Small church makes it big
Many people are familiar with Tiny Houses for living and working. But does that also apply to a Tiny Church? The Free Evangelical Congregation of Offenburg has built one. The unusual building can be seen at NEW HOUSING.
It still stands inconspicuously on the site of an old petrol station in Offenburg on Freiburger Platz, very close to the railway station. Soon, however, it will be used for church services, devotions, perhaps weddings and more - we are talking about the Tiny Church.
Carpenter and theologian
Sylvia Kärcher is responsible for the construction. The 32-year-old carpenter completed her journeyman's certificate in 2012. Since 2020, she has been studying dual theology in Freiburg (from September, the private university will be in Karlsruhe) and works at the FEG. "I have already built two Tiny Houses - one in Turkey and the other in Brandenburg," says Kärcher.
Now she is in charge of the Tiny Church in Offenburg. "The idea for the Tiny Church came from our pastor Matthias Graf. He had seen a Tiny Church on Facebook. That's how the idea was born," the student continues. That was in July 2020. A year later, the idea was taken to the congregation. Whether the church would actually be built was not clear at that point. Kärcher: "We had set ourselves a goal. If two thirds of the donations had been collected by the end of October 2021, we would build the church. Otherwise, we wouldn't have started the project at all." And the donations came in - so it started.
According to Kärcher, the initial budget was 10,000 euros. But because the prices for wood - the Tiny Church is made almost 100 per cent of this material - have risen sharply since then, the construction is becoming more expensive. "The trailer and the windows alone cost 5,000 euros," says Kärcher. The windows are special ones that are also installed in cars. They have to be particularly resistant and must not crack in case of an impact.
The Tiny Church is built every second Wednesday and one Saturday per month. Volunteers from the congregation of about 50 members come together to help out where they can. If you want to donate, you can find more information HERE.
These are the dimensions of the church
Kärcher developed the design for the church. The church is three metres long inside, with 70 centimetres added at the top at the front. The width is about 2.30 metres and the porch, which is outside the interior, is 2.40 metres wide and 1.20 metres long. The trailer on which the church stands is about 70 centimetres high. When the room is seated, about eight people fit in. Without seating, the Tiny Church can accommodate up to twelve people.
Purpose of the Tiny Church
But why is the Offenburg Free Evangelical Congregation building the Tiny Church in the first place? "Actually, that was unclear for a long time. We will use the church for different things. The room can serve as a devotional or prayer space. It can also be used in pastoral care as a 'space of silence'. We want to go to different places in and around Offenburg, maybe be civic festivals. There are even initial enquiries, for example for the district festival or for a silent disco," says Kärcher.
In general, however, the FEG wants to bring people closer to God with the Tiny Church. However, the aim is not to win members for their own congregation.
Tiny Church at the NEW HOUSING
Anyone who wants to find out more about the project can do so at NEW HOUSING from 30 June to 2 July at the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre. In addition to information about the project, members of the congregation will be there, as will Sylvia Kärcher herself: "And hopefully we will have received approval for the Tiny Church by the time of the trade fair and will have finished building the church by then."