Sharing ecumenical expertise

Participants of the first seminar “Studying Ecumenism in Strasbourg” during one of the intensive working sessions. Photo: Elke Leypold, Institute for Ecumenical Research
Participants of the first seminar “Studying Ecumenism in Strasbourg” during one of the intensive working sessions. Photo: Elke Leypold, Institute for Ecumenical Research

Ecumenical Institute in Strasbourg hosts first seminar on basics of ecumenism

(LWI) - “Many ecumenical issues have been worked on and there have been a number of dialogues in the last decades,” says Prof. Dr Jennifer Wasmuth, Director of the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Strasbourg, France. “We have set out to pass on this knowledge and our experience to theologians from the member churches of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in a dedicated seminar here in Strasbourg.” 

The Institute‘s staff are active participants in LWF dialogue processes. Consequently, they were also involved as lecturers in the seminar “Studying Ecumenism in Strasbourg” that took place there from 2 to 12 October. This was a first of its kind and attended by theologians from different LWF member churches. 

“We note that ecumenism does not draw as much attention as it did before and that there are only a few universities and academies teaching it,” Wasmuth says. “We want to counter this trend with a short course on the basics of ecumenism.” The program included the history of the ecumenical movement and an introduction to the various denominations. It also allowed a lot of time for delving into the documents produced by LWF dialogues with Anglicans, Baptists, Mennonites, Methodists, Orthodox, Pentecostals, Reformed and Catholics.

Seminar participants came from Lutheran churches around the world. An integral part of the seminar was to build community and share local practice and experience. Wasmuth is convinced that the Institute staff also benefit greatly from these insights, explaining: “We can listen to the questions, challenges and opportunities facing the local pastors in their respective environment. That roots our work at the Institute and gives us valuable advice for our future activity.” 

Since the seminar was a good experience and the feedback positive, more events of this type are planned, said Wasmuth. The seminar was supported by generous donations from the Oscar Cullmann Foundation and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Württemberg