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Kuldiga’s congregation celebrates its 100th anniversary of establishment!

Lūkojies augšup, mācītājs Eidiņš, 1927
Kuldīgas draudze ar mācītāju Švarcu, 1937
1937
Kuldīgas metodistu draudze ciemos pie Nīcas draudzes. 1938.g.
Dzintras Būmanes dzimšanas diena 2006.gada 17.septembrī ar meitu Igitu un radiniekiem

Thanks to Dzintra Būmane’s memoirs, we can have a glimpse into the beginnings of the Kuldīga’s congregation until its renewal. The story will be complemented by old photographs, which were kindly sent to us by Igita Aija Kociņa (Dzintra Būmane’s daughter), the head of the Kuldīga’s congregation’s board.

The beginning of the Kuldīga’s congregation is considered to be 1922/1923, when Latvian refugees returned to their homeland after the First World War. Then senior Eidiņš, Eida, Švarcs, Beike and Voskis served as pastors.

The congregation, which was attended by about 100 parishioners, had an active choir, string and brass ensembles. The congregation was made up of elderly people, but there were also many from the middle generation. Families with children and young people came. There was also a Sunday school.

The church had a root: the board and the active core. There was fellowship with other Methodist congregations in Latvia: with Liepāja, Nīca, Jūrkalne, Kandava and others. The congregations visited each other in trucks, sitting on plank benches. In spite of the inconvenience, the people were happy and joyful to meet and see the places of Latvia.

Dzintra Būmane’s childhood memories date back to 1934/1935, when she and her sister were taken to church services. Their dresses were already prepared on Saturday evening so that they could be seated in the first row of pews. The girls found the sermons a bit boring, but they enjoyed the songs and the interludes, because their relatives took part in it. After the service, Sunday School was held, where children of different nationalities from all over Kuldīga gathered. There was neither hatred nor quarrelling among the children. The biggest performance was at Christmas. Then the children sang, recited poems and also acted out small events from the life of Jesus. When necessary, the Sunday School children also took part in the regular services.

A beautiful tradition was the end of the Sunday School in the spring, when families went in the nature of the old Kuldīga’s castle mound.

Memories from the war are from around 1942/1943. When the front line approached Latvia, the congregation had to move from Kalku Street to Kalna Street. There, in a former German pastor’s house, was a large hall for the congregation. But already in 1944, the congregation had to leave this place as well. Pastor Jr.Eidiņš emigrated with his family.

From then on, a small part of the congregation met together in a private house on Ventspils Street. Pastor Beike from the Mātra’s church led the services.

Then the Soviet Union authorities forbade the Methodist Church to exist. Therefore, the members of the congregation joined a Lutheran or Baptist congregation.

Years later, when the church began to be renewed, Dzintra was alone of a large Methodist flock in Kuldīga. Interestingly, the news of the renewal of the Methodist Church came to her. She received a call from Ruta Beike, who said that she needed a place to live in order to renovate the church premises. This opportunity arose in the home of Dzintra Būmane. And so, the three women who painted and washed, with the help of a few men, put the rooms in order. The opening of the Kuldīga’s congregation was held on 18th November 2000 with a heartfelt service. At that time, the pastor of the Kuldīga’s church was Superintendent Ārijs Vīksna. The solemn service was attended by many guests and the sermon was read by Rev. Milda Vainovska. Many worshippers came from other congregations because the pastor was well known and known to have a beautiful voice. The congregation at that time was up to 40 people.

* Editor’s note: You could read about the active and blessed ministry of the Kuldīga’s congregation in the October newspaper of “Lighthouse”.