About our congregation

Wesley House, Spandau

After the Second World War, Berlin was occupied by the four allied powers of the Soviet Union, the United States, France and Great Britain. British troops occupied the boroughs of Charlottenburg, Wilmersdorf, Tiergarten and Spandau, with their headquarters at the Olympic Stadium at the Spandau end of Charlottenburg and most of the army barracks in Spandau itself.

The army commandeered a small villa between central Spandau and some of the biggest barracks, and this is what became Wesley House. Run by the British Methodist Church with an army chaplain in charge, it offered Sunday worship services, but also a "home from home" for British troops and their families, and was also open to anyone who wished to come in for coffee and tea, chat, English language newspapers and greetings cards, English breakfast and so on.

The end of the Cold War, and in particular the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, meant the withdrawal of allied troops from Berlin and, inevitably, the closure of Wesley House and the return of the villa to its original owner. The last chaplain of Wesley House Berlin, Frank Sykes, had established a good relationship with the pastor of the German United Methodist Church in Spandau, Hans-Hermann Schole, and some joint services had already taken place. It was decided that the work of Wesley House should continue in some form.

Moving to Charlottenburg

It was clear that the church in Spandau would be unsuitable for this project. Located in a residential district far from central Berlin, it was simply inconvenient and the premises inadeqate for what we needed. However, Pastor Schole was also pastor of the congregation at Charlottenburg, and that church building was more conveniently located and included a small shop unit that was at the time unused.

May 1994 was the date of the move from Spandau to Charlottenburg. The whole nature of the congregation's work changed dramatically as it shifted from catering for army personnel and their families towards providing for tourists, students and ex-patriots. The transformation, in other words, was from army chaplaincy to mission project, jointly supported by the United Methodist Churches in the United States and Germany, and the British Methodist Church. The chaplain was replaced by a minister, John Atkinson, who was sent as a missionary.

The original idea of continuing the work of Wesley House gradually changed, and today the Drop Inn provides the same opportunity for coffee and tea, a chat and sometimes a hot soup, plus some Christian literature in English. 

An international community

Our congregation changes almost from week to week, but we always have a variety of people from many different backgrounds. Some are long-term residents, others are visitors. We have had people from many countries, including Britain, Germany, the US, Russia, Nigeria, Cuba, Taiwan, Kenya, South Korea, Ethiopia, Columbia, Brazil and India. Although our congregation is relatively small (currently with an average attendance of 20), we can draw on a wide range of traditions and experiences.

Looking to the future

Rev. John Atkinson was replaced by Pastor Romesh Modayil in Oct 2002 and under his leadership we have continued to build on these foundations, serving the needs of the international English-speaking community in Berlin. Pastor Modayil served the church for another 10 years and completed his ministry with us in July 2012. Rev. Carolyn Kappauf, although retired, continued serving our congregation until the end of 2022. Anja Müller has now taken over as local pastor, both to the German and the International congregations in Charlottenburg

With God's help we aim to continue growing and developing into a vibrant Christian community, united in our faith and fellowship with one another.

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