The Alte Nikolaikirche (Old Nicholas Church) is the only Protestant church far and wide, which opens its doors each day to the hundreds of visitors and tourists, congregational members and passers-by, city employees and people in distress seeking a place of quiet rest and inspiration, information and assistance. Because of its location and simple beauty, the small early-gothic church, once the chapel for the city council, is a popular first stop for the almost ten million annual visitors to Frankfurt. Furthermore, the open door of the church symbolizes God’s „open-door“ policy and continual presence – day and night (not just at 11:00 am on Sunday morning) – to locals and visitors alike.
Recognizing a God-given opportunity for outreach ministry (some 650 million people around the globe will travel abroad this year), the St. Paul’s congregation has developed an outreach ministry to visitors and tourists. Volunteers staff the information table during the busiest hours of the day to welcome visitors (and love strangers), give short tours, and help those in need. Our ministry of hospitality takes many forms: providing Bibles in different languages; German-English mid-week vesper services; meditative tours of the church; the Children’s Corner; materials available in different languages, such as „Reflective Walk with Luther and Calvin – or with Goethe – through Frankfurt“; a centuries-old niche carved out as a place to light a candle and pray; concerts and art exhibitions; open church with music by candlelight on Friday evenings until midnight during the sumer months – and much more.
The Greek term for hospitality, a combination of two words meaning „love for strangers“, sets the tone for our work. The possibilities held out in Hebrews 13:2 encourage and inspire our work among visitors and „strangers“. And we have discovered, as Abraham once did (cf. Genesis 18:1ff.), that the one offering hospitality is often the one who, in the end, is most richly blessed.