Tag Archives: Tönisvorst

Churches in Kreis Viersen: 21-30

This is the third batch of church visits that I’ve blogged about. You can read about 1-10 and 11-20 as well.

Churches 21-30

Churches visited this time:

Churches 21-30

21. St Vitus, Oedt

22. Versöhnungskirche, Oedt

23. Kreuzkapelle, Kempen

24. St Cornelius, Tönisvorst-St Tönis

25. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Sankt Tönis

26. St Remigius, Viersen

27. St Franziskus, Süchteln

28. St Mariä Himmelfahrt, Bracht

29. Evangelische Kirche, Bracht

30. Evangelisch – Freikirchliche Gemeinde, Bracht

So this is the map of all 30 churches visited so far.

Churches 1-30

 

21. St Vitus, Oedt

Kirchplatz 2, 47929 Grefrath-Oedt

www.grefrather-pfarren.de/index.php?id=184

I visited this church on Tuesday 14 May, also visiting churches in Tönisvorst on my way to Oedt.

Vorst and Oedt TrackSt Vitus was yet another blindingly-obvious church in the centre of the small village of Oedt.

It seemed like an enormous church although was built right beside a fairly busy road which made it rather difficult to park Penelope near it – she ended up at the side, being dwarfed by the building.

Penelope dwarfed by St Vitus OedtThe church itself was built between 1901 and 1903 although the tower wasn’t begun until 1910 due to lack of funds. It was completed in 1912.

St Vitus Oedt 1As I was cycling towards Tönisvorst on the start of this little journey I could see a church spire and a bit chimney close to each other – it turns out this was Oedt. No doubt the chimney is a very useful landmark for the locals – it’s visible in this photo.

Church and ChimneyThe chimney is for the company of Johannes Girmes & Co, founded in 1879.

 

22. Versöhnungskirche, Oedt

Bergweg 2, 47929 Grefrath-Oedt

http://www.ekir.de/krefeld/kirchenkreis/grefrath-oedt.php

This is the Evangelische church for Oedt and was less than 200 metres from St Vitus.

Versöhnungskirche Oedt 1You can see the Girmes chimney in the background as well.

The church had a plaque on the front that showed it was built in 1957. I think I prefer the red brick look to the white concrete of most of the other Evangelische churches I have visited so far.

I tried the door to the right hand side of the church and, lo and behold, it opened!

There was this painting that I rather liked as you walked in the door.

Versöhnungskirche Painting

There was a lady pottering about in the kitchen to the side and she came out to see me. I explained I was visiting lots of churches and asked if I could have a look inside the main sanctuary. She said of course, took out some keys (it was locked) and unlocked it for me so I could have a peek in.

Versöhnungskirche Oedt 2

I asked about the white ribbons on the chairs – were they for a wedding? She said no, for their confirmation service which was taking place this Sunday.

The church had some very faintly-coloured windows.

Versöhnungskirche Oedt Windows

The lady then decided to show me around the rest of the church – it has several rooms which she said they let out to lots of groups in Oedt.

This was the main hall – it was prepared for the choir practice later that evening.

Versöhnungskirche Oedt Church Hall

I commented that choirs seemed really popular in churches. She thought it odd that most UK churches don’t have one. I guess it depends what you’re used to but I, for one, like the fact there’s plenty of chance to join a singing or other music group in Germany.

She then showed me another room which had a divider from the previous room (but the whole area could be opened out). This was set out for a social tea and cake afternoon that would be happening there shortly. And, yes, there was a black-forest gateau on the table. I left without stealing any!

Versöhnungskirche Oedt Cake EventThe lady told me she was 82 and still very much involved in the church. It gave the impression of a place that was well used which was nice to see.

23. Kreuzkapelle, Kempen

An der Kreuzkapelle, 47906 Kempen
http://www.st-mariae-geburt-kempen.de/unsere-kirchen/kreuzkapelle.html

I visited this very small chapel on the way back from a random cycle ride to Krefeld. The track I’ve included is from the Kreuzkapelle home, rather than the wiggly track of my outward journey as well.

Track to Kreuzkapelle

The Chapel is situated on the edge of what is currently a building site for new homes on the south side of Kempen. I realised I was in the right place, though, because of the name of the road – Alter Prozessionsweg.

Alter Prozessionsweg

The chapel was originally built in 1639 according to an inscription in the main door. The chapel was also mentioned by the Kempen chronicler Johannes Wilmius (1584-1655). It’s currently only open on Good Friday and for other special events – and it was most decidedly closed when I got there. The gate in the fencing around the chapel was locked and it was all quite overgrown so hard to see.

Kempener Kreuzkapelle

Kempener Kreuzkapelle 2

It also serves as the 12th Station of the Cross, apparently – I spotted two others on my ride into Kempen but haven’t been able to find out any more information about them.

Kempener Kreuzstation 1

Kempener Kreuzstation 4

24. St Cornelius, Tönisvorst-St Tönis

Kirchplatz 17, 47918 Tönisvorst-St Tönis

http://www.st-cornelius-st-toenis.de/

I decided to visit the two churches in Sankt Tönis (part of a general area called Tönisvorst) on the 22nd May 2014.

This was my route to these two churches from home.

Track to Sankt Toenis

As you can see, on the way back I diverted through Krefeld-Hüls (to have a slice of cake and to have more of a variety of roads for the journey).

St Cornelius is the church that you can see from a long way away as you approach Tönisvorst on the Landstraßen, although once you actually get into the town you can’t see the whole building.

St Cornelius ToenisvorstHere is the obligatory photo of Penelope outside the church.

Penelope outside St CorneliusThere has been a chapel or church on this site since 1380. Part of the current tower dates from 1483 but it was mostly rebuilt in the middle of the 19th century, with the rest of the neogothic brick basilica built from 1903. There was some damage in the second world war which was repaired fairly quickly.

As usual the church was locked (I guess the problem with the catholic churches is the expensive decoration within that can’t be left for random people to pinch bits!) but I was very impressed by these flying buttresses on the side!

St Cornelius Toenisvorst Flying Buttresses

25. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Sankt Tönis

Hülser Straße 57, 47918 Tönisvorst

http://www.ekir.de/krefeld/kirchenkreis/st-toenis.php

This church was just a short distance from St Cornelius (which was slap bang in the centre of Sankt Tönis), along the road that leads out towards Krefeld.

Evangelische Kirchengemeinde St Toenis

The flag that is flying to the right of the tower says ‘Kirche geöffnet’ – and indeed it was open!

Evangelische Kirchengemeinde St Toenis Interior 1

I walked up to the balcony to have a bit more of a look.Evangelische Kirchengemeinde St Toenis Interior 2

You can see how plain these Evangelische churches are. In some ways I quite like it but it doesn’t always feel that warm.

Outside was the now-familiar bell tower out on its own.

Evangelische Kirchengemeinde St Toenis belltower

26. St Remigius, Viersen

Goetersstraße 8, 41747 Viersen

http://www.st-remigius-viersen.de/remigius/index.php

I wanted to cycle to Viersen to check out the VHS (Volkshochschule, a kind of adult education college) so headed off on the 45km round trip. As I passed right by the main church in the centre of Viersen, St Remigius, I decided to stop and have a quick look. Here’s my track for the day, including an unfortunate diversion when I made the mistake of following official cycle route signs!

Track to Viersen and SuechtelnAnyway, here is St Remigius, a rather attractive light-coloured church but one which it was impossible to get in the frame!

St Remigius Viersen

There was a nice pedestrian square outside the church but it was still impossible to get a view of the whole building!St Remigius Tower

As Penelope wasn’t in the last two shots I decided to get a picture of her whilst eating a cake at a café which faced the church.Penelope and St Remigius ViersenI couldn’t find any historical information about this church on the website or elsewhere, unfortunately. Maybe some locals to Viersen can tell me a bit more about it!

 

27. St Franziskus, Süchteln-Vorst

Franziskusstraße, Süchteln-Vorst

http://www.st-clemens-suechteln.de/

As part of my unexpected diversion I cycled right by this church so stopped to take a photo.

St Franziskus Suechteln There were a few children hanging around outside this church on a Friday afternoon and I see from the website that there’s a kindergarten affiliated to it (although these children were too old for that), so it seems as though they have some events for youth as well.

However, once again I couldn’t find out any information about the history and buildings of this church on their website.

28. St Mariä Himmelfahrt, Bracht

Kirchplatz, 41379 Brüggen-Bracht

http://www.st-mariae-himmelfahrt-bracht.de/

I visited this church, and the two others in Bracht, on the way back from a gathering of recumbent trikes and velomobiles just over the border in the Netherlands. Here’s the route for the ride to Bracht.

Ride to Bracht track

St Mariä Himmelfahrt (which I visited on the day of Christi Himmelfahrt which seemed fitting) was another of the churches that are set in the centre of the town with buildings clustered around it. It was therefore impossible to get a photo of the whole church.

I caught this glimpse of the tower above a beergarden.

St Mariae Himmelfahrt 2

Here is Penelope outside the front door.

St Mariae Himmelfahrt 1

There seemed rather a lack of information about this church on the website – well, there was plenty of info about events taking place there but nothing much about its history!

29. Evangelische Kirche, Bracht

Königstraße/Ecke Marktstraße, 41379 Brüggen

http://www.ekir.de/krefeld/kirchenkreis/bracht-breyell.php

Just along the main street from the Catholic church was the Evangelische Kirche, looking initially just like one of the other buildings and houses along the road except for its spire.

Ev Kirche Bracht

It had this plaque on the wall with a short summary of its history.

Ev Kirche Bracht plaque

30. Evangelisch – Freikirchliche Gemeinde, Bracht

Stifterstraße 18-20, 41379 Brüggen-Bracht

http://www.baptisten-bracht.de/

This church is a baptist church (the first I’ve seen on my travels in Kreis Viersen, which is interesting compared to the UK which has a lot of baptist churches).

Baptist Bracht

The church has been in Bracht for 30 years and, as a free church, is not part of the state system. Their website says “membership of our church is of your own free will”. What this also means is that they don’t get church tax money so rely on the congregation to financially support them. They have a pastor and a couple of other church workers.

On the day that I visited, Christi Himmelfahrt, the whole road had been decorated!

Christi Himmelfahrt Decorations 2

Here is a close-up:

Christi Himmelfahrt Decorations 1

A look through their website gives the impression that this is very similar to a lot of the baptist churches in the UK, of the more conservative angle.

So I have now visited 30 of the 112 churches I have identified (green star means I have visited it, purple diamond means I have attended a service there, red pin means it is yet to be visited by bike)

All Churches Screenshot

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Churches in Kreis Viersen: 11-20

See here for my first blog post on visiting the 105 churches in Kreis Viersen that I have so far identified.

Churches 11-20

Churches visited this time:

Kreis Viersen churches 11-20

11. Kapelle Heumischhof, Kempen-Ziegelheide

12. Maria-Hilf Kriegergedächtniskapelle, Kempen

13. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Tönisberg

14. St Antonius, Tönisberg

15. St Josef, Vinkrath

16. Friedenskirche Grefrath

17. Pfarrkirche St Laurentius, Grefrath

18. Kapelle St Peter, Kempen

19. St Godehard, Vorst

20. Evanglische Kirchengemeinde, Vorst

 

11. Kapelle Heumischhof, Kempen-Wall

Am Heumischhof, 47906 Kempen

www.st-mariae-geburt-kempen.de/unsere-kirchen/kapelle-heumischhof.html

This church was visited on Monday 5 May on a short ride in Penelope the Velomobile (I also visited number 12).

CIKV 5 May Track

I’d seen a sign for this church when cycling past a few days previously but it turned out to be slightly tricky to find as initially I just thought it was a barn.

Kapelle Heumischhof Sign

Kapelle Heumischhof

The door (with a sign that it’s a Denkmal or memorial/monument) showed that I had found the right place.

Kapelle Heumischhof door

The door was closed but a lady came out of the house next door and I had a brief chat. She didn’t know much about the church as she just rents the house next to it but said that it isn’t open for services very often but that the caretaker lives a couple of hundred metres away and I could always ask to have a look round. I didn’t want to disturb the caretaker so just took a photo of Penelope outside before heading off.

Kapelle Heumischhof and PenelopeI’ve subsequently found a bit more information on the website of the Kempen Catholic Church: Kapelle Heumischhof. Basically the chapel was originally built in 1908 as part of a planned additional Benedictine Abbey to the one at Mariendonk. However the huge rise in inflation meant that the Abbey couldn’t be built but the chapel at Heumischhof continued to exist and served the rural population as a house of worship and had its own priest. In 1941 it was completely destroyed by incendiary bombs but was rebuilt in the same year. Since the mid-90s the chapel hasn’t had its own priest and services are now only held there on special occasions.

 

12. Maria-Hilf Kriegergedächtniskapelle, Kempen-Ziegelheide

Kapellenweg, 47884 Kempen-Ziegelheide

www.limburg-bernd.de/Viersen/DenkKem/Nr.%20146.htm

This was less than half a mile from the Heumischhof Kapelle.

Maria-Hilf Kriegergedächtniskirche Sign

In amongst a very small hamlet of maybe eight houses I found this rather attractive little chapel.

Maria-Hilf Kriegergedächtniskirche

The Denkmal website for it explains that it was built in 1875 in the Gothic Revival style. The residents of Ziegelheide had wanted to produce a sign of their faithfulness to the Catholic Church because of the culture wars around the time of the First Vatican Council (1870-71). They called the church Maria-Hilf (Maria-Help) as it was built in honour of Mary, the comforter of the afflicted and helper of Christians. In October 1926 the chapel was turned into a war memorial.

The chapel was shut but I attempted to take a photo through one of the windows.

Inside Maria-Hilf Kriegergedächtniskirche

13. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Tönisberg

Feldweg 8, 47906 Kempen-Tönisberg

www.ekir.de/krefeld/kirchenkreis/toenisberg.php

It’s surprising it’s taken me this long (five weeks) to visit this church as it’s pretty near, just three and a half miles away, and it’s also linked to the church that I attend in St Hubert (it shares the same minister, etc).

On a rainy afternoon I decided to pop out for a quick spin in Penelope and found myself heading towards Tönisberg. The clue’s in the name – it’s a mountain! (well, not quite, it’s a moraine and not thaaaat high) but I felt like I had enough energy to winch myself up in my heavy velomobile. So I did.

My Garmin had one church in Tönisberg but it became apparent very quickly that that church, the Evangelische Kirche, was not the only one – I could see a whacking great church spire which was not where my church waypoint suggested. No surprises, it was a large catholic church, which I visited next.

Anyway, this was my route to the two Tönisberg churches:

Tönisberg Churches Track

The Evangelische Kirche is tucked away down a quiet residential street with just a fairly small road sign pointing to it. It wasn’t even that obvious as the church tower was hiding behind a tree as you viewed it from the road.

Tönisberg Evangelische Kirche 1Up a bit closer it still looked a bit weird – like a bungalow with a strange concrete tower outside.

Tönisberg Evangelische Kirche 2And it looked as though it was built on top of someone’s house!

Tönisberg Evangelische Kirche 3

I wondered if this was the house of the Pfarrer (the minister) but friend Anja told me it’s where the church caretaker/verger lives. The Pfarrer lives in one of the houses opposite.

Despite having the church magazine for this church I couldn’t find out any information about its history except for a plaque on the front showing that it was built in 1974.

14. St Antonius, Tönisberg

Dr.-Laakmann-Gasse 2, 47906 Kempen-Tönisberg

www.hubertus-nikolaus.de

This is the church that was the owner of the large steeple I could see as I cycled into Tönisberg.

St Antonius 1

It was yet another of these buildings that was so large, but closely surrounded by houses and shops, that you can’t really see the whole thing at once.

This history plaque was beside the front door to the church.

St Antonius Plaque

In summary, there had been various chapels in the general area linked with the name St Antonius from the early 14th century. The present church was completed in 1898.St Antonius 2

St Antonius 3Reading the Wikipedia article on this church, it appears that in 2012 it ceased to have its own Priest and was joined in a group with the St Hubertus Schaephuysen and St Nikolaus Rheurdt churches.

It was a shame I couldn’t look inside as I expect it is rather nice, seeing how high it is. The external view is rather dark and forbidding, however, with all the red brick.

15. St Josef, Vinkrath

Dorfstraße 3, 47929 Grefrath-Vinkrath

http://www.grefrather-pfarren.de/index.php?id=183

On 13 May I decided to ride to Vinkrath to check out the church I had on the map as I wanted to visit Grefrath briefly and Vinkrath was on the way. I ended up visiting three churches (numbers 15, 16 and 17) and this is the route that I took:

Vinkrath and Grefrath trackMy route to Vinkrath went past Abtei Mariendonk (as usual), as I took the more northerly route on my outward journey.

St Josef is a beautiful little church set in the middle of a small group of houses that makes up the hamlet of Vinkrath, barely 500 metres from the larger town of Grefrath.

St Josef VinkrathThe website for the church (given above) seems to have an amazing lack of information. It just says:

Die vergleichsweise kleine Josefskirche in Vinkrath mit der großen Rosette über dem Hauptportal weist eine interessante Innenraumgestaltung mit zahlreichen modernen Elementen auf.

In other words, it’s got a large Rosette window above the main door and an interesting interior (which I couldn’t see as it was shut) which includes lots of modern elements.

I could see on my Garmin another church listed fairly near so I headed off to it but it turned out to be one of the wayside chapels – I’m not including them on my Churches in Kreis Viersen challenge!

16. Friedenskirche Grefrath (Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Grefrath)

Friedenskirche Grefrath, An der Ev. Kirche 23, 47929 Grefrath

http://www.ekir-grefrath.de/

Another modern Protestant church of the Square-Edged concrete variety.

Friedenskirche GrefrathThe red van outside contained a workman eating his lunch and there was another chap doing building stuff around the side. I wandered to the main doors (to the left of the picture) and found, to my surprise, that they were open.

There was no-one about but I thought it OK to take a quick peep inside the church.

Friedenskirche Grefrath Interior 1The stained glass windows were very pale – they let a lot of light in which was good with that very dark wooden wall at the front.

Friedenskirche Grefrath Interior 2I was pleased to be able to see inside – I think most of these protestant churches are better from the inside with the coloured glass windows and other decoration; the white, blocky exteriors aren’t very appealing to me.

17. Pfarrkirche St Laurentius, Grefrath

Deversdonk, Grefrath

http://www.grefrather-pfarren.de/

This church is right in the middle of the pedestrian bit of Grefrath and it took me a while to work my way by bike to the front (there were steps from the side which I decided not to drag Penelope up).

Pfarrkirche St Laurentius GrefrathThe church is the oldest building in Grefrath, parts of it being first constructed in  1492. It has a variety of different building styles – a romanesque tower of sandstone, gothic main church building and a 1960s extension of neo-romanesque red brick.

I liked the Greek ‘Ichthus’ (fish) lettering as you approached the main doors. For those who aren’t aware of this, Ichthus was an early code word for Christians, with the letters spelling out the Greek words “Jesus Christ God’s Son Saviour”. It’s why you get fish plaques on the back of cars – usually cars driven badly!

St Antonius Brickwork FloorWhat really caught my attention, however, was a stone memorial around the side of the church.

Grefrath Memorial 1There was a Menorah (Jewish Candle) design at the top and then some further engraving.

Grefrath Memorial 2It’s a memorial to the murdered Jews of Grefrath and Oedt in the second world war.

There was a list of names on the other side.

Grefrath Memorial 3I thought this was a very effective memorial and it is obviously used as a focal point for some memorial events, as this newspaper article from January 2014 explains.

 

18. Kapelle St Peter, Kempen

St. Peter, 47906 Kempen
http://www.st-mariae-geburt-kempen.de/unsere-kirchen/kapelle-st-peter.html

I visited this chapel (and the four churches following) on Tuesday 14 May, a day when the sun was shining and it was ideal weather for a little cycle ride.

This is the route I took to visit this chapel in Kempen, two churches in Vorst and two in Oedt.

Vorst and Oedt TrackI had been past this church before on one of my previous visits to the area, on the 17 March 2013, and had taken a quick photograph of it. Now was my chance to get a closer look.

St Peter Kapelle KempenThe chapel was shut, unfortunately, but there was a tall stone outside which had a fair bit of information.

Kapelle St Peter Plaque TallIt explains that the Chapel of St Peter is the oldest church in the Kempen area.

Kapelle St Peter PlaqueThe plaque goes on to explain that, according to legend, Charlemagne got lost around 800 AD in the woods here. After he found out his way out again, he ordered the building of this chapel.

Around 1000 AD the main body of the church and the east Choir were built in romanesque style. At the end of the 14th century the baptism chapel (today the sacristy) was built to the south.

In the belltower there’s a 50kg bronze bell that was poured in 1667.

There’s a bit more information about the interior and then the plaque finishes with the words “Every Sunday many believers from the local area celebrate Mass here” – it was nice to know that this chapel was still in use as several of the others that I’ve visited are no longer used for services.

 

19. St Godehard, Vorst

Kuhstraße 11, 47918 Tönisvorst

http://www.godehard-vorst.de/

This church is fantastically situated right in the middle of Vorst (as one might expect) but, as a bonus, there is a road directly opposite it so it means I was actually able to take a photograph of the entire front façade of the church for once!

St Godehard VorstThe church was closed but there was a very nice bakery next to it so I went and had a slice of cake and chatted to several locals.

According to the website of this church, it was built in the neogothic style in the late 19th century. The cross-shaped main sanctuary is 40 metres long and 20 metres wide and there is space for 2,100 people. The tower is 75 metres high and there are 100 steps up to the balustrade.

Here is a picture of the interior lifted from the church’s website:

After visiting this church I went to see one of the ‘unknown’ ones that I had found on my map of Kreis Viersen. Here’s the map with the relevant church circled in blue:

Vorst Missing ChurchTo the left of this (above the cup icon) is the red church symbol for St Godehard, the black church symbol to the south-west is the Evangelical church that I visited next (number 20 below) but I couldn’t find any sign of a church at this location slightly to the east of the centre. All I could find was a school there – and my Garmin (which has its own list of Points of Interest from OpenStreetMaps) didn’t have a church listed in this place. So it’s either a map error or a church that has been knocked down and turned into a school (mind you, the school didn’t look that new).

Mystery unsolved, I headed off to the next church in Vorst.

20. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Vorst

Lutherstraße 2c, 47918 Tönisvorst

http://www.ev-kirche-anrath-vorst.de/

This was yet another Evangelical church tucked away in a housing area but, rather unusually, it wasn’t painted white but was instead of red brick.

Evangelische Kirche Vorst 1

And from the other side

Evangelische Kirche Vorst 2It also had a rather dramatically unattached spire. It was extremely difficult to fit the whole thing in a photograph – I just about managed here.

Evangelische Kirche Vorst Spire

This was from the other side – better light but no chance to fit the whole thing in; I had my back to the wall of the neighbouring CVJM building (a German YMCA).

Evangelische Kirche Vorst Spire 2The website for this church is being changed so there was no information about it available.

20 of 105 churches visited

Below is a screenshot of my Google Maps document with all the churches to visit (red symbols). Green are those visited, purple diamond is a church visited and which I’ve actually attended a service in, and pink square is a church I couldn’t find (the one in Vorst today). Bearing in mind that I live at the top right hand side of the map (near the purple diamond of St Hubert) I’ve got some quite long cycle rides to visit some of the churches at the bottom left hand side in due course! Churches in Kreis Viersen - 22 out of 105

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