On the turbulent paths of God: The unusual life of a pastor
Created: 08/19/2022, 16:00
By: Andrea Kästle
"There are often crooked paths of life in the Bible": Pullach's new pastor Beate Saalfelder-Bernstein.
Beate Saalmüller-Bernstein works as a new, additional pastor at the Jakobuskirche in Pullach.
Your path in life is unusual.
- In July she started at Jakobusplatz and has already held a few services.
She likes Pullach, but she has known the Isar valley for a long time.
Born in Baden-Württemberg, she has now lived in Wolfratshausen by choice for 14 years.
From there she now cycles to work on an e-bike.
Love for the pastor's son in the GDR
At some point you can no longer keep up when you want to write down all the stations in your professional life.
And before she even started to work, there was still the exciting story with her husband.
He comes from the former GDR, from Thuringia.
When the two met at a time when Saalmüller-Bernstein did not yet have a double name and was studying, the wall had not yet fallen.
She made a trip to the places where reformer Martin Luther lived and worked.
Her future husband was the son of the pastor, in whose house the visitors from the west were received.
For four years, the two met in East Berlin on weekends, they vacationed together in Hungary.
"It was a one-way street for four years," says Beate Saalmüller-Bernstein.
Newspapers smuggled to the East
That's exactly why she moved to Berlin to study.
In this phase of her life, she experienced things that one can no longer imagine today.
Sometimes she would smuggle newspapers over there, wrapped around her stomach.
Sometimes her backpack was felted - and "every paper turned over" in the process.
When she called her boyfriend, she often had to dial forever before she finally got through.
Then it cracked first in the line.
"Once I just greeted those listening in a friendly manner."
Ten years of weekend marriage
Beate Saalmüller-Bernstein looks very lively and lively with her red and green glasses and colorful dress.
But there were also breaks in her life.
After all, after 1989, when she finally could have moved in with her husband, it wasn't so easy to find a place where they both had jobs.
He has a PhD in biology.
And now a new, again turbulent phase in their life began - both had to commute.
"We had a weekend marriage for ten years."
She had done the vicarage in East Berlin, then she got a job as a pastor with the Methodists in Stuttgart, which she “really enjoyed”.
Her husband was already in Munich.
Later she was able to move to Sauerlach, she had children, at some point it all became too much - she collapsed.
She says, "I've never been poisoned by God, but I've never been poisoned by a church." Because at the time, no one paid attention to the fact that she was only employed part-time.
She teaches religion
She has now been employed by the regional church for seven years.
She also teaches religion at school, also in Pullach.
She knows all the colleagues around her because she has also helped out as an organist from time to time.
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Give people strength for everyday life
But: The time in the Jakobuskirche is also limited.
As early as 2024, the new job plan no longer provides for her job.
So Saalfelder-Bernstein will continue to look around.
But she seems very stable when she says: "I am happy to be working as a pastor again after many years." She wants to "give people strength for everyday life", she sees her services as a filling station.
She says: "The message of the gospel is not called good news for nothing."