So You Wanna Join a Small Group?

Any church one visits will be unique in some ways, but churches are also influenced by the culture in which they are planted. In the US, churches often have small groups, and the meeting dates/times for these small groups are often publicized so that anyone who is interested can participate. Not so much here in Hannover.

Dennis and I have been going to a nice church a couple of kilometers from our home, and we thought it would be nice to join a small group and meet even more people. Several weeks ago, we sent our first e-mail to a contact we found online under the “Small Group” section of the church website. “We would love to join a small group!” we wrote in our introduction. A few e-mail exchanges later, a staff member of the church wrote us, saying he heard we were interested in small groups and would like to talk to us about which group we could join. “That sounds great,” we responded. “When are you available? Afternoons are generally good for us.” He responded that we needed to call to set up an appointment to meet to discuss the small groups.

Today, we met the Senior Pastor for the first time. He welcomed us warmly and asked if there was anything the church could do for us. “Well, actually, we are interested in joining a small group,” we explained. “Oh,” he said, “Well that is complicated. You need to call.” He was very friendly. “You are welcome to call,” he clarified, “but it must be done by phone.”

Germans just love to set up meetings. So I guess we won’t be getting a cheerful, “We meet on Tuesday at 7PM. See you and whoever you happen to invite there!”

Next up: Northern Germany Church Choir Discovers Jazz / Southern Gospel, Introduces It to Congregation. You don’t want to miss it.

Fulbright blog

Did you know that Mandi is also keeping a blog specifically about the Fulbright and her experiences in Germany? You can follow it at

Don’t worry, though–you can still follow Snell Family Adventures here!

Stay warm, everyone. It is gray and drizzly here and eight degrees (Celsius)…we aren’t complaining. 

German Bureaucracy

When you arrive in Germany, you have six days to register with the residence bureau, which is open two and a half hours per day, except on Wednesdays, when it is closed.

You can wait in line to register at the bureau, but they will tell you to make an appointment. The office is open one hour per day to book appointments by phone. You can’t get a cell phone without a bank account.

And you can’t get a bank account without registering with the bureau. So you use a pay phone. When you call for an appointment, they absolutely won’t give you one: you must come in and wait in line.

I think this is the formal form of schadenfreude.