Church exchange has Germans in Pa.

April 27, 1997


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Americans are always sitting in their cars.

At least that's one of the impressions a group of 12 visitors from Potsdam, Germany, will take back to their country after a month in the United States.

Local families are hosting the German guests as part of a church exchange program between The Church of the Apostles United Church of Christ in Waynesboro and the Evangelical Church in Babelsburg, a part of Potsdam. The two chuchres formed a partnership several years ago.

Two years ago, the Germans welcomed the Waynesboro natives into their homes.

"The best thing is the families. It's nice to be with them and to learn the members of the congregation. We're thankful for the hospitality," said Ingeborg Schliephacke, who's husband, the Rev. Bernfried Schliephacke, is pastor of the Evangelical Church in Germany.


It's no wonder the group is awed by America's mobility since they've been on the road themselves their first week taking trips to Washington, D.C., Valley Forge, Pa., Gettysburg, Pa., Philadelphia, Hagerstown, and other points of interest.

"We've spent a long time in the car this week," said Rose Becker.

The Germans said that the distances between places in this area force people to drive. In Potsdam, which sits just outside of Berlin, residents can walk to most locations.

Though the visitors talked excitedly about their trips to the bigger cities, they have learned a deep appreciation for the vast amount of land in the area.

"It's very wide," explained Rev. Schliephacke, who with several others hiked to High Rock last Saturday.

Several group members remarked on the likenesses of town names and people's last names to those in Germany.

"It's impressive to find connections in American history," said Christa Stolz.

Arriving here from cold weather in their native country, members of the group said they've been enjoying the warmer spring temperatures in Waynesboro.

"It was very cold when we left. Here we can see the spring," Becker said.

Though none show signs of being homesick, they jokingly admitted to practically clearing out the supply of postcards in Waynesboro's Chamber of Commerce to send to their families and church congregation back home.

A few said they miss eating their native "good, dark bread," though some of the host families have tried their hardest to copy it.

"We've had wonderful food here," Stolz added.

All of them country music fans, the group is looking forward to the next leg of their United States tour to Nashville, Tenn. They also plan to visit New Orleans and then take a bus to California. On the way, they'll also stop at the Grand Canyon. The group returns to Germany on May 17.

The Herald-Mail Articles