Monday morning we said goodbye to Bern and departed for the Sustenpass on our way to Zurich. JP Weber, our favorite driver, told us we are lucky with the weather. The Swiss Alps were spectacular. The fresh snow from a few days ago glistened in the sun. At the top which is 2,224 meters above sea level, we enjoyed a snowball fight. There was lots of snow.
Wilmer and Hannah didn’t have the best aim. However, cold hands can also do the job!
In Zurich we enjoyed the Anabaptist walking tour with John Ruth. John showed us the model of how Zurich looked when Conrad Grebel lived there. We walked the small Predigergasse (Preacher’s Street) from St. Peter’s Church, dating from the 9th century, to the street where Conrad Grebel lived with his parents in one of the Tower Houses.
We stood at the fountain on the street where Felix Manz lived with his mother. It is a short walk to the Grossmünster where Manz, Grebel and Blaurock studied under the preacher/teacher Ulrich Zwingli. Sheryl Shenk remarked that it was very moving to think that the first baptism happened here in 1525. As I stood listening to John share the account, I let the water from this fountain flow through my fingers. This is our spiritual heritage.
At the Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen the mist was very strong due to heavy rains over the last few weeks. Hannah and Anja wanted to put their feet in the water. We enjoyed being able to hike along the falls. John Ruth enjoyed feeding the fish bread from the bridge. When they occasionally jumped for the bridge, he remarked they would taste good in the frying pan!
Tuesday morning we drove to Hemmental to meet Wilfred Leu. He is the farmer who has the contract to farm and manage the forest where the Schleitheim monument has been placed. This monument, placed by the Swiss Reformed Church, is a very modest marker. You need to bend down to study it. It depicts three Anabaptists who lost their lives here. Following our time of worship and sharing, the farmer’s wife Astrid brought refreshments for us. We stood around her trailer enjoying the refreshments and fellowship. We sang, “God be with you till we meet again.” Astrid beamed and said she enjoys singing and she sings in her church choir.
Last evening at dinner Anja remarked that we have had three experiences of hospitality. Home stays in Berlikum, Sunday lunch at the Longenecker Farm, and now at the Schleitheim marker. She recently read a book that said the opposite of violence is hospitality. We have been blessed to experience hospitality on this tour!
Today we traveled over the Silvretta Pass on our way to Innsbruck. The scenery was again spectacular. In Innsbruck we walked to the Maria Theresien Strasse, the street with the gold roof balcony where the royal family would watch the activity in the square.
We read the plaque on the wall which indicates that Jacob Hutter, the leader of the Hutterites, was executed here.
During free time many tour member sat at tables and enjoyed the local delicacy, apple strudel with ice cream.
This evening we are looking forward to seeing a traditional Tyrolean Folk Show. We know we are in for a real treat!
— Wilmer Martin