The former Superintendent of the United Methodist Church in Macedonia and Secretary of the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe, Wilhelm Nausner, passed away on Monday, 30 April 2018, at the age of 87. His wife Helene had gone before him just one day earlier.
Wilhelm Nausner was born in Srednie Siolo (then in Poland, today in Belarus) as the son of Methodist missionaries. He did not gain any school leaving qualification, as his schooling was interrupted by displacement and military service – but this did not prevent him from being active in many different areas during the many decades of his professional career. He often carried a lot of responsibility: as the employee of a building firm, as a reproduction technician for offset printing, in refugee work for UNO and for the World Council of Churches, in comprehensive welfare and social commitments – and not least as an unpaid worker in church and welfare work at national and European levels. He was a convinced Christian who was not afraid to speak up for and defend his convictions – but he was also a learner. He read constantly, and took much trouble to reach a personal opinion and attitude of his own on all questions regarding public and private life. At the same time, he was open to other views and perspectives, and always ready to engage in honest and critical discussion.
Wilhelm Nausner was a pillar of the UMC in Austria for decades, in different functions. He also bore a lot of responsibility in the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe. Thus his 24-year work as its Secretary did not merely consist of writing the minutes. He often travelled to the various member countries of the Central Conference and supported their people with advice and assistance – as the companion of the bishops, but also on countless occasions without the bishops, when they were not able or not allowed to go there. Long after he had reached retirement age, he carried out the office of Superintendent of the UMC in Macedonia. His committed service left far-reaching traces in society, and it was no coincidence that he received significant awards from persons bearing political responsibility both in Bulgaria and in Macedonia, where the UMC is a small minority church.
As a pioneer, committed contributor, organizer and bridge builder, he also left an enduring mark on European Methodism and beyond, in particular on the Conference of European Churches (CEC). His tireless service, his readiness to help, and his love of people were the expression of his Christian belief.
Wilhelm Nausner was married to Helene Nausner, who was born in Romania, for more than 65 years. They were blessed with eight children. In addition to her responsible work as a mother, Helene Nausner also gave her husband strong support in his duties. Her house was an open one, and many persons enjoyed her thoughtful hospitality. Additionally, Helene Nausner was strongly committed to voluntary work in the social area, she was the President of the UMC Women’s Group in Austria, and she was also very active in connection with the Women’s World Day of Prayer. Helene Nausner, like her husband, was always ready to discuss her faith – but above all she also lived her faith in a convincing way.
Now both of them have gone peacefully to their long home.
A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. on June 22, 2018, at Linz UMC (Austria).
Source: UMC in Austria / Office of Bishop Patrick Streiff, Zurich (Switzerland)