The parish of Blaydon and Swalwell is twinned with a Lutheran church in Germany. For a number of years we have exchanged visits and enjoyed discovering that friendship is not dependent upon our knowing the German language! Pastor Frank gave commitment and energy to this link and travelled many times to England to develop our partnership and support key events in the life of the parish and Diocese. He was a familiar figure with his black robes, distinctive neck ruff, excellent English and charming personality.
The meaning of the word eirene (and the name Irene) is ‘peace’ and around Remembrance Sunday, with associations of two wars against Germany, our twinning takes on significant meaning. It is a twinning of two congregations, not two buildings, and through mutual visits we have deepened our understanding of each other’s history and suffering, and strengthened bonds of peace.
The clergy have committed to reciprocal support of each others commemorations in November. Members of Eirene Church visit over our Remembrance weekend, taking part in the act of remembrance and laying wreaths at the cenotaph. Members from our congregation go to Hamburg to participate in the People’s Day of Mourning and the civic ceremony in Hamburg cemetery. As well as honouring the Commonwealth War Graves and the burial places of different nationalities of victims, they will stand beside the disturbingly long cross-shaped mounds that mark the deaths of 50,000 civilians of Hamburg who lost their lives during the blanket bombing by allied forces in July 1943.
At the entrance to the church are 3 bells engraved respectively with the names:
Follow this link to hear the Eirene bells:
Link to their website: