22nd April 2019






Dear God:

Spring is a metaphor for change. Some changes we eagerly await, and some we abhor. Some changes we plan and others arrive uninvited. To all these changes we ask the gift of Your perspective beckoning us to expectation, hope, and rebirth.

May the sunlight and the rain be reminders that You are at work renewing the earth. As a God of renewal, You are ever at work in our lives, too.

Open our eyes and lives to the needed changes in our lives this Spring. Awaken us to new life and perspective, for we pray in Jesus' name.


Submitted by Rev. Mark Bekkedahl

Photo: Courtesy of Rainer Zimmermann


From the Pastor's Desk

 Dear Church Family,  

 One of the most important questions in our Christian life is how to listen to God’s voice with a servant’s heart. An interesting and instructive teaching can be found about this topic in 1 Samuel 3:1-20. Let me highlight to you Eli’s words to Samuel in verse 9: “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” 

 In the original Hebrew text, Eli chooses a very specific  phrase here. It can be translated like what a slave would say to the master: obedience in full degree. What it really means to us in our everyday life is that a person with a servant’s heart is willing to give up his or her own will, views, ideas or plans about anything and everything and allow God to step in. Like praying: “Dear Lord, my own will does not matter here, it doesn’t matter what I want or don’t want. All that matters is what You want. Your will be done.” That is something very similar to what we all learned from Christ in the Lord’s Prayer: “thy kingdom come, thy will be done.”

 We are called to be servants like Jesus at the Vienna Community Church. It is quite unfortunate that in today’s culture, being a servant has some real negative connotations attached to it. However, giving up our own will and laying aside our rights in order to serve others selflessly is a godly priority and the right Christian attitude. Let us consider the following scripture concerning Jesus’ service:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. “(Philippians 2:5-11)

I believe in small acts which can have huge impacts!  My prayer this month will be that God helps us as a church family to become better examples to our fellow members, friends, family and even to our children of what it means to have a servant’s heart. May the Lord use all of us to make a difference in our congregation for His Kingdom, and may all our motivation, decision and future dreams be God-centered.

I wish you all a happy and sunny May!

With joy and love, 

Pastor Gábor


Capturing the Moment


April Highlights!


Three beautiful generations in one city!

 VCC Member, Ruby John, her Mom, Mary, who is visiting from Kerala,

and daughter Casey 

The Matasushitas having family time in the Courtyard!

For April highlights, follow this link:

Photos: courtesy of Rainer Zimmermann and Maurine Mellinger-Deroy


Faith, Fellowship & Music


Sunday School

Sunday School and nursery care follows the Children's Sermon every Sunday, except Communion Sunday.If you are a parent and would like to volunteer, or have any questions about teaching the Sunday School or assisting with the nursery care, please contact the Christian Education Chair, Linda Bednar:


Daily Devotion Link


Prayer Group


For where two or three gathered in my name, there am I with them” 

Our Prayer Group has started as we seek God’s vision, guidance and will for our church and also to become more dependent on Him in our individual and family lives, respectively. We would like to keep in our prayers those who are sick, suffering, hospitalized or have spiritual needs and requests for God. See What's Coming Up below for the next gathering. Please contact the Prayer Group for further information. We are very much looking forward to having you with us.

Pastor Gábor


The Adult Bible Study meets on the last Monday of each month at 7pm. Details of the new topic will be posted soon.


Bible+ is usually held on the first Monday of every month and explores themes of Chrisitianity and how it impacts and relates to Christians living in contemporary times. The Host is Dr. David Nolland.


Film Night is held every month under the auspices of the VCC Circle of Film, Art & Music, hosted by VCC members Maurine Mellinger and Mickela Moore. Film Night, and features arthouse and thought-provoking films. For details on our next film, see What's Coming Up? below.

If you are a film buff and would like to help out, please contact Maurine.


VCC College & Career Group

The  College & Career Group meets up at the VCC Meeting Point every Thursday evening at 7PM. Join us for dinner and Bible study - free from formality. Fun, discussions and fellowship!

You can contact either one or both of the Hosts: Francesca or Katrin, for more details.


Women's Ministry

Stay posted for the new Women's Morning Ministry, details of which will be forthcoming soon.


Let's Do Lunch

Welcome to our lunches on the last Friday of each month!

Should you wish to be on the mailing list please let me know on: or 0680 2120 896. Don't forget to give me your details so that you can be easily contacted!

As you all know we need our generous hosts each month so maybe you could consider signing up with me and share a month this or even next year ?
Best wishes to you all.
Nita Schimscha; Co-ordinator


Please check What's Coming Up or the VCC website? for more details.   


Praise Band

VCC's PRAISE BAND ministry is to expand our already existing wonderful and outstanding church choir and music with music that speaks to younger generations. Psalm 96:1 commands us: Sing to the Lord a new song;sing to the Lord, all the earth. If this is your calling at the VCC, then please contact Pastor Gábor!  

Photo: Courtesy of Rainer Zimmermann


VCC Choir

VCC Choir Sings

The VCC Choir which rehearses every Sunday in the choir loft starting from 11:15. If you would like to join the VCC Choir or know of a musician or singer who would like to guest with us, please contact Choir Director, Cassandra McConnelll or Music Chair, Keri Johnston.




Annual General Meeting


The Annual General Meeting will be held in the Fellowship Hall immediately following the Sunday Service on 6 May 2018.  Refreshments will be served and the AGM will start as soon as possible. It is an important meeting as the new Board will be elected. Please bring something to share. 

You should have already received all of the relevant information and documents from Maria Ciliberti, the Clerk. If you have not received anything, please contact her.

The VCC Board


Prayer Group

The Prayer Group has chosen a topic for each day's prayer as follows:

Monday:      Pastor
Tuesday:     Leadership
Wednesday: Membership
Thursday:    Music and Choir/Band
Friday:        Church Programs
Saturday:    Outreach
Sunday:      International - those who are persecuted

The next monthly Prayer Chain takes place on 3 June 2018  at the VCC Meeting Point at 2PM/14:00. In the intervening time, all requests and communication should be sent to:


Bible+ in April

MONDAY, APRIL 2nd at 7pm

Bible+ Hosted by Dr. David Nolland

The Sovereignty of God

How much in God in control of everything from the events of our daily lives to the clockwork of the universe? We will discuss some Biblical, scientific and historical perspectives.


College & Career Group

The weekly Thursday meetings of the College & Career Group alternate between Bible Study and a relaxed meal together or other planned activity.

Photos: Courtesy of Katrin Karshat


CMAF Film Night

Last Film for the 2017-2018 Season


Women's Ministry

Please check the Sunday Bulletins or VCC website for the next Women's Ministry at the Meeting Point. 


Adult Bible Study

Adult Bible Study on the Book of Romans is completed. Watch out for details on the next cycle of Adult Bible Study.


Ladies Who Lunch

April Lunch at Marco Serra

Eight delightful ladies met on Friday 27 April at the italian eating house Marco Serra in the Ungargasse in the 3. District.  We had a wonderful time. Thank you very much Mary Geissler for being our Host.

SAVE THE DATE! On Friday, 25 May, Mary Hagen will be our host.  So if you are near or far away you may be in Vienna around that time  why not join us?  Further information will be circulated as soon as Mary Hagen has made her choice of eating place.


VCC News & More


Highlights from Special Bible+ Event:

Concert by David's Daughters

In March, VCC member, Anne Peschek, hosted a musical event in her home of Biblical music played on traditional instruments that may have been used during the time of King David.

After an introduction about King David from David Nolland, Miriam Linkimer began the musical programme with a reading from Psalm 23 in Hebrew

David's Daughters (left to right): 

Anne –Rothgeb-Peschek  Soprano and Harp

Martina Peschek  Mezzo-soprano and Recorder

Charlotte Lowery-Mayr  Soprano and Harp

Guests enjoying this unique concert! In the foreground is David Nolland, the Bible+ Host


Show Your Appreciation!

If you appreciate someone who has done something special for you or the VCC,or touched you in some way, please take the time to say THANK YOU!


VCC Board 


VCC Board Update April 2018

Dear VCC Members and Friends of the VCC, 

It is difficult to imagine that I have served the VCC as Moderator for a year. It seems almost like yesterday, when I volunteered to accept the nomination and take over from Mary Geissler.

As I complete my term and prepare to hand over to the next moderator, I must ask myself the following question, as many have probably done before me: Why does one feel compelled to volunteer for the position of Moderator or for that matter for any Board position? My personal view is that it is to serve God by serving His Church and the congregation. Sheila and I have been associated with the VCC since the late 60s, when her parents were members. We ourselves became members when we came back to Vienna in the early 90s. The VCC has given us a great deal over the years and we felt it was time for us to contribute in terms of time and talent in addition to resources. Sheila has served as Stewardship and Finance Chair and I have served both as Treasurer and as Vice Moderator.

The moderator’s job is especially thankless and stressful at best. These attributes increased manifold when the A. u. H.B informed us in 2017 about an administrative matter that needed to be resolved by the time of the Board elections in 2018. This matter has dominated the discussions in the Board and in the congregation throughout this year. I had to keep reminding myself that God will see us through this.

The point in question was the lack of denominational affiliation on the baptism certificate of the daughter of former VCC members, which triggered a review of our Board leadership structure under the Recognition Agreement. Representatives of the A.u.H.B. informed us in a meeting that the VCC Presbyterium (Board) should be composed of 6 out of the 13 Board members that are Lutheran (AB) or Reformed (HB) for the positions of Moderator, Vice-Moderator, Clerk, Treasurer, and 2 other Board positions designated by the VCC Board of its choosing. It should be noted here that neither were these Board positions explicitly set out and explained in the Recognition Agreement, nor was the Board aware that it was not in full compliance with the Recognition Agreement. (It should also be noted that back in 2011, when we had a problem related to membership, this was resolved amicably after discussions with high-level A. u. H.B. representatives. At the end of those discussions, we were informed that there were no further discrepancies between our constitutions).

This matter has been discussed extensively at the Board level. While some Board members may have found acceptance of the A. u. H. B. requirement straightforward, this was not the case for those of us who have other backgrounds than Reformed or Lutheran, and to rush into acceptance without carrying the Congregation with us, seemed to us in the Executive (Moderator, Vice Moderator, Treasurer and Clerk) unconscionable. Full compliance with this requirement implied that a two-tiered membership would be created within the VCC, which in turn implied that the VCC would no longer meet the criteria of being an international, interdenominational and ecumenical Christian congregation. This was unacceptable for the Executive, since this would not be representing the interests of the VCC congregation as an entity. The VCC Board needed to find a balanced solution. An ad-hoc committee was tasked with investigating all options.

A special congregational meeting was held on 15 April 2018 to inform the congregation and to answer their questions. In a follow-up to this, the congregation was informed about the advantages and disadvantages of possible options.

At their last meeting on 23 April 2018, the current Board decided to move forward without prejudicing the current international, interdenominational and ecumenical character of the VCC, or eligibility of any member to stand for any position on the Board, and to conduct our elections, as planned and without delay on 6 May 2018. This also fulfills the requirements of the A. u. H.B. in a timely fashion. The text of the motion approved by the Board has been sent to all VCC members (see Annex).

At this point, I would like to thank the congregation, Pastor Gabor and the Board members for bearing with me and the Executive. I would especially like to thank Tony Wrixon, Ronan LeBras, Maria Ciliberti, Anne Storey and Mary Geissler for their unstinting and unwavering support in fulfilling the duties of the Executive towards the congregation and in adhering to our constitution.

Finally, I would like to thank my wife Sheila for her support and advice, and for bearing with me through what has been a difficult and testing year.

George Philip

VCC Moderator 2017-18




Decision by the VCC Board on 23 April 2018

Acknowledging that:


    • 1. The VCC has a fiduciary duty under Austrian Federal Law in the 2018 Board election cycle to comply with §7 of the Recognition Agreement of 2005 executed between the VCC and the Evangelische Kirche Augsburgischen und Helvetischen Bekenntnisses in Österreich ("AuHB")

2.The unintended consequence of compliance with §7 of the Recognition Agreement of 2005 is that some VCC members may not be able to serve in 6 Board positions as they do not meet the criteria of Presbyterium members set forth in §7 of the Recognition Agreement of 2005, or, as clarified in the 29 January 2018 meeting with LSI Hennefeld and Dr. Johannnes Wittich, cannot associate themselves freely with one of these Faith Traditions; 

 3. It is the spiritual and fiduciary duty of the VCC Board to ensure that VCC maintains its ecumenical and interdenominational character with equal treatment to all of its members as contemplated in its Constitution;

4. A member of the Recognition Agreement Committee consulted two legal and theological experts familiar with the VCC, who have served over many decades in either a legal or theological capacity with the AuHB, respectively; one of whom negotiated the Recognition Agreement, and the other having served as a Pastor with a corporate congregation under the AuHB, as well as a former VCC Moderator who had extensive contact with the AuHB. Both of these experts and the former Moderator strongly recommend without reservation that VCC comply with §7 of the Recognition Agreement as requested, insomuch as VCC may negotiate in good faith with the AuHB the Presbyterium criteria to the extent possible under Austrian Church and Federal law, respectively, while being in full compliance with Austrian law. 

5.Overriding all these temporal discussions, the fundamental principle at stake is a principle of faith, which entails that we are a Church, which is the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27 and Ephesians 5:30; cf. in detail Romans 12:4-8 and I Corinthians 12:12-31).

In consideration of the above, the VCC Board approves the following:

To carry out Board elections at the Spring Meeting on 6 May as agreed by the Board at its 5 March 2018 meeting and pursuant to its fiduciary duty to comply with Austrian Federal Law, with the mandate to the new Board to:

• Explore options including, but not limited to, negotiating an Affirmation of Faith with the AuHB, in cooperation with the AuHB examine whether amendments to VCC's Constitution and/or Covenant will trigger automatic compliance to §7 of the Recognition Agreement, while ensuring the integrity of the spiritual principles underlying VCC's existence; explore the AuHB willingness to lobby the Federal Ministry of Religious Affairs to grant a special exemption for the VCC or other legal exemptions at its disposal, and resolve any other possible conflicting constitutional provisions between the AuHB and VCC constitutions. This is the preferred option.

• Examine the viability of other options for VCC to maintain its legal status under Austrian law, including, but not limited to, joining one of the Free Church (Freikrche) denominations, incorporating as an association (Verein), or other legal body in which VCC may maintain its ecumenical and interdenominational character and carry out its activities as a Church as set forth in the VCC Constitution; 

• Report its findings and progress to VCC members in a transparent manner. 

George Philip, Moderator

Photo: Courtesy of Rainer Zimmermann


Outgoing VCC Board 2017-2018

Bless those that have served on the VCC Board in the last year..





We hold many fellowship events at the Meeting Point. I would like to thank all of you who donate snacks and drinks to the Meeting Point. We are always in need of toilet paper, paper towels, and beverages (juice, water and wine). Your donations are appreciated.

Mickela Moore, Property Chair

Organising Meetings or Events

VCC has an attractive and functional location to organise meetings and events. If you would like to organise a meeting or fellowshop event in the VCC Meeting Point for a one off or a regular event, such as an exhibition, jewellry show, exercise class, or rent it for a personal event, for example, a birthday party, meeting, etc... please contact me on:  You can pick up brochures with rental information at the VCC Meeting Point.  

Mickela Moore, Property Chair


Letter from the Alumni Coordinator of the Vienna Community Church (VCC)

I would like to introduce myself to you:  My name is Sita Weinrich, and I am the VCC Membership Committee Chair and now also Alumni Coordinator of the VCC.  My role as Alumni Coordinator is to strengthen the relationship between VCC and its alumni members.

My first task was to make a list of VCC alumni who are not yet on the list of AFCU’s VCC alumni members as of 14 December 2017. I plan to talk to those leaving Vienna to inform them about AFCU’s support to VCC and ensure the continuous contact with them.

I cordially invite VCC alumni members to continue sharing information after they have left Vienna about the impact the VCC has had on their lives, either by writing to me, or the Editor of the VCC Voice (this is the monthly online VCC  newsletter), or to the AFCU Bridge.

In turn, I will keep VCC alumni directly  informed of VCC activities through the VOICE and AFCU Bridge.  I would welcome any suggestions from you as to what you would love to read about!

Sending you many greetings from Vienna,


Sita, Membership Chair and Alumni Co-ordinator

Alumni Greeting

Dear Roswitha,

Thank you for your kind email.   Here are some thoughts for the Alumni Newsletter.   

I am a Minnesota native who was first introduced to Vienna and the VCC through my junior year abroad with Central College.  A year after graduation, I returned to Austria to teach English as a Second Language.  My attendance at VCC was rather spotty at times – as Mozart and other tunes called me around the corner at St. Augustine’s Church.

 While attending VCC, I have some particular memories.  One Sunday different women wore red hats declaring us de facto the Red Hat Club of VCC.  Kate Koob was one, myself, and a couple others whose names I do not recall.

The small congregation appealed to me and the genuine care and concern for its members.  Fellowship after the service was a special: meeting the various expats, visitors, etc. all common folk eager to share the special meaning of a Higher Spirit.

 I left Vienna in September 1988 moving to Monterey, California to pursue a master’s degree in International Public Policy and German.   Fortunately, either my work in international higher education, or vacation took me back to Vienna different times.  The VCC was a welcome home many years after I first attended reminding me that no matter the geography, God surrounds and provides for us.

 Berta Aug

April 26, 2018



Left to right  AFCU/ VCC Capital Funding team members: Rev. Jack Hustad, Katie (Kathryn) Koob, Helen Hustad, Walt Deitrich, Masa Matasushita, VCC S&F Chair; and Rev. Dr. Jim Wiberg. Not shown are: Luray Wiberg and Pat Deitrich.


If you would like to read the AFCU Bridge Spring Newsletter, please follow this link:


Happy Birthday & Blessings to the

May Born! 

Happy Birthday


 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 

Jeramiah 29:11


Speedy Recovery

For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds," says the Lord. (Jeremiah 30:17)

Pray for all those in our congregation, their family members and friends who are in need of healing. 



Please continue to pray for those members who have lost beloved family or friends. 


Become Part of the VCC Family!


Are you Interested in becoming a part of our ecumenical, international, inter-denominational, VCC family? For more information, please contact the Membership Chair, Sita Weinrich, on:


Voting in U.S. Elections

Those eligible to vote in US elections are aware that mid-term elections are coming up in November of this year.  Voting registration has become much easier for US citizens residing overseas, primarily with the assistance of the excellent website "Votefrom Abroad".  And for the VCC community, there is a member experienced in assisting first-time overseas voters with any questions they may have. This assistance is provided on a non-partisan basis.
Note:  Even if you have voted from overseas in previous elections, a new registration may be necessary, as not all states automatically send ballots.
For further information, please contact:
Anne Storey          
Tel: 0699 - 1198 6260    

Austro-American Society Events

Please check the programme by following this link:


Urban Living


Dorotheergasse Jewels: Trzesniewski, Reinthaler Beisl and Cafe Hawelka

Photos: Courtesy of Mickela Moore

Parks in and around Vienna

In the April issue, Rainer highlight one of Vienna's most beautiful parks, Schönbrunn. This month Rainer shows us one of the "Insider" parks: Laxembourg. There is another Park from the time of the Habsburgs which surrounds Franzensburg Castle. This Park is in Laxemburg, just 15 km outside of Vienna. It is laid out in the style of an English landscape garden. The following shows you some photos of Park and Castle.


Franzensburg Castle



What would Austria be without its mountains?

Ski tours - walking up mountains in touring skis and skiing down in powder snow!

Photo: Courtesy of Jürgen Teubenbacher


Supporting the VCC

The VCC has been a self-funded Church since its founding in 1957.  All donations help support our ministry and we thank you for each one. You can contribute to the General Fund or the Capital Fund that will assist in paying off the loans to purchase the VCC Meeting Point.

To make a bank transfer:

IBAN: AT 082 011 128 753 849 700  BIC: GIBAATWWXXX

US Taxpayers may make a tax deductible donation to the VCC by either writing a check out to the American & Foreign Christian Union (AFCU) with VCC General Fund or VCC Capital Funding Appeal on the Memo line and place it in the offering basket, or alternatively, write the check to the AFCU and send to the AFCU Treasurer, 2885 Sanford Ave, SW #29934, Grandville, MI 49418, U.S.A.. You can also make a donation over the AFCU online platform.


Submissions & Editorial Guidelines 



We would like our readers to look forward to reading the VCC Voice every month and to feel informed and enlightened.  If you have any comments or something special that you would like to share, please send your submission to:

Deadline: 25th of every month, together with your contact details in case we have to clarify something with you. Font size should be Arial 12 point. Photos should be preferably landscape and sized to 680 x 360.  Please provide a descriptive  title for the photographs, including name(s), occasion and date. 


If you are a registered subscriber and are not receiving The Voice, please check your Spam and email settings.

In the interest of preventing Spam emails, the Voice Editor will periodically delete email addresses that appear to be Spam. If you suddenly do not receive The Voice, please send an email to:  I apologise in advance for the temporary inconvenience this may cause.