I’ve been abroad for almost six weeks, and in that time I’ve visited many different churches, mostly for sightseeing, but I’ve also been to four Sunday services. Only one of those was English speaking; I’ve also attended Polish-speaking Lutheran service, a High Mass in German and a service in Spanish, in San Sebastian de la Gomera. I know a few words of Polish, and a similar amount of German so I wasn’t able to follow most of the services in those languages, but I still felt welcome there. I feel more comfortable with Spanish, so I felt like I got the gist of the sermon and knew what was happening during the service.
In Vienna, many of the churches have a special programme of music for Sunday services. I attended the Augustinerkirche which was the Imperial church of the Habsburgs, and the music was by Haydn and Mozart. There was a choir and orchestra and the music was beautiful.
The English-speaking service I attended was in Bratislava, at the International Church there. They gave me a very warm welcome and invited me for coffee in a nearby bookshop after the service. The people I met were kind and friendly and it felt as if I was part of their community.
My church attendance abroad has been a positive experience. Faith is really important to me, and I feel that even though I don’t always understand the language, I’m still sharing in an experience with the other members of the congregation.