Walter has been a Baptist Minister for 25 years. He was given his grounding in Hamburg Germany in a very large church of 600 members before returning home to Vienna, where his first role was as a University College Master looking after the pastoral and spiritual needs of students.
This then developed into a church and now he serves as the General Secretary of all Baptist work in his beloved Austria.
He was born and raised in Vienna, the capital city of Austria. His country is in the middle of Europe, and the famous Danube River runs through the city of Vienna. It was a monarchy and part of a military empire until the end of WWI when the Austro-Hungarian Empire was broken up. Until that time, 90% of the population was strongly Roman Catholic.
However, surveys in the 1980s indicated that only about one-tenth of Catholics attended church; and today not three-quarters of the population would regard themselves belonging to this Church. In Vienna it would now be much less because many people don't class themselves as religious at all.
The Baptist work in Austria floundered until the 1990s, with only 10 free churches, but today it is different and their number doubled by the year 2000, with three of them being Baptist. Today there are 12 Baptist congregations with registered members totalling over 1000 – but because it is difficult to become a 'member', there are many more who attend services – and this does not count the children.
"In a small Union of Churches two things are necessary," Walter Klimt said. "The first is 'quality' and the second, 'world-wide perspective'. We need support from Baptists around the world and without it, we seem to go one step forward and one step back."
He added that he nots that there is something happening in Austria now. Having been the home of the counter reformation, the Reformation seemed to passit by. Now, after 450 years, Walter Klimt feels that there is an awakening coming, that it is a Mission Field, and he is calling for help to pull the country's Baptist Union out of the grave, into which it once seemed destined to fall. Please contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This Walter Klimt interview on the Australian Missionary News IPTV can be viewed at either tv.bushorchestra.com/BWC/videopages/walter_klimt.html or www.safeworlds.net