connect, grow & thrive.

The Interview: Pastor Markus Schmid

The new pastor of the International Church of Lucerne is anything but formal, wearing jeans, a black shirt, tattoos and an Aussie accent he joined us for a coffee at the LiLi Centre to tell us about what made him chose to leave sunny Australia and move to Lucerne to lead the ICL.

Hello Pastor Markus, you have a German name and a distinctively non German accent, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My family immigrated from Germany to Australia with my 4 siblings in 1967. I was born in Australia but with my family were all speaking German so I grew up in a bilingual background. I grew up thinking of myself as more Australian than German but, ironically, I am the one who chose to move back to Europe.

How long have you been in Luzern?

We have been in Luzern for 2 months  and are loving it. It has the amenities of a big city but the charm of a small town. My 2 children are going to a local school, right now they are in the integration group but will soon be joining the main stream school and are enjoying it very much. The children are settled in and are making friends so I am able to focus on my job.

Can you explain a bit about where you work?

I am the pastor at the only English speaking church in Lucerne. We ascribe to be all things to all people. We are a non denominational church, our points in common are that we speak English and follow Jesus. All the other things that usually divide the churches are set aside so that we can do things together and focus on the main point. Each Sunday will be slightly different as we have different people leading the service from week to week. The songs they choose will reflect the background they come from. So you may not enjoy one Sunday but find that the next week is exactly what you’re hoping for.

Do you offer children programmes?

Yes we have programmes for children from birth to teenagers, but we do like to keep the children’s with us for some of the service to.

Do you know how big congregation is?

It varies as our congregation is very mobile and will often find themselves travelling. But if everyone turned up we’d probably be about 150 people. From week to week you can expect between 90 to 110 people. We cover all age groups as well as all Christian leanings. People come from pretty much everywhere in the world.

Is it okay for people to just drop by?

Yes, even tourists will sometimes turn up, you are welcome to stay after the service for a coffee and a chance to meet people. There is no dress code, you can come in jeans or a suit whatever you feel comfortable with.

I believe that you are quite a fan of Christmas.

I am a big fan and have been enjoying the Swiss Christmas traditions. Schmutzli is a new character I’ve enjoyed discovering, and of course it feels different to be celebrating Christmas in the cold versus on the beach.

What are your plans for Christmas at the church?

We have 3 services planned as we try to accommodate all the different cultures. We will have a Carol Service on Sunday the 18th  for the expat community who are then going away can share Christmas with their friends here first. There will be a dancing, singing and we will hear from a missionary family as Christmas is also about helping those in need.

Then there will be a Christmas Eve service at 11 at night, with carols and readings from the story of Jesus and on Christmas day we will have have another Carol service and a child friendly cartoon.

So lots to look forward to.

How about on a usual Sunday what can we expect?

The service runs from 10.30 to 11.45 and we have communion on the first Sunday of the month.

Can you tell us about one of your favourite places in Lucerne?

I love the Lion Monument, especially off season as there are fewer tourists around. I like to sit there and contemplate. I love the old town and I just love walking everywhere.

Have you picked up any Swiss German yet?

My German is much better than my Swiss German, but I do not how to say “Gruezi” und “Danke Vielmal!”

Thank you for having taken the time to answer our questions.

You’re welcome.

You can find out more about the International Church of Lucerne here.

Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Living in Luzern organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.