Germany: Chemnitz’s circus special
by Jamie Garrington
ON an average Sunday, about 120 people gather for worship at The Salvation Army in Chemnitz (formerly Karl Marx City), Germany. In February this year, however, more than 900 people filled one of Germany’s most renowned circus tents (Busch-Roland) for a special Salvation Army worship service, including modern dance, a band, interviews, music and an acrobatic number by the circus performers, as well as powerful preaching by corps officer Captain Frank Heinrich.
Salvation Army clowns and young people welcomed young and old of every social status to a service with a difference.
This isn’t the first time that Chemnitz Corps, located about 50 kilometres from the Czech border, has held its worship service at the circus. In the last six years they have had four such opportunities. Members of the corps, which is known for its slightly off-the-wall, go-where-the-people-are outreach events and ministries, are excited about the awesome privilege they have had in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with hundreds of people who might otherwise never set foot in a church.
And, while the link with the circus is unusual, it’s certainly not unprecedented. Laurens Thoen, manager of the Busch-Roland Circus, spoke of the long tradition that the circus and The Salvation Army have had together. About 100 years ago, Salvation Army Founder William Booth himself preached in their circus on a regular basis.
The Salvation Army in Chemnitz, Germany, looks forward to its next exciting day at the circus.
Jamie Garrington is a Salvationist and works for The Salvation Army in Chemnitz, Germany