In Loving Memory Of Karl Schiefer
Compiled by: Rev. Godfrey Cunningham – In Acknowledgement of the contributions of the Following Persons: Mr. Hans Schiefer, Ms. Sieglinde Ruehle, Bishop E.M.Temmers, Bishop Augustin Joemath, Bishop Brian Abrahams, Rev. Georg Meyer, Rev. Desmond Engel and Ms. Jo-Lynn Telling
Karl Schiefer was born on 22 January 1928 as the fourth child in the family in Beutelsbach in the municipal district of Passau in Bavaria in Germany near the border of the Republic of Czechien. He had three older sisters that passed on many years ago and one younger brother, Hans, still living in Beutelsbach. Most of this childhood years and that of this siblings were during the Second World War, which impacted his upbringing and the economic situation of his Family. His Father was a blacksmith and the 5 children and the family was poor, so the children had to help from a very early age. He learned a lot from his father that he could use later in his work in South Africa.
Karl was involved in youth work, but at the age of 16 years, months before the war ended, he was called to serve as a soldier. He never spoke about this time, but it must have influenced his decision to become a pastor. After the war he first had to complete his schooling before he could start to study Theology in Tübingen 1954 (Tübingen is one of the famous theological universities in Germany) and Schöntal 1956
Karl Schiefer was ordained in his hometown Beutelsbach in 1961. He served in the Lutheran Church of Württemberg in the congregation of Biberach.
1969 he with his wife Marianne had the opportunity to come as an exchange pastor to Genadendal. On their arrival in South Africa they first lived in Elim to learn Afrikaans and for their introduction by Bishop J. J. Ulster; 1970 the Schiefer’s were called to Genadendal till the end of 1977; He together with other roll players and the Moravian Church in South Africa were responsible for the electrification of Genadendal with the help of his European friends. Needless to say about his engagement in the Brass Band work of the MCSA. When Br Schiefer began to serve the Moravian Church at Genadendal as an exchange pastor from the Evangelic Lutheran Church of Württemberg; he became involved in the work of our Brass Band Union. He got involved in the brass band consisting of young boys in Genadendal, and taught them in absolute fingering, which at that stage had not been adopted by BBSA yet. He took the band on many tours to promote the absolute fingering system as the way forward for BBSA. This system was adopted by BBSA in 1974. He later continued this work with the Wupperthal band when he served the congregation there. Br Schiefer assisted us in many ways over the years, and one could say that this relationship continued to the end. In the process he and his late wife became our biggest benefactors by far. We will always remember him as one of the stalwarts of brass band work in the MCSA. We are pleased to have had the opportunity to award Honorary Life Membership of BBSA to Br Schiefer in appreciation of the sterling work he did in, and for our Union. He will long be remembered in BBSA, and our members will continue to benefit from his well-doing for many years to come.
They were then called to Wupperthal, where they did a lot to alleviate the social and economic situation of our people. At the end of 1980 they went back to Germany to complete his service with his church in Germany where he served the Congregation of Rotfelden in the district of Blaubeuren; his heart was still with the people in South Africa and asked the Regional Board to return to South Africa and specifically to help with the Town Development of Wupperthal; During the year 1989 he was then called to Wupperthal. Br Schiefer led the works in Wupperthal especially electrification with the help of friends in German & Switzerland; a minister in Switzerland Rev. Fritz Ehrlich helped him to set up a circle of friends in Europe; Eskom was also involved in such discussions with the Regional Board that went well; electrification of Wupperthal was done in 12 months through loans from ESKOM together with friends of Wupperthal German Branch; Rev Ehrlich saw to it that funds were properly managed; this was the start of the Friends of Wupperthal Trust early in 1992 which was then also legally registered.
Retirement was not meant to be resting for them. When one drives down to Wupperthal, all this concrete stretched in the street was done with the help of Karl Schiefer. Bridges were built or fixed; the electrification of Wupperthal was planned and implemented. He also organised some Ministers and even our Late President Nelson Mandela to visit Wupperthal. What else he did, you have to ask a Wupperthaler. I am sure it was much more.
Karl and Marianne Schiefer liked to travel and saw a lot of countries.
2003 Marianne Schiefer passed away suddenly and after Karl Schiefer had his first stoke in 2006 he moved to the St Johannisheim.
With immense determination he managed to walk again. He was called the walking pastor, since he did his rounds 14 times a day. (People have counted it)
He enjoyed Music and specially the brass band music. Quite a number of Instruments was organised by him to be imported to South Africa. (When Sieglinde they packed their container in Germany ready to be shipped to South Africa, Karl Schiefer gave them some instruments to bring with them and so all the others that visited Germany)
It was always a special honour for him when the Brass Band from Genadendal came to the St Johannisheim and played for him. (And also for the other residents)
Even after his stay in St Johannisheim, he was actively involved with Wupperthal, Genadendal and the Brass Band.
Karl Schiefer did not speak a lot about himself. His thoughts or what his feelings were, he kept for himself. He was always very polite and friendly.
He was always concerned about the needs of others and was always very generous, if somebody asked for help. He was very stingy on himself and regarded grand and flashy things as a waste of money.
A special love Karl had for the stars and the sun. He knew exactly, on the minute, for every day when the sunset and sunrise was. As long as he could walk, sunset time he was at a special corner at the St Johannisheim to watch it. He used to have strong telescopes to watch the stars at night.
When the need arise that he had to move to frail care, his consolation was that from the room he was supposed to move in, he could see the town and the sunset. Unfortunately only some trees blocking the view a bit. His last days were difficult and painful.
Karl Schiefer passed on, on Monday 24 February 2020.
The daily Text for the day on which he departed was taken from Lamitations 3:40 “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord”
Doctrinal Text: “He who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in Spirit” 1 Corinthians 6:17
May he now rest in peace!