St. Bernard’s is the church of Wengen’s English-speaking residents and visitors.  It was built by the Intercontinental Church Society (ICS), one of the Church of England’s international mission agencies, who continue to maintain and staff it.  All the ministers (‘seasonal chaplains’) who work here do so voluntarily – usually for a two week period.  Services are conducted in English.

Wengen, like the rest of the Alps, became a popular holiday destination in the 19th century.  To cater for their spiritual needs ICS (then the Colonial and Continental Church Society) held church services in hotels.  As visitor numbers increased following the opening of the Ski, Curling and Downhill Only clubs, ICS decided to build a permanent church and acquired land from Herr Ulrich Fuchs-Lauener in 1915. 

We think that the architect who designed the Park Hotel also drew up plans for the church in 1923 (these can still be seen in the Park Hotel).  However his design was considered too costly, so the present timber-framed building was constructed, funded by donations.  The church was built in 1927 and dedicated on 15 January 1928 by the Bishop of Fulham.  Some 200 people listened to his sermon on Genesis 28:17, “This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven”.

The church became well used and, in the early 1950s, the Swiss Protestant congregation (who also used St Bernard’s whilst their new church was being constructed) helped update it.  It again underwent major repair and refurbishment between 2002 and 2006.

The church is dedicated to St. Bernard, an 11th century saint, famous originally for his hospitality and desire that many may know and understand the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  The passes on the Swiss/Italian border are named after him.

1: The welcome area (north side). 
Here, with this display, you will find the visitor’s book, information about  ICS, postcards on sale, and a box for your prayer requests.

2: The Nave.

The church seats over 120 people, and each pew contains modern English-language Bibles.

3: The literature display (south side).

Here you will find a selection of booklets about the Christian faith.

4: The lectern Bible. 
This was given in memory of Dorothy Lawless, a lifelong and faithful supporter of ICS from Knutsford (UK).  It was dedicated in 2003 at the church’s 75th Anniversary Service

5: The Chancel.

Note the inscription above the arch: ‘I will lift mine eyes up unto the hills’ (KJV), an extract from Psalm 121:1-2 which, in the NRSV, reads ‘I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.’

6: Stained Glass Windows. 
The windows in the chancel were originally plain, but the late Mrs Erica van Eeghen from the Netherlands (a regular visitor to Wengen) made and donated the stained glass windows.  An eagle is depicted above the mountains at the head of the valley in which Wengen is situated.  Erica had climbed the mountains she depicted.  Above the window is the Bible passage ‘Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles.’ (Isaiah 40: 31)