Names in heaven

“A man through whom God could bless His people,” is how Chief Apostle Urwyler described him. On 18 April, District Apostle Willi Wintermantel would have celebrated his 120th birthday. Here is his life story describing his attributes.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” District Apostle Willi Wintermantel began his biography with his life’s motto from Isaiah 43: 1. The funeral service for the District Apostle on 29 July 1988 also revolved around his characteristic qualities. Chief Apostle Richard Fehr based this service on an excerpt from Luke 10: 20: “Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” He used the following names to describe the deceased: Light of the World, Faithful and True, Cross-bearer, and Divine Goldsmith.

Divine goldsmith

This name is alsoa reference to the city where he was born and the profession that Willi Wintermantel practised from a young age. His native town of Pforzheim in Germany is also known as the City of Gold and became world-famous in the eighteenth for its jewellery and watchmaking industry. At the tender age of 14, Willi began his training as a commercial clerk at a jewellery factory and wholesaler.

He had to go to work so early because his father died in 1912, when Willi was only eight years old. “I learned to do without a lot of things as there was only ever enough for the bare essentials,” he later wrote in his biography. “The circumstances were difficult and my mother was looking for spiritual support and peace and quiet for her soul. She gladly accepted an invitation to a divine service in the New Apostolic Church.” The whole family became New Apostolic on 24 October 1913. “My dear mother was always a shining example of faith for me. She devoted herself to God in prayer and planted a strong faith in my young soul,” he later wrote.

He himself was very active in the church. As a young man he enjoyed playing in the congregation’s brass band and sang in the male choir. Starting in 1925, he worked for a jewellery wholesaler. In 1930 the company granted him power of attorney. After the end of the Second World War in 1945, he took over ownership of the company and rebuilt it.


Willi Wintermantel and Martha Sauter tied the knot on 21 June 1930. Two years later, on 4 December 1932, he was entrusted with the ministry of Deacon. The couple’s son, Manfred, was born on 30 July 1933.

Only a good twenty years later, on 28 March 1955, young Manfred together with Raymond and Leon Dauber, the sons of Apostle Chrétien Dauber, were out fulfilling their ministerial duties when they were killed in a road accident. “We were stricken,” Willi Wintermantel wrote later, “but accepted this painful rupture in our life as having been permitted by God, knowing that He only has thoughts of peace and not of evil with His own.”

Light of the world

Over the years, Willi Wintermantel was entrusted with various ministries in the New Apostolic Church. He was a minister for a total of fifty years, thirty of them as an Apostle—he was ordained on 5 August 1951—and fourteen as a District Apostle.

The Apostle responsible for the district of Baden at the time was Friedrich Hahn, with whom Willi Wintermantel had always had a good relationship. In 1965, District Apostle Hahn fell seriously ill and was no longer able to perform his ministerial duties. Chief Apostle Walter Schmidt transferred the leadership of the Karlsruhe Apostle district to Apostle Wintermantel, retired Friedrich Hahn, and finally appointed Willi Wintermantel as District Apostle for Baden on 19 March 1967.

Faithful and true

He served the approximately 30,000 members in his district with love. His companions could testify to this. Chief Apostle Hans Urwyler said about Willi Wintermantel, “You were not a man of many words, but one of great love. A man through whom the eternal God and Father could bless His people.” And Apostle Herbert Volz recalled: “What did me good right from the start was the love that flowed from his heart.” It was unwavering love that made the District Apostle so rich.

One day after his 77th birthday, Willi Wintermantel was retired by Chief Apostle Hans Urwyler in a divine service in Eppelheim, Germany. For seven more years, he was able to attend divine services and prayed fervently. He died on 19 July 1988, one day after his successor, District Apostle Klaus Saur, had celebrated Holy Communion with him.

Article info