The Evangelical-Lutheran Parish of Oppenwehe.
From the 1957 church guide for the district of Lübbecke
(Translation from German by Wolfram M. Von-Maszewski, George Memorial Library, Richmond ,Texas 77469)

Oppenwehe is located northeast, adjacent to Wehdem Parish. With Preußisch-Ströhen it is the farthest northern community within the Lübbecke church district as well as in the Westphalian church province. Until the creation of its own parish in the years following World War II, Oppenwehe, in church matters was part of the Wehdem Parish. Local history stresses that the original Oppenwehe chapel, torn down in recent years, was not a Filia [Latin for daughter] but a Soror [Latin for sister] to the Wehdem church. In 1227 Oppenwehe is mentioned by name for the first time. In that year the knight Helimbertus von Manen (Mehnen) sold four homes in Oppenwehe to the Abbey in Levern. Later, the Abbey owned almost the entire village of Oppenwehe . Under these circumstances, it can be assumed that the Abbey of Levern built the first chapel or Klus. The Klus stood in the garden of Kolon (farmer) Rohlfing at No. 2.[1] Today this locality is still referred to as Klusgarten. The chapel stood on consecrated ground. This is indicative in the place name, Oppenwehe: Op den Weihden = on consecrated ground. Before the Reformation, the Prior of the Abbey in Levern held a church service on Oppenwehe’s church meadow annually, after Mary’s Birth (8 September). Following the service a procession was held. Connected with it was a church fair that extended from the Klus to the old Postweg [post road]. Visitors attended from near and far, especially from Ströhen and Wagenfeld. The Oppenwehe fair is still held today. Wagenfeld became an independent parish after Wehdem, or correctly after Oppenwehe. The Oppenwehe chapel has a separate entrance, the Wagenfeld door.

It cannot be established, whether the Klus fell victim to fire during the Thirty-Year War or if it was torn down because it became too small. Oppenwehe’s population grew steadily. Today [~1957] it numbers about 1800. The fact is that a new chapel was built. It stood close to the Hauptstraße [main road]. Next to its altar stood a baptismal font and an offertory. From the acoustical shell above the pulpit hung a carved wooden dove, the symbol of the Holy Ghost. Seven times a year prayers were held in the chapel, on Sunday after Mary’s Birth and six times during the fasting season. Later, the Wehdem church became more and more the place of worship for the people of Oppenwehe. Only in spring and fall was communion occasionally celebrated in the chapel.

In 1800 Oppenwehe built a school near the chapel. The building still stands today. The old school building, a Heuerlinghaus [tenant house] of the Kolon Meier at No. 1, is gone. The teachers’ names could be read in the chapel on the bench next to the altar.

In 1808 a cemetery was consecrated next to the chapel. It is the Old Cemetery today. Those who are gone from us wait for the Day of Resurrection where the message of Christ’s victory over death is announced. In Wehdem, too, the church hill became the resting place for the dead.

After World War I, the chapel became quite dilapidated and soon could no longer serve church purposes (communion). Eventually it was torn down. The old linden tree, which stood at the east end, provided shadow for the little church for many years. The tree still stands today in the Old Cemetery .

The people of Oppenwehe built the present church in 1931. The parsonage had been erected a few years earlier. The church is no longer in the center of the village. Residents of the Moors [moors] reach it more easily. This makes it a better church center for the greater district of Oppenwehe.

In 1950 the Parish consecrated a new cemetery near the church. The monument to those killed in the War and those missing in both World Wars fits nicely between the church and the cemetery.

For more than twenty years now a district health nurse is officed in Oppenwehe. In Westphalia it is an exceptional sight when today the elderly district nurse hitches the pony before the two-wheel cart and calls on the sick and old in the community.

After World War II Oppenwehe became an independent parish. Finally the old wish came true: Oppenwehe is not a Filia (daughter) but a Soror (sister) to the Wehdem Parish.

The spatial area of the community, ca. 2990 ha,[2] made it desirable for Oppenwehe to become an independent parish. With much love and a willingness to sacrifice, the native people, influenced by their environment, laid a gratifying and hopeful foundation. May the Lord give a firm hold to this new place for God’s service and may it be a true confession of what will be announced here in accordance with His Word.

  No. 2:  Before the use of street addresses, dwellings were numbered in the order that they were built.
hectar: land measure, one hectar equals 2.5 acres.