In Mannheim and Karlsruhe, the season of Vesperkirchen in the south-west opened on Sunday. This year, due to higher prices for heating and food, more people could take advantage of the church's offer of a warm lunch. "Because of the energy crisis, it could be that the pre-corona number of 13,000 meals distributed will be exceeded," said deaconry spokeswoman Jessica Lammer in Mannheim. Poverty in old age, loneliness and homelessness are the reasons for visiting Vesperkirchen in the country. In addition to the meal, visitors have access to medical, dental and veterinary care and advice from social workers. There are also free haircuts in some places.
In Karlsruhe, the infection situation is still being taken into account with a concept of huts around the Johanniskirche, in which clothing or coffee and tea are offered. Anyone wishing to enter the church must wear a mask. Food is take away. Last year, around 8,500 meals were distributed to the needy in the courtyards around St. John's Church, and 3,000 meals were also delivered to the homeless and alcohol addicts.
In Mannheim, on the other hand, food-to-go is only offered on a small scale. After all, the focus of the Vesper churches is on the experience of eating together, Lammer said. There is a meat and a vegetarian dish to choose from every day on the menu in the Konkordienkirche. To start, there were stewed pork cheeks with lentils and pea soup with bread. A total of 425 meals were served on the opening day, including around 70 to take away. Over 400 snack bags with cheese or sausage rolls, chocolate and oranges were distributed.
Everyone pays as much as they can for the meal. There are no controls in the church with its 250 seats. Lammer estimates the costs at 150,000 to 190,000 euros. In Karlsruhe, food is generally free.
The largest Vesper church in the southwest begins in Stuttgart on January 15th. In 1995, the state capital was a pioneer of Vesperkirchen with the Leonhardskirche, of which there are now around 40 nationwide.
Vesperkirche Stuttgart Vesperkirche Mannheim