We are situated in the beautiful Wiese valley amongst the mountains of the southern Black Forest in the south west corner of Germany only 30 miles from the point it touches both France and Switzerland.
Our house has a history. As the former Gasthaus Engel, it was built in the first half of the 17th century under licence by the Church as an inn for travelling monks. Today, as a retreat centre for relaxation with Christian encouragement with also a missionary vision, our emphasis is on promoting a personal living relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ and the infallibility of the Holy Scriptures as God’s word to guide and teach us.
The core members of the Haus Barnabas community are Len & Phyl Holder and Tim & Deb Brooks with Tom & Esther. Others have joined us for shorter or longer periods over the past years and many guests and helpers speak affectionately of Haus Barnabas as their second home and return as often as they can. We are thankful for an enthusiastic group of friends who support us both in prayer and in many practical ways.
Gift-aided support can be channelled to us through 'Bible in Action Trust’, a UK charity.
We have welcomed guests from many countries of the world and although English is the main language of the house we are happy to communicate also in German and French. The majority of our guests however are from the UK and come either for special weeks of ministry or simply for a relaxing break.
For guests who want it the Haus Barnabas day begins with devotions using 'Daily Manna'. This is our own compilation of Bible texts based on the theme of Charles Spurgeon's morning meditation for that day and includes a slightly updated version of the meditation. There are many interesting and exciting things to do during the day and we offer outings to a variety of destinations. Evenings give time to relax and perhaps to watch a Christian DVD. We aim to have a Bible study during the week and on Sunday evenings we, circumstances permitting, offer a relaxed time of fellowship with singing, sharing and Bible reading.
We advertise a public worship service with ministry on Sundays and as is appropriate these services are then conducted in either English, German or both.
Haus Barnabas is essentially a ‘fellowship’ where guests come and feel at home! Most guests are Christian believers, but most years some have come with real doubts about the Christian faith and in some cases a strong anti-Christian attitude.
God is very gracious and some have found that a visit to Haus Barnabas has been a start to a new life of faith in Jesus. We also aim to be a witness for the Gospel in Utzenfeld and the Black Forest and often welcome local people to our Sunday service and Bible Study.
The spiritual aspect of Haus Barnabas is far more important to us than the business and we have struggled over the years to get the right balance between the two. We feel it part of our ministry to be available for believers needing rest, prayer and encouragement, but at the same time we need to act responsibly in regard to our financial survival. With this is mind we refer to prices as 'recommended rates'. Most of our guests consider these very reasonable and are in a position to book and pay without particular financial hardship.
We are willing to offer concessionary rates for those on low incomes who would benefit from a stay in Haus Barnabas. This concession could come from a recommendation from someone else or by applying yourself with a simple statement as to the reason.
This concessionary arrangement is only possible if the work is financed by other means and our trust is in the Lord who we seek first and foremost to serve.
Our guests come from a range of backgrounds, are of different age groups, and have different hopes from their time with us.
Physical refreshment - We offer a home from home for those looking for relaxation amidst the natural beauty of the Black Forest. We provide a folder of suggested excursions, walks and activities complete with bus and train connections and departure times. In addition we offer mini-bus excursions both within Germany and into France or Switzerland.
Spiritual refreshment - Every morning there is the opportunity to attend our simple devotional time before breakfast. One day a week, we offer a Bible study time and in the evenings there can be the option of watching Christian DVDs, mainly of key missionary figures or Christian history. On Sundays we have a Bible-based worship and ministry service and on Sunday evenings, depending upon circumstances, we may offer a time of more open fellowship. Many find the whole atmosphere of the house and spending time with other Christians of real spiritual benefit.
Physical activities - There are excellent walking possibilities with hundreds of miles of marked paths; several open-air swimming pools and thermal baths within easy reach, and for winter sports, ski slopes to suit all degrees of skill and also miles of cross country skiing ‘loipe’. Our local town of Todtnau attracts tourists of all ages with its 2.9 km down-hill mountain coaster which has proved a great hit with many of our guests.