Deepening communion, strengthening churches, encouraging people

Getting together: Scholarship holders of the GNC/LWF with Rev. Dionisie Arion, Scholarship Secretary of the GNC/LWF (left) and Rev. Norbert Denecke, General Secretary of the GNC/LWF. Photo: LWF/A.Weyermüller
Getting together: Scholarship holders of the GNC/LWF with Rev. Dionisie Arion, Scholarship Secretary of the GNC/LWF (left) and Rev. Norbert Denecke, General Secretary of the GNC/LWF. Photo: LWF/A.Weyermüller

GNC/LWF scholarship holders grateful for widened horizons

(LWI) – Studying abroad, getting to know a different culture and language, taking up impulses from theology and church: every year about 35 students from member churches of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) make use this opportunity with a scholarship from the German National Committee of the LWF (GNC/LWF). "This has greatly enriched me and broadened my horizons," says Elise Eckard, who recently completed a semester at Princeton Theological Seminary (USA). "I gained a new understanding of what it means to be Lutheran by meeting people of many different denominations."

I gained a new understanding of what it means to be Lutheran by meeting people of many different denominations.
Elise Eckard, scholarship holder of the GNC/LWF

The scholarship program of the GNC/LWF focuses on students of theology and church-related subjects. German students are supported to study or research abroad, international students are supported to study in Germany. At a meeting of scholarship holders in Hanover in April eleven scholarship holders met with staff of the GNC/LWF office to exchange experiences and learn about the work of the LWF.

Szilvia Garai from Hungary is studying in Tübingen University at the Faculty of Protestant Theology. Her personal connection with the LWF goes back to her involvement the Global Young Reformers Network. For this she had previously travelled to Germany for a workshop in Wittenberg to prepare for the 2017 anniversary of the Reformation. "I learned a lot in the process, for example how to plan projects," she recalls.

David Sittner spent a semester at the United Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia (USA) last year. "I am very grateful for this opportunity," he says. "My grandparents could not travel during the Nazi period and my parents lived with the travel restrictions of the GDR. My generation now has all the freedom to get to know the whole world." He has returned to the Faculty of Theology in the Leipzig University to continue his studies.

Katharina Beck and Daniel Nieswald got to know each other as fellow students at the Faculdades EST in São Leopoldo (Brazil). For Beck, accompanying a patient waiting for a liver transplant was a formative experience during her stay in Brazil. "It wasn't an easy situation, but I now know that I want to get involved in clinical pastoral care," she knows. Nieswald has just moved to Munich where he will spend a semester studying at the Faculty of Protestant Theology. The first priority is learning the German language and is facing up to the challenges of life in the big city.

The GNC/LWF scholarship program has been running since 1952 and since then more than 2,000 students from LWF member churches were supported. "In the five-year period from 2013 to 2018, we awarded scholarships to 176 women and men," says Rev. Dionisie Arion, Scholarship Secretary of the GNC/LWF. "114 German students went abroad, while 61 international students from 23 countries came to Germany.”

Application for scholarships

The scholarships are open to students of theology and church-related subjects. Students intending to study in Germany can submit scholarship applications until 1 January each year. Generally studies begin in the German winter semester, i.e. October. For German students the application deadline is 1 January of each year for the winter semester and 1 July for the summer semester of the following year.

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