My Swiss Photo Journal

I have tried my best to offer an honest written account of my years in Switzerland, but it’s possible that a few well-chosen photos might convey – in a different way – what living and working here has been like. It’s a deeply visual experience, as you can imagine. And now, toward the end of my time here, I find myself wishing that I had taken my camera everywhere. Pictured above is my office, scene of many thoughtful conversations, plus some hard thinking and praying.

The monthly men’s hike began as something I thought I’d like to do – to enjoy my time in Switzerland – and then it grew into meaningful relationships with the men of the International Protestant Church. The hike pictured above was actually a long day of snowshoeing. Who knew that sunscreen would turn out to be as important as a water bottle?

Grosser Mythen is more of a climb than a hike – 1400 meters in fact – and many Swiss can tell you exactly how many times in their lives they’ve made it to the top. As you can see (above), I was quite happy about having reached the summit. Someone up there saw my cap and said, “Go Blue!” which of course made my day complete.

An unexpected thrill for me was finding myself at the geographical center of the Reformation during the 500th anniversary celebration. I traveled to Wittenberg and saw Martin Luther’s famous Castle Church, but in Zurich I was able to visit the not-quite-as-famous, but much more beautiful Grossmünster where Ulrich Zwingli was pastor. Pictured above is the Reformation Day walking tour from my church sitting under Zwingli’s pulpit and listening to a fine lecture about Zwingli’s role in the Reformation. Among other things I learned: Zwingli completed his translation of the Bible into German about five years before Luther completed his, not that the Swiss are at all competitive with the Germans.

Rather than the usual photos of raclette, fondue, and other Swiss favorites, pictured above is my birthday meal this year at Brasserie Lipp … pumpkin soup or Kürbissuppe. And by the way, that’s bottled water, which unfortunately was not changed into wine.

And of course ministry was what brought me to this wonderful church.

Last but not least, thank you to staff members who treated me to a Christmas/Retirement gift which is fitting for a soon-to-be full-time grandpa.

About Doug

I have been a writer ever since fifth grade when I won second prize in a “prose and poetry” contest. I am also a Presbyterian pastor, and for several years toward the end of my career I lived and worked in Zürich, Switzerland. I am now retired and live just north of Holland, Michigan, along the lake.

8 Responses to My Swiss Photo Journal

  1. Stephan Heuberger December 21, 2017 at 5:26 am #

    Wow, Doug – great impressions of an intense life in that cultural area called Good Old Europe and in there “tiny CH” (Confoederatio Helvetica). Let me add that you fought the order of letters to make sense in the German language really well, not to forget it was not the real German but Schwiizerdüütsch that people around you speak. Thank you for having invested time and energy to hear + support people of our congregation in all their happy and sad moments.
    You deserve opening a new chapter of life, yes! But, only one thing, though, will change: being employed; not much considering what will remain unchanged: remaining husband, father, grandfather, father in law, retiree, uncle, cousin, friend and the like, and, of course: being Doug.
    Herzlich / Stephan

  2. Guy E. Wood December 21, 2017 at 9:52 am #

    Doug —

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I’m grateful that our paths crossed during our mutual time in Switzerland.

    Blessings as you move into the next phase of your life of service.

    — Guy

  3. Tom Worden December 21, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

    Thank you for the fine pictures. We loved the “”Go Blue” picture.
    The best picture was the one of you with the little girl. It reminded us of the fine experiences and your many fine sermons during our few years at First Presbyterian in Fort Lauderdale. We are back much closer to home now at our original church at Coral Ridge, now that things are finally squared away there. Our best to you in your retirement back in the great state of Michigan.
    Tom and Barbara Worden

    • Judson McCune December 21, 2017 at 5:46 pm #

      Impressive. Thank you for sharing your ministry. My best on your retirement. Please consider continuing to blog to your followers. Dr. Judson W McCune

  4. Georgia Hamilton December 24, 2017 at 11:43 am #

    wonderful pictures, Doug! Thank you for sharing your life-changing journey(s) to Switzerland and beyond. Being a full-time grandpa will be gratifying but I can’t believe there isn’t something more for you beyond that. May the rest of yours and Susan’s life adventures be blessed with imagination and joy—love and gratitude, of course, in the mix.

    God’s peace,
    Georgia Hamilton

  5. Barbara Keith December 26, 2017 at 8:49 pm #

    We miss you and wish you were still with us in Fort Lauderdale. Our best love and wishes to you and to Susan! Come visit us! We would LOVE to see you and catch up! Barb & Tom Keith –, Barb & Tom 954-4632-1732 and 1732 SE 11th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

  6. anita brechtel December 30, 2017 at 10:09 am #

    Enjoyed the photos and good thoughts. Blessings and joy to you as the new chapter unfolds. Happy New Yearr, Anita

  7. Charles Scouten January 7, 2018 at 9:49 pm #

    Best wishes to you and Susan for a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and retirement that more than lives up to your dreams. And, you’re correct. Pictures really do complement the words of your blog. Thanks for sharing them. Do know y’all always have a place to stay in Warrenville, ’cause you surely have a place in our hearts. Charles & Karen

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