A heavyweight in terms of faith
A man with a clear profile … Not only his imposing appearance, his voice, and his poise contributed to his striking personality, but most of all his heart’s attitude. District Apostle Klaus of Southern Germany would have been 75 years of age today.
He was born in Engen in southern Germany and was the first of three children. He grew up in a devout Catholic home. He always looked back on his life with gratitude and was thankful that his mother had laid the foundation of the Christian faith into his soul. But he never really felt at home in the Catholic Church. When he came to know about the New Apostolic Church through his uncle, things changed.
Focus on role models
In 1961, about 18 months after being sealed, Klaus Saur was ordained as a Subdeacon. By then he had passed his first trial of faith: the death of Chief Apostle Bischoff and thus the non-fulfilment of the so-called message—that Jesus would come in his life-time. “That really shocked me at first,” Klaus Saur once said in an interview. “But then I told myself, ‘You are going to do exactly what your District Apostle Hahn is going to do.’ And that was the end of my battle of faith.”
This unfaltering focus on his role models was what distinguished Klaus Saur also in later years. Following further ordinations as a Priest, Evangelist, and District Evangelist, he was ordained as a Bishop in 1979. Professionally, in the meantime, he had worked himself up to human resources manager in a company in Waldshut with 1,500 employees. Upon his ordination as Bishop he gave up his job to be able to work for the Church full-time.
An authority and a good counterbalance
When Klaus Saur was ordained as an Apostle in 1981 he was appointed to look after the district of Baden at the same time. He was the youngest member of the Church’s executive board. While he took direction from his ministerial colleagues at first and the experiences they had gained over the years, he soon gained in prominence on account of his own increasing experience. Eventually, after 25 years, he was one of the longest-serving District Apostles.
“He had a calming influence, and he was more of a conservative element,” Chief Apostle Richard Fehr once said about the role of District Apostle Saur. “He was a good counterbalance to the more progressively minded. In the circle of the District Apostles he was an authority, was recognized and respected.”
Challenges and impulses
When he was confronted with new ministerial challenges that seemed insurmountable, as he himself said on occasion, he would apply himself to the job at hand and put all his trust in God. And there were many challenges. For instance, in 1984 District Apostle Saur was appointed to lead the district church of Hesse/Rhineland-Palatinate/Saarland (Germany). It was a very turbulent period fraught with conflicts triggered by representatives of the subsequent Apostolic Congregation in Wiesbaden. But he knew to convince the ministers and members and give them new direction.
Another challenge came in 1995 when Klaus Saur was entrusted with the leadership of the District Church Southern Germany—comprising the hitherto districts of Baden, Württemberg, and Bavaria—including 30 countries in Africa, South-East Europe, and the Gulf Region. During this time, District Apostle Saur made his mark by introducing innovations such as public relations work in Hesse, founding an aid organization Missionswerk and an educational institution, Forum Fasanenhof, in southern Germany, as well as building central churches in Africa.
A deep sense of mission and energetic
“When you look back over the 45 years of his ministerial activity, you are struck by the tremendous work that was done,” Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber said at District Apostle Saur’s retirement in the year 2006. “As striking as his appearance is so impressive are his inner values: straightforward, consistent, filled with a deep sense of mission, closely connected to his leading ministers, devoted to the brothers and sisters in fatherly love, and always faithful and humble with respect to the Lord.”
In July 2014, Klaus Saur passed away very unexpectedly. At the funeral service, Chief Apostle Schneider quoted a remark by one of his colleagues, “His actions spoke louder than his words.”