Copyright © 2001 Meir Wagner. All rights reserved.
Defenders of the Oppressed and
Accomplices in Uniform
Born in Switzerland in 1912 in the German-speaking city ofBerne, but raised in the French-speaking western part of thecountry, Marcel Pasche grew up fluent in both languages. Inthe small rural community of Vaumarcus in the canton ofNeuchatel, his father was a leading figure in the ChristianUnion movement, and at a young age Marcel was privileged tomeet leading personalities who were heavily involved in socialand humanitarian work.
After finishing his schooling(with final examinationsin German at the Universityof Lausanne, where the mainlanguage was French),Marcel entered the Swissarmy in 1932. That was theyear when social uprisings inGeneva were squashed bythe government, whichcalled in the army for help.Young recruits were orderedto shoot into the protesting crowds, leaving 13 people dead onthe streets of Genevaan event which profoundly markedMarcel. The issues had been labor and social security.
Once his military service was over, Marcel became a studentof theology. In 1934, after initial studies at the University ofLausanne, he transferred to the University of Basle, situated onthe Rhine in the northwestern corner of Switzerland, borderingFrance and Germany.
This prestigious university (which was founded in 1459 byPope Plus II) had a proud tradition of human and cultural values.While studying here, Marcel became acquainted with thefamous professor of theology Karl Barth, who came to Basleafter being expelled from Bonn in Germany because of his criticismof the National Socialist philosophy in 1937. Barth consideredNazism was a far greater danger to mankind thanCommunism. In Germany, the "nazification" of the churcheswas a gradual process, partly made possible through the expulsionand elimination of those who raised their voices in dissent,the most famous among them being Dietrich Bonhoeffer whowas executed by the Nazi regime.
In Basle, young Marcel developed a strong personal antipathytowards the "brown" (Nazi) right-wing ideology inGermany. Karl Barth's theology became the pivotal point in hisacademic life, as it had been for many young students whoescaped from Nazi Germany and came to Basle. In the meantime,Hitler's government was tightening its grip more andmore over the German churches. It was the time when the"Confessing Church" ("Bekennende Kirche") was growing.
After his graduation, Marcel was initially assigned to achurch in Lille in northern France, where he assisted the pastor,Pierre Bosc, who was Vice President of the Reformed Church ofFrance at that time. Marcel married Mady Choffat, a youngwoman he had first met during the time his family had spent atVaumarcus. The young couple were posted to Roubaix, close tothe Belgian border. There they experienced the traumatic invasionby the German Wehrmacht on May 10, 1940.
THE FRENCH YEARS
The invasion of France was preceded by a literal humanwave of Dutch and Belgian refugees, many of them Jews, followingthe blitz of their countries by the German troops in thespring of 1940. Marcel and his wife helped where they could,but by May 19, they themselves were on the road. The evacuationwas extremely chaotic, under constant attack from German"stuka" ("Sturzkampfflieger" airplanes).
Crammed into a small Peugeot automobile, Marcel, Mady,four other women and two babies escaped by the skin of theirteeth, aided mainly by a detailed Michelin Guide map. Theyfound refuge at Pastor Bosc's summerhouse. That was whereMarcel heard the radio broadcast by Marshal Pétain announcingthe surrender of the French army and the armistice ofMay 8. He also heard General Charles de Gaulle's appeal ofJune 18, 1940, calling on the French to resist the invadingGerman troops and to fight.
On August 1, the Pasche family returned to Roubaix, wherethey found their apartment intact but with three German bakers,soldiers of the Wehrmacht, living in it. In the fall of thatyear, they heard the nightly formations of German bomberssetting off on their sorties to England. In spite of the fact thatthe Nazi occupying forces had forbidden it, they listened to theBBC broadcasts from England: "This is London. The French arespeaking to the French."
The general chaos, the lack of food and the German offensivein the East in the summer of 1941 led many young Frenchmen and women to enter the Resistance (the French undergroundarmy). In August of that year, Marcel Pasche wasordained as a pastor of the Reformed Church in Roubaix. It wasa time of great solidarity among practicing Christians, thechurch being a haven of refuge and relaxation for many of thelocals and for the refugees.
The Protestant pastor of Swiss nationality now serving inCatholic France, and also speaking fluent German, soonbecame a vital link between the occupying forces and theFrench population. During this time of trials and hardship hebecame acquainted in particular with three GermansFriedrichGünther, Friedrich Hahn and Carlo Schmid. The personalrisk he took was enormous.
In a report he wrote in 1945, Marcel said: "It is important tonote that these three men, with whom I had developed a relationshipof complete trust, themselves held an independentattitude, opposing the Nazi regime as a consequence of theirChristian faith. They knew that, based on the biblical teaching,they ought `to obey God rather than men'. To put this principleinto practice, however, was a clear proof of courage on theirpart."
What Marcel did not learn until long afterwards was that hewas the only pastor in France to maintain regular contact withGerman soldiers who happened to be brothers in the faith,although wearing the Wehrmacht uniforms. These men notonly became good friends; they were instrumental in alertingMarcel to the degree of pro-Nazi or anti-Nazi commitment ofany superior, colleague or soldier of the SS, the Gestapo or theWehrmacht he had to deal with as representative of the Frenchpopulation in the area of Lille and Roubaix.
THE MILITARY ADMINISTRATION
The northern part of France having just been overrun by theGerman troops, and the British army still battling around thearea of Dunkirk, the occupying forces set up their"Oberfeldkommandatur 670" (OFK 670)the military administrationfor the Nord and Pas-de-Calais regions. They requisitionedthe Lille stock exchange building, "La Bourse". Totalcontrol of all aspects of public and commercial life ensued asadministration was concentrated at this regional center: police,university, justice, textile factories, mining, transportation,church matters, everything ...
Above the entrance to La Bourse, a large German flag displayingthe swastika flapped in the wind, and armed sentinelswere stationed on the imposing stairs leading to the upperfloors. When Marcel Pasche came to the administration buildingfor the first time in the fall of 1940, he showed his identificationpapers to the guard who, after examining them, surprisedhim by saying: "You are a pastor. So am I. My name isFriedrich Günther." This was the opening of a conversationwhich could have remained just a dialogue between two colleagues,but which soon developed into something far greater.
Friedrich Günther was no ordinary soldier. In fact, he was amember of the "Confessing Church" of Germany and wasactively fighting against the nazification of the Christianchurches. He acted as an interpreter, and due to his position ofconfidence, he was extremely valuable to a great many people
Friedrich knew how to select his informants and where topass on the information he picked up by accident. Theconcierge's quarters at the Lille stock exchange building hadalso become a gathering place for many pastor-soldiers whowere passing through the city. The Wehrmacht uniform theseclergymen wore protected them from the Gestapo, who wouldhave arrested many of them without hesitation if they had beenin civilian clothes. Many members of the Confessing Churchkept in touch through Friedrich Günther. Pastor Marcel Paschewas instrumental not only in helping them on, but in spirituallysupporting their Christian faith.
One day Marcel found himself in a very embarrassing situation:three young Frenchmen had flea clandestinely from theirposts in the STO (Obligatory Labor Service) in Germany. Butdue to the fact that they were considered deserters, they couldnot be reintegrated into a family, a place of work, or even afood line. Friedrich Günther knew of a soldier who was incharge of the ammunition dumps at Saint-Armand-les-Eaux.This man was ready to take care of the three fugitives, givingthem food ration cards and papers declaring them to be "heavylaborers". This ensured that they avoided investigation. Marcellater found out that plans of these ammunition dumps hadbeen secretly passed on to London ...
Friedrich Günther's help was particularly valuable in thecase of raids on Jewish refugees in the area. When he learnedthat a raid was scheduled to take place early the next morning,he did not hesitate to inform the pastor. On discovering that thepastor was not at home, Friedrich took it upon himself toinform several people using the telephone he had at theconcierge's booth, pretending he was a "high official of theOberfeldkommandatur", a trick which he successfully repeatedseveral times. Witnesses confirm that the life of a certain Mr.Rabinowitsch, who was living at rue Faidherbe 15 in Lille, wassaved as a result.
Günther maintained close contact with Marcel Pasche andintroduced him to many accomplices who could be trusted. Hisactivities could not always be kept totally secret, of course. Hehad a number of enemies at OFK 670, among them somestaunch Nazis. They managed to have Friedrich sent to thefront. His unit was almost completely wiped out, but Friedrichreturned.
THE SECRETARIAT OF JUDICIAL ASSISTANCE ATGERMAN TRIBUNALS
The following public notice appeared (in French) in twolocal newspapers, the "Echo du Nord" and the "Journal deRoubaix", on November 23, 1942:
"Persons who desire to be assisted by a lawyer before the Germantribunals, even though they may not have sufficient funds, mayaddress themselves to this secretariat which is privately sponsored,every day from 9 to 12 o'clock, at rue Masurel 20, Lille."
Most of Europe had been overrun by Hitler's armed forcesand was largely incapable of organizing social support. PastorMarcel Pasche had the idea of setting up a service to help whenhe witnessed a 17-year-old girl being sentenced to 12 months inprison for "insolence". He intervened and succeeded in gettingthe sentence reduced to three months.
Marcel had discovered that another man, Henri Duprez, aRoubaix industrialist (who was a member of the Resistance)had also tried to set up such a legal assistance service, using hisinfluence with the Catholic hierarchy. Duprez got to know alawyer in Paris, Maître Michel Clément, whose services hadbeen called upon by the wealthy Leignel family. Clément hadsucceeded in obtaining the release of Gustave Leignel, a formerbanker who had been imprisoned for possession of an old pistol.
Pasche and Duprez joined forces to set up a private organization,but they were determined that it should have "official"status. Marcel actively promoted the foundation of the "secretariat".Thanks to his excellent relationship with Dr. CarloSchmid, an important man at OFK 670, permission was grantedto run such a service.
Marcel recalls that it was a true bluff: the notice in the newspapershad actually been smuggled past the SS censors!Although there had never been any real official endorsement, itwas sufficient to refer to this press release whenever any questionswere asked about the legitimacy of the "secretariat".
The address of the "secretariat" was no accident, either. Itwas the business address of Gustave Leignel. Having regainedhis freedom, Gustave worked free of charge and helped familieswho found themselves in a similar situation. Local lawyersagreed to work together with the Parisian lawyer MichelClément. Contributions from interested families helped othersto be assisted at the German tribunals, which ranged from the"Sicherheitsdienst" (SD), to the "Feldgericht" (Field Tribunal),the Air Force Tribunal, and the "Oberfeldgericht", the supremecourt of the armed forces.
There were several cases of "forgotten prisoners" they wereable to help. These men, sentenced and imprisoned, had beenneglected until representatives of the "secretariat" visitedthem.
Another valuable acquaintance was Friedrich (Fritz) Hahn, aGerman who helped the police ("Geheime Feld-Polizei"GFP)because he spoke French. Fritz, like his friend FriedrichGünther, was a pastor and a member of the "ConfessingChurch".
In the middle of the war and under German occupation, themission of Marcel Pasche and his accomplices was a delicateand hazardous undertaking. The links of the "secretariat" andits adepts to the Resistance could have been betrayed at anytime, and tension was mounting. A report dated January 6,1944 shows, however, that 430 families had so far gotten intouch with the "secretariat", and its intervention had been successfulin 70 cases. Its activities continued right up until the liberationof France by the Allied forces.
CARLO SCHMIDA TRUE FRIEND
None of this would have been possible if Marcel Pasche hadnot been directed by Friedrich Günther, right on their firstencounter at the concierge's booth in the fall of 1940, to get intouch with the legal advisor of the administration of the OFK670, Dr. Carlo Schmid, an expert in international law.
Schmid was a man of imposing build. He worked in anoffice on the third floor of the "La Bourse" building, overlookingthe main square of Lille, lending credence for any visitor tothe importance of the function and office he held.
One chilly morning, Marcel the young Swiss expatriate pastornot yet 30 years of age, met Dr. Schmid for the first time. Hewas very warmly received. An unusual experience indeed inthose times.
Carlo's fathera native Germanwas a teacher at theUniversity of Toulouse and had married a Frenchwoman.Carlo was born in southern France in 1896. His family movedto Germany before World War I broke out, which meant thatCarlo had to join the German forces for the last part of the1914-1918 war. After his discharge, he studied law and politicalsciences and became an expert at the International Court ofJustice at the Hague.
In 1933 the Hitler regime prohibited any further promotion,and in 1940 Carlo Schmid was drafted as a legal adviser to the"Oberfeldkommandatur" (OFK) in Lille. There his mandateconsisted of reviving the broken-down French legal system,overseeing the university, the museums, the religious institutions,etc.
Although the French (puppet) government at Vichyreceived its orders from the German military administration inParis, OFK 670 in Lille came under the administration based inBrussels, Belgium. Carlo Schmid always tried to find a solutionto any problem that would be in the best interests of the localpopulation, particularly when he received conflicting ordersfrom Paris and Brussels.
The relationship between Carlo Schmid and Marcel Paschewas marked right from the start by a high measure of confidenceand real friendship. Although older than Marcel andmuch more learned, Carlo was always highly attentive to thesuggestions of this pastor who was in direct contact with thepeople. Marcel, for his part, considered it an unparalleled privilegeto meet this open and refined individual who, even in themiddle of the war, maintained human dignity.
There was a lot of business to be done, so the two men metfrequently. Whenever Marcel submitted the necessary forms intwo languages, French and German, whether it was for permissionto cross from occupied France to the "free" zone ofVichy, the transportation of coal or potatoes, a young people'sget-together or for some charity, Dr. Schmid would approvethe forms using a large rubber stamp with the swastika and thewords "mit Befürwortung" ("with recommendation").Documents marked in this manner carried no official authority;they looked official enough, though, to pass as authentic inmost cases.
In 1942, Marcel Pasche was able to spend a few weeks ofvacation in Switzerland. Prior to Marcel's departure from Lille,Carlo Schmid had been helpful in issuing free passes for Madyand the children, but he could not find a way of issuing a passfor Marcel, since his profession was that of a pastor. Pastorswere not allowed to travel freely. Marcel had to cross the borderinto his native country clandestinely.
Once in Switzerland, he found that there were a number ofyoung theology students who were facing the prospect of joblessnessbecause of the war situation. This gave Marcel an ideawhich, back in Lille, he shared with Carlo Schmid.
After much careful and secret planning, Marcel crossed theborder into Switzerland once again in November that year. Hemet with a young pastor, Jacques Mottu, who volunteered towork as a churchman in the Lille area, undeterred by the hardshipfor which he would be trading an easier life inSwitzerland despite the perilous times. With the help of CarloSchmid, two more young Swiss pastors, François Grandchampand Pierre Vallotton, were smuggled in and posted to Amiensand Reims. Schmid welcomed all of them and gave thempapers that declared their stay legal and approved by theauthorities.
Carlo Schmid was carefully screened by the Army SecretPolice (GFP) after the attempt to assassinate Hitler on July 20,1944. He was summoned to Brussels for questioning andnobody could predict what the outcome of the investigationwould be. As a precaution, he had planned an escape in casethe authorities decided to detain him. Fortunately, he did nothave to make use of this contingency plan, as he was allowedto return to Lille, where he continued to work together withMarcel Pasche.
On August 28, 1944, OFK 670 was being dissolved. Feverishpreparations for departure were taking place when one of theofficers accused Friedrich Günther of desertion. After a scuffle,the Nazi officer shot him three times. Seriously wounded,Friedrich was taken to the hospital of La Calmette, where hedied two days later.
Carlo Schmid and Marcel Pasche saw each other for the lasttime on September 1, 1945. On that occasion, Schmid cautionedMarcel to be extremely careful during the withdrawal of theWehrmacht troops, since a single shot fired by a sniperaccidentallyor notwould jeopardize the entire operation. It wasa known fact that the worn out, weary troops were extremely"trigger-happy". Marcel therefore passed word on to theResistance and was able to negotiate a 24-hour delay before the"Maquis" started their activities.
Dr. Carlo Schmid returned safely to Germany, where hebecame a high-ranking political advisor to the new government.He died in 1979.
In 1992, the mayor of Roubaix offered Marcel Pasche theMedal of Honor of the City of Roubaix, to be presented to himon May 8, the anniversary of the armistice. Pastor Pascheaccepted, on behalf of the Reformed Church that had played itspart in Northern France during those difficult years.
Here are some excerpts from his speech given at the auditoriumof the city hall of Roubaix:
"Honorable Mayor, Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends,
"The distinction with which I am about to be honored causesme deep emotions, especially since it leaps back in historyby about half a century. I have lived and experienced togetherwith you and your parents the mobilization of 1939, Hitler'sattack of May 10, 1940, the advancing and retreat of the Britishtroops, the arrival of the Dutch and Belgian refugees, the sinisterevacuation, the military defeat and the occupation ofFrance by German troops.
"I understood what it was that Professor Karl Barth haddeclared to be `the perverseness of Nazism' just five yearsprior to my coming to France. With the help of Pastor FriedrichGünther who was an active member of the Confessing Church,I got to know Dr. Carlo Schmid, who played a considerablerole in favor of the population suffering under the occupyingforces. Friedrich Günther was assassinated by a Nazi officer.Dr. Schmid has become a high-ranking official in the Germangovernment. He is also responsible for the rapprochement of thepeoples of France and Germany.
"During the four years of occupation, I was able to haverecourse to a network of close and reliable Christian friends.Our notion of `enemies' was wiped away. We became daringand audacious, even to the point where we helped youngforced laborers in their camps in the Ardennes mountains;quite illegally, we `imported' Swiss pastors to help the populationin Northern France. We helped Jewish families andrefugees and, last but not least, we operated the `Secretariat ofJudicial Assistance at German Tribunals in the departmentNord and Pas-de-Calais' from 1942 to 1944. Numerous prisonerswere freed and the lot of many remaining in prison wasalleviated. The existence of such an organization astonishedthe Germans, and is considered unique in the lands occupiedby the Nazis.
"All of this was possible through and with the help of trustedFrench friends ... and the assistance of my compatriot andfriend, the Swiss consul Fred Huber who accompanied me onmany of my missions.
"I would like to thank the population of Roubaix who, at thetime of the liberation, did not suspect my numerous and manifoldcontacts with the occupying forces of being collaborationwith the enemy. Perhaps the particular character of my relationshipwas understood all along? It was an expression of acontinued Christian attitude. Thank you for giving me theopportunity to relive it today."
At the synagogue of Lille, on March 7, 1993, another ceremonytook place. Marcel Pasche was presented with the YadVashem "Righteous Among the Nations" medal of honortogether with his friends Pastor Henri Nick, Dr. Pierre-Elie andOdile Nick, as well as, posthumously, Léon and GermaineCoghe.
Here are excerpts from Marcel Pasche's acceptance speechon that memorable occasion, which he began by reading someverses from Psalm 105:
"O give thanks unto Adonai; call upon his name: make known hisdeeds among the people.
Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrousworks.
Remember his marvelous works that he hath done; his wonders,and the judgements of his mouth;
O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ...
"All of us gathered here, officials and invited persons, Jews,Christians of diverse confessions, and Muslims, are the seed ofAbraham, bearers of the Promise.
"The help to persecuted Jews has manifested a communionamong this posterity of Abraham and a vision of the Promise.
"I acted with accomplices (accomplices they were becauseof the clandestine nature of the activities). First of all, my colleaguesin the ministry. I still remember the doorbell ringing atthe vicarage in the rue des Arts in Roubaix: `Are you PastorPasche?' the visitor asked. `Yes,' I replied. `I have been senthere by Pastor Henri Nick. I am an Israelite!' When this visitorentered my office, we first had a look at his particular situation.And then we had recourse to other bearers of the Promise,more colleagues and friends near the Swiss border:Montbéliard, Institut Glay, Pontarlier ... I find myself very honoredto be associated with Pastor Henri Nick.
"Then there were accomplices in German uniforms, pastorsof the Confessing Church, anti-Nazis, stationed in Lille. In hisMemoirs, published in 1979, Carlo Schmid, the great man inthe new government of the Federal Republic of Germany,writes, recalling the four years he spent in Lille: `The ReformedChurch has acquired great merit by saving the lives of Jews.The risks that some of its ministers took to help the Jews toescape will always be a chapter of glory in the history of theReformed Church of France. She has shown herself worthy ofthe motto of the `camisards' [insurgent Huguenots of theCevennes after the edict of Nantes had been recalled, 1688]when their church was persecuted by the dragoons of the kingof France: `To know to resist ...'
"More accomplices: I recall the names of the lady directorsof the Ambroise-Paré clinic, Therese Matter and EvaDurrleman, then Léon Coghe and his wife, members of mycongregation in Roubaix, and Miss Caudmont, bookkeeper atthe Lyceum Fenelon in Lille who gave shelter to a Jewish pensionerwithout disclosing her identity to her superior.
"I had an accomplice who wore the habit of a nun: SisterGeneviève Gendron, of the Don Bosco order. Originally fromNormandy, she was refined and maliciously intelligent at thesame time, using her modest approach as a good sister to penetrateevery stratum of society to find help from the mostdiverse personalities. After her talks with Jules Isaac, shefounded the Jewish-Christian friendship group of Lille. Shewas commissioned by Cardinal Lienert to get in touch with theProtestant church. (To show her true ecumenism, SisterGeneviève attached a Star of David and a Huguenot cross toher crucifix, thus attracting the attention of many.) In Paris shemet the papal envoy Angelo Roncalli. Later, during the discussionof Jewish matters at the Vatican II council, she traveledto Sotto il Monte near Bergamo in Italy, the home of Pope JohnXXIII, and established friendly contact with the family of thePope. She sent to Rome by family courier her thoughts andsuggestions, which were actually put on the agenda! I hold thissister in very high esteem, just like a mother. I wanted to giveher honor right here, because her ministry was not understoodby her colleagues at that time; she was expelled.
"I have mentioned only a few of my accomplices. But I keepwith me the sentiment that I was encircled during the time ofthe occupation by a great many bearers of the Promise given toAbraham.
"I have witnessed with great joy the birth of the state ofIsrael in 1948. After the Shoah, it is a high-place of hope formankind.
"In the communion of the descendents of Abraham who arepartakers of the Promise, I salute you fraternally. Shalom leIsraeli!"
AFTER THE WAR
Five children were born to Marcel Pasche and his wifeMady; in 1950 the family returned to Switzerland, where a pastoratewas vacant at Château-d'Oex. During the war, the fatherof another of Marcel's friends, Pastor Daniel Curtet, had beenpastor there for a while.
It was in this tranquil mountain village that some of Daniel'sremarkable Bible-coded letters written from war-torn centralFrance had reached Pastor Curtet Senior. (See "The Bible-CodedLetters That Slipped Past the Censors.") The peacefulcountryside was almost disconcertingly quiet for Marcel,though. He was soon looking for another, more challenging,assignment.
The late 1950s and early 1960s were marked by extensiveconstruction of high dams in the Swiss Alps. Marcel and hisfamily moved to Sion in the Valais where most of the buildingwas going on. Hundreds if not thousands of foreigners ofItalian, Spanish and other nationalities were brought in.Without them, the gigantic projects would not have been realized.Marcel Pasche became their pastor.
In this capacity, he was authorized to visit all areas of thehuge construction sites at high altitudes to see the workers, buthe did not leave unattended the families left down in the valleys,who were often in very dire circumstances. On severaloccasions he had to assist them when accidents happened,some of them with fatal consequences. Human failures ormechanical malfunctions could not be prevented in spite ofstrict safety measures and precautions. But nature, too, playedits own dramatic role. Marcel was on duty when an avalanchebroke loose from the glacier above the construction site ofMattmark in 1965, killing over eighty workers and engineers,burying them permanently under thousands of tons of ice.
In 1969 Marcel Pasche received a telephone call from HansSchaffert. The two men had previously worked together whenMarcel had invited Hans to come and assist him in his pastoralwork in northern France at the end of the war. (See "TheProtestant Pastor who Protected the `Property of God'".)
Now, 25 years later, Hans had been appointed secretary ofthe Assistance Office of the Reformed Church of Switzerland(EPER) in Zurich. The massive needs of Christians in the easternEuropean countries under Communist control made physicaland spiritual aid a necessity. Marcel was commissioned totravel to Romania and Hungary in the 1970s, bringing desperately-neededhelp to the suffering people there. A relief journeyto Czechoslovakia in 1978 marked the itinerant pastor's finaltrip.
But Marcel Pasche maintained his contacts with Christiansbehind the Iron Curtain. The fall of the ominous Berlin Wall in1989, when Marcel happened to be present in the still-dividedcity, brought back memories to him of 1945 when another totalitariansystem had come to its ignominious end. At the ripe oldage of almost 90, Marcel Pasche still enjoys reminiscing abouthis dramatic experiences, all written down in a booklet entitled"Années de guerre et de fraternité" ("Years of war and brotherhood"),and subtitled "Sinister and luminous recollections of a pastor".