Many a churchgoer in northern Germany may be surprised by the cool temperatures in their church at Christmas. The buildings are to be heated to only five to eight degrees. "It may even be possible to not heat some churches at all," says a recommendation from the North Church to the communities. The reason given by the North Church is the goal of being climate-neutral by 2035, as well as the increased energy costs.
"There are certainly cold churches," said the spokeswoman for the Evangelical Lutheran Church District of Hamburg-West/Südholstein, Monika Rulfs. But she doesn't think that's so dramatic: "During the Corona period, many services were celebrated outside, that was also possible." Mask) should be enough to celebrate a nice service at Christmas.”
Worshipers in the church district of Hamburg-Ost can expect slightly more pleasant temperatures. "At Christmas, most churches will be so warm that nobody really has to freeze," said church district spokeswoman Miriam Hansen. "For the first time this year, Christmas services will be celebrated without corona restrictions." Hansen believes that people know that it can get cooler and will dress warmer to attend the service. Some communities also provided blankets.
Church leaders cannot dictate that congregations turn down the heating. In fact, some churches will be as warm as usual. The Michel will be heated to 16.5 degrees on Christmas Eve and for the crib prayers until New Year, said the spokeswoman for the St. Michaelis parish, Ines Lessing. This is done because of the musicians and their instruments and "because the Michel is supposed to be a place of comfort, security and warmth, especially at Christmas time".
It probably won't get that warm in the main church of St. Catherine. “It will be contemplative with us and enjoyable at that!” assured Pröpstin Ulrike Murmann. At the same time, however, the municipality wants to make its contribution and save on energy and heating costs. "In this respect, we ask you to remember to dress warmly if you visit St. Katharinen as a church or concert visitor," Murmann writes on the community's website.
The environmental and climate protection office of the Nordkirche recommends for this winter: “So that church visitors, pastors and organists feel comfortable, woolen blankets can be distributed and hot water bottles can be brought along. With a little advance notice, electric seat or underseat heaters can also be installed, which are very economical in use.”
According to Rulfs, a comparatively pleasant 16 degrees should also prevail in the Friedenskirche Altona and in the church on the market in Blankenese. The Luther Church in Pinneberg near Hamburg, on the other hand, turned off the heating. “Our congregation is now dressing warmly and we have purchased a large supply of blankets,” said Pastor Harald Schmidt.
The Archdiocese of Hamburg has also advised the Catholic communities in the Hanseatic city as well as in Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg to save energy through lower room temperatures. "But there will hardly be communities that don't heat their churches at all," said Archdiocese spokesman Manfred Nielen. In the Hamburg Mariendom it will be 14 degrees warm for the services.