First LWF seminar for lay leaders offers sound theological knowledge

LWF lay leaders: studying Lutheran theology at historical sites of the Reformation and experiencing the worldwide church community.
LWF lay leaders: studying Lutheran theology at historical sites of the Reformation and experiencing the worldwide church community.

"A priesthood of all believers"

(LWI) - Women and men from all regions of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) are taking part in the first LWF seminar for lay people in church leadership positions, from 19 to 28 January at the LWF Center in Wittenberg, Germany, and at the Ecumenical Centre, in Geneva, Switzerland.

Under the title "Priesthood of all believers”, the 19 non-ordained leaders of LWF member churches have the opportunity to study Lutheran theology at historical sites of the Reformation and to experience the communion of churches worldwide.

The group includes women and men. The LWF has committed itself to be an inclusive communion, and men and women enjoy full and equal participation in the life in church and society, as well as in decision-making processes, activities and programs.

Against this background, the LWF Center Wittenberg has organized international seminars for theologians since 2009. The participation of non-ordained women and men has also been growing in recent years, increasingly the focus of the LWF, and gains with the first seminar for lay persons in church leadership positions.

"Sound theological knowledge for people in Lutheran church leadership office is indispensable - whether ordained or not,” emphasizes Dr. Philip Lok, LWF Asia Secretary, who is accompanying the group. "We want to contribute to this."

Pastor Joachim Zirkler, Head of Studies at the LWF Center Wittenberg, adds: "The exchange beyond cultural boundaries is an invaluable opportunity for the churches of the communion. The town of Wittenberg, the spiritual life of the group and the experience of the global community will shape the seminar participants in a profound and lasting manner.”

Desri Sumbayak has a leadership position in the women's organization of her home church, the Indonesian Christian Church. Professionally, she is a lecturer for teaching professions, and was particularly enthusiastic for the seminar session on theology in Martin Luther's chorales. “I have understood how Luther used music to bring the gospel to the people. Our challenge now is to use this model for today’s educational work for the young generation."

For Dr. Oliver Engelhardt of the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren in the Czech Republic, the seminar is an excellent preparation for his new position as ecumenical officer of his church. “The exchange between the participants over our different church traditions is very enriching. We also exchanged ideas and experiences concerning he relationship between laity and clergy - in many churches the lack of young theologians increases the need for trained lay persons,” he believes.

The participants spoke unanimously of the strong group spirit during the meeting. The chance to meet different people from the church community was enriching for all.

LWF Center Wittenberg

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