The beginning: A pub becomes a church
In the early 1840s Christians in Cottbus and in surrounding villages as far away as Burg in the Spree Forest were under the leadership of Pastor Jan Kilian from Weigersdorf in Upper Lusatia. They had established themselves as a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran (Old Lutheran) Church because they opposed the union of the Lutheran and Reformed churches that the king had ordered.
Their first place of worship was an attic in the home of the Tschentke family in Brunswig. This was in 1844.
In 1849 they rented a cemetery chapel in Ostrow, a suburb of Cottbus. The chapel was their place of worship for nearly eight years. Then permission to use the chapel was revoked.
The farmers from Sielow and Döbbrick who belonged to the congregation decided to buy a building in Döbbrick, a small village about three miles from Cottbus.
It was quite an adventure in those days in 1857 when some elders of the Old Lutheran congregation decided in the night before the 3rd Sunday after Trinity (June 27) to buy the pub in Döbbrick at their own risk. Shortly before they had been told during the confession service on Saturday evening that they were not allowed to use the chapel in Ostrow any longer.
On this Saturday a pub with a dance hall was up for auction. The pub owners had been operating a counterfeiting ring in the building. Proceeds from the sale would pay the fines that they owed to the court.
Late in the evening the elders decided to go to Döbbrick to buy this property as the congregation’s new home.
Late at night the contract was signed. Each of the elders put up all the cash they had. And a good thing- because a little later someone showed up who wanted to continue operating the building as a dance hall.
The elders of the congregation considered their acquisition of the building an act of divine providence.
Within six weeks the parishioners had turned the dance hall into a church even though they had to do their harvesting, too.
The house that was attached to the church later became the parsonage. In the autumn of 1858 Pastor Albert Ebert was sent to Döbbrick after serving in Weigersdorf.
Twenty years later structural damages became more and more evident. So the congregation decided to erect a new building. On April 8,1878, the cornerstone of the new church as laid. It was consecrated on July 2 of the same year.
From Döbbrick to Cottbus
During these years the idea took hold that Cottbus should be home to an Old Lutheran congregation, also.
Under the direction of Pastor Gottlieb Fengler, a lot was purchased at the city limits of Cottbus. There the „Kreuzkirche“ (Lutheran Church of the Holy Cross) with a parsonage was built. Near the close of 1879, the new church in the Karlstraße was consecrated.
The majority of the parishioners in Döbbrick now worshipped in Cottbus. The pastor’s home and office were moved to Cottbus, also. The remaining parishioners stayed with the congregation in Döbbrick because most of them lived there and in the neighbouring villages.