New Material for Ecumenical and Partnership Activity

The two pocket guides are the first in a new series of handy publications by the GNC/LWF containing basic information. Photo: LWF/ A.Duret

Publications in English explain the German church scene

(LWI) – Today the German National Committee of The Lutheran World Federation (GNC/LWF) released two new pocket guides for use in international relations. The aim of the publications is to explain the basic theological foundations of Lutheranism in Germany and the structure of Protestant churches in Germany. The guides are designed to assist representatives of churches outside Germany but will also be useful to Germans working ecumenically and internationally with partner congregations.

The first one, Understanding Lutherans. A Pocket Guide to Lutheranism in Germany, concentrates on the Lutheran churches in Germany. It introduces the reader to German Lutheranism by summarizing the history and foundations of Martin Luther's theology, and outlining the ecumenical approach of Lutheran churches. Another section takes up Lutheran forms of worship and the significance of baptism and Holy Communion.

The second one, Lutheran – Reformed – United. A Pocket Guide to the Denominational Landscape in Germany, sheds light on the complex church scene in Germany. It refers to historical and theological differences, describes current structures and highlights the worldwide connections of the three major Protestant denominations in Germany. A joint section on the intra-Protestant and ecumenical relations shows the links between the denominational families.

We often receive queries from our international partners. That is why we have put together this basic information in English.
Oberkirchenrat Dr Oliver Schuegraf

"We often receive queries from our international partners. That is why we have put together this basic information in English," Oberkirchenrat  Dr Oliver Schuegraf explains. With respect to Understanding Lutherans, he notes that there are differences between Lutheranism in Germany and in other countries: "Many of our sister churches in the LWF want to know how German Lutherans relate church life to Martin Luther today." This pocket guide should also be useful in dialogues with other denominations, he adds.

How churches are organized in Germany has also raised questions from abroad. The system of Landeskirchen (regional churches) is often unknown in other countries and hard to understand, says Schuegraf. "Many also think that –  in Luther's homeland – all Protestants are Lutherans. What is sometimes called 'removal van conversion' ­– changing your confession just by moving to another federal state or region – is inconceivable for Lutherans from Iceland, for example." Such matters are explained in Lutheran – Reformed – United.

The two pocket guides are the first in a new series of handy publications by the GNC/LWF containing basic information. The aim is to present short but sound introductions to various subjects. The two booklets can be downloaded (links below). Printed copies may be ordered at 2 Euro per copy from kaufmann@dnk-lwb.de.

Links to pocket guides

Understanding Lutherans

Lutheran – Reformed – United