Donation for church renovation

As we know, small causes may have large effects. It all started in 2004, when a part of the ceiling plaster in the old St. Willibald’s church in Büchenbach fell off. What at first seemed to be done with some minor repairs turned into a major church restoration. The evangelical church community was not able to pay the repairs with own financial resources and was therefore reliant on donations. Memmert managing director Christiane Riefler-Karpa gladly made a donation of 5,000 €.

The oldest parts of the Büchenbach church date back to the 12th century, as can be seen from the Romanesque window trimmers in the tower. Destroyed almost entirely in the Thirty Years’ War, it was rebuilt after 1648 and today, after several renovations, is a plain, but extremely atmospheric country church built of sandstone, typical of the Franconian region.

Building work in historical churches attracts the attention of preservation officers, of course, who did not permit the damaged ceiling to be replaced: instead, the plaster dating back to 1695 was reattached using screws and glue. Since the outdated wiring also needed to be replaced, the decision was taken to also install an induction loop, so that hard-of-hearing church-goers can also follow the church service.

The floor also underwent a general overhaul. Instead of a carpet at the entrance to the church, Franconian Solnhofen natural stone tiles were laid, which harmonise with the existing tiles in the central aisle. Pastor Nötzig, in charge of the building work, explains that an old floor was uncovered during this work, probably dating back to the 12th century. By the way, another special feature can be found in the church of St. Willibald: it is the only church in Bavaria to have a hop tower, built in the year 1608. To this day, hops are cultivated in the surrounding countryside to make beer, and since the churchyard of St. Willibald’s used to be surrounded by a wall, the farmers’ hops were stored here, safe from theft. At least the most essential repairs to the hop tower, the facade and the church roof could be undertaken, as loose tiles here and there were becoming a hazard to church-goers.

Finally, the entire interior of the church needs repainting. In a well-organised campaign, many volunteers helped to move benches, chandeliers and other movable furnishings to storage rooms. When they will eventually return the furnishings to the freshly renovated interior of St. Willibald’s, more than 150,000 € will have been spent on the renovation. Pastor Nötzig and his community are grateful for the many donations. So far, friendly companies donated 15,000 €, a sum which was matched by a further 15,000 € raised from private contributions.

As a thank you for the Memmert donation, a short tour of the church was provided, in which all the historical treasures and the building work were explained in precise detail. We agree that the money is being put to outstanding use and hope that many other companies and individuals will follow our example.

Donation account 313 505 at Raiffeisenbank Büchenbach, Germany, bank code: 764 600 15, reference: Church Renovation