Faiths merge for German-speaking Christmas celebration

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German-speaking Protestants and Catholics in Pattaya enjoyed a rare joint celebration of Christmas filled with prayer, food and stage plays.

The Roman Catholic community began their Christmas with mass at the Pattaya Redemptorist Center’s St. Clement’s Chapel. Rev. Joerg Dunsbach of Bangkok led the ceremony for 50, blessing wine in remembrance of John the Apostle. Wolfram Reda played Christmas music at the keyboard and on the flute.

The cast takes a curtain call.The cast takes a curtain call.

After the mass, the Catholics marched to Naklua’s Begegnung Center, the meeting place of the German protestant community. Caretakers Elisabeth and Werner Schmidt prepared Bratwurst with bread, potato salad and the sweet Reibekuchen with apple sauce.

The Queen of Saba was played by Heidi Glemeau and King Salomon by Armin Knaubert.The Queen of Saba was played by Heidi Glemeau and King Salomon by Armin Knaubert.

More than 90 people came together, to enjoy the hospitality and friendship.

Elisabeth Schmidt said in her welcome speech that it must have been divine intervention that brought the faiths together, as the Redemptorist Center was unable to host the German lunch as it had already planned a Christmas party for 850 children following mass.

Everyone, she said, should take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about each other, put aside any differences over their beliefs and become true friends.

The Catholic guests put on a short stage play depicting the holy family’s escape from Bethlehem to Egypt, written and conducted by Pattaya Blatt’s Elfi Seitz. Mary was played by Ingrid Schneider, Joseph by Wolfgang Sturtz, Queen of Saba by Heidi Glemeau and King Salomon by Armin Knaubert. Seitz played a speaking palm tree in the oasis. Reda was the narrator.

The play inspired lots of applause and jokes and Rev. Dunsbach gave a primer on wine to further entertain the crowd.

No matter their faith, the Pattaya Germans assembled agreed Christmas had been a merry one and deemed the joint event such a success both religions are contemplating join festivities for Easter.