In the heart of the Speicherstadt in Hamburg, at the go-between of water, shore and sky, one of the most remarkable churches of Hamburg is located. Until today, the Flussschifferkirche (River church), also known as “Flusi”, is more than just a unique thing. It’s almost an ecclesiastical pioneer of the trend towards mobility, since the church could potentially drop its anchor anywhere at any time. Movement instead of standstill – matching the life and beat of the port. And that’s why the firmly entrenched river church is a welcome constant. It’s an anchorage for those who seek help, is giving pastoral support to the inland skippers and regularly opens its hatches for church services. A very special neighbor for HPA.
Below deck the term “nave” is brought to life. Rows of chairs provide enough room for 130 people. The church windows show life and work on the river. If it wasn’t for the occasional gentle swaying, you would hardly know that up until the beginning of the 1950s this was the interior of a barge. Yet it is precisely these gentle waves which often create moving moments in the truest sense - the mood is very atmospheric at Christmas for example when the advent wreath gently sways around. But no one gets seasick during the regular services - and if they do, then it’s only the tourists visiting this insider tip in Hamburg. Most other church-goers are used to the swell of the sea. Many of them have been coming for years; they have a real love of the water and have often sailed themselves. A bond with the port which the HPA also shares.
Visit this special place yourself some time!
A principle of Johann Hinrich Wichern, who founded the spiritual welfare for skippers in Hamburg in 1870 and to whom the River Church - Germany’s only floating church - is still indebted.
In many respects, this contact with water lends the River Church spiritual qualities (the Flood, calming the storm, baptism etc). And with its connection to the Elbe and the international working environment of the skippers and the port, the River Church attaches great importance to cooperation with ecumenical or international partners in the city and beyond.
Thus, the River Church is a meeting place for man with God, and at the intersection between water, the river banks and the sky it offers the opportunity for understanding and celebration, and a chance to strive for peace and justice which transcend the boundaries of culture, language, age, sex and even ideologies.
• 1870: Founding of the spiritual welfare for skippers in Hamburg
• 1951: The ship build in 1906 was acquired. Renovation financed through donations by the Americans, Danes & Swedes
• 07.12.1952: Santification to a church
• 1961: Receipt of a pipe organ which is still being played during every service
• Mai 1961: Used for spiritual welfare for skippers for the first time
• 06.05.2010: Installation of the anchor-cross – 4 m high, on the roof of the office and café pontoon, sponsored by the joiner guild
• 2017: Receipt of the Chrismon prize of the jury (Protestant monthly magazine) in the category social welfare work
...are being held every Sunday at 3 pm
1st Sunday of the month: Holy Communion
2nd Sunday of the month: Free topic
3rd Sunday of the month: Held by the brother- and sisterhood of 'Rauhes Haus'
4th Sunday of the month: Service held in Low German
where applicable 5th Sunday of the month: Topic relating to literature
'If the people can't come to church, the church has to come to the people' - The River church is still true to this motto of Johann Hinrich Wichern, who founded the social welfare for skippers in Hamburg in 1870. Voluntary workers travel through the port twice a week to look after the skippers and people on the Elbe.