Off the beaten path: Switzerland

We left the trains behind for a couple of days to see Switzerland from a rented van.

Our first stop, Guggisburg, happened to be celebrating 300 years of existence on Saturday. We heard beautiful folk singing (and a little yodeling) watched a rope-climbing demonstration, and tasted some fresh cheese, made the old-fashioned way. These people seem to be trying their best to keep their culture and its old ways alive.

The town church was being used as a story-telling venue for the day, but the literature in the entryway and the visual culture throughout made it clear that it was also an active congregation.

From the entryway. And they don’t even have Hobby Lobby here!

Next stop, Bern, with its magnificent church:

Notice the literature rack to the left. Given the whole European secularization thing, I’ve been a little surprised by how much active religious (institutional) life I’ve seen in Italy and Switzerland especially. Many of the old churches we’ve popped our heads into are clearly functioning as moral communities in the Christian tradition, telling stories, teaching doctrine, building culture. We’ve seen Catholic expressions (especially in Italy), Pentecostal, evangelical Reformed.

Bern also has great outdoor public spaces:

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