River Weser with town of Hameln behind

Christians Together in Paignton


Torbay-Hameln Churches is an independent body involving those who participate in visits to and from Hameln (Germany) the town of the 'Pied Piper' (der Rattenfänger)


Translation of article by Hans-Dietrich Ventzky, former Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Münster of St Boniface, Hameln that appeared in 'Münster-Bote' the quarterly magazine of the Evangelical Münster of Hameln, Germany - March 2002
The Beginnings of a long lasting Partnership with Torbay

The Beginnings of a long lasting Partnership with Torbay

On a Saturday evening in 1977 we sat in a splendid room in a hotel on Torbay Sea Front.

Gathered together were youth leaders and their colleagues from Torbay and Hameln.

At one table sat the fire brigade, at another the scouts, then there were the conservationists, trade unionists and others. At one of the tables sat the representatives of church youth work. The host was David Wotton, Officer of the Boys’ Brigade of the Methodist churches in Paignton. Right next to him sat the two youth workers from the Münster church and the town’s youth pastor. The organisations were hoping to anchor the Torbay-Hameln Twinning in the young people.

The evening drew to its close. The Germans asked the English delegates: "When and where can we go to a church service tomorrow?" The answer: "Come to our service! I’ll be waiting outside your door with the car to take you to the church!"

And that’s exactly what happened. A quick journey through beautiful scenery took them to Goodrington Methodist Church in Paignton, one of the Torbay towns. The minister of the church, Frank Rothwell, gave the guests a warm welcome. During the service there were only hymns which were also to be found in the German hymn book. After the service there was an invitation to coffee at the church. There suddenly the name of "Boniface" was mentioned, who is the patron saint of the Münster in Hameln and was born not very many miles away from Torbay in Crediton. "He is a son of Devon!" our hosts said. At the end of this gathering people said: " We should meet again! Perhaps we can inspire others too! " Indeed: That’s how it all began!

Hans-Dietrich Ventzky,
Münster-Pastor i.R.
(Article translated 03 April 2002 by Ian Doddrell)

Pastor Alfred Grosse, Revd Frank Rothwell, Pastor Hans-Dietrich Ventzky
Goodrington Methodist Church 1983
(Photo courtesy of Ev. Luth. Hamelner Münster St Bonifatius website)


Two of the founders of the visits meet - Hameln 2008
(Hans-Dietrich Ventzky, Münster-Pastor i.R. and David Wotton)