two denominations. I can only encourage other UCC congregations to reach out for their own (German) intern, as well as to encourage Germans to take on the outstanding experience of an internship here in the New York Conference. I hope I have helped to cement the ties between our churches.”
Some memorable moments for Peter included:
Going to his first hockey game and learning about the sport.
Mentoring and enjoying some downtime with some youth at the Regional Youth Conference.
And last but not least, spending time with his St. Stephen's staff family!
St. Stephen’s Bethlehem UCC and the New York Conference UCC will miss his presence around the conference but wish him the best of luck in his future pastoral endeavors.
For More Information, Contact:
New York Conference of the United Church of Christ