International Seminars for Laypersons in Church Leadership

For women and men who are not ordained and hold a leadership position in their Lutheran churches, the combination of theological training with a visit to Lutherstadt Wittenberg is a unique opportunity. Once a year, a seminar of several days is held for laypersons in leadership positions in member churches of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

The meeting usually consists of a stay in Lutherstadt Wittenberg and a visit to the LWF Communion Office in Geneva.

In Geneva, participants get to know the fields of work of the LWF and staff in the Communion Office.

In Wittenberg, the program consists of thematic work led by a team of teachers, intensive exchange among participants from the different regions of the LWF, and visits to sites of the Reformation. In addition, meeting Christians in Wittenberg serves as an opportunity to get to know one another and the work of laypersons in the church.

Participants lead the daily devotions, presenting their respective traditions and forms of piety. Joint celebrations and enjoyable get-togethers in the evenings also mirror the diversity of cultures. The intensive exchange allows bonds to grow among the participants that continue long after the conference and makes the communion in the LWF an experience for life.

The seminars are held in English.

Upcoming Seminars

15 - 20 May 2022
International Seminars for Laypersons in Church Leadership from LWF member churches (part 1)

28 - 29 June 2022
International Seminars for Laypersons in Church Leadership from LWF member churches (part 2)

Participation Criteria

An invitation to each seminar is sent to the church leadership of the member churches of the LWF. They approach qualified applicants in their church.

Also, persons interested in attending a seminar may contact their church leaders, who can then nominate them.

The LWF Center Wittenberg selects the participants in consultation with the LWF Communion Office in Geneva from the applications received. Criteria such as regional affiliation, a balanced ratio of men and women, age distribution, etc., play an essential role. Nominees who are not selected for a seminar can reapply for the next seminar.

Good proficiency in English is required for participation in the seminar.

“It was indeed a privilege to participate in the seminar. I learned about the programs and experiences of other countries and churches and realized that despite our different cultures, we are indeed one big family. I leave enriched and hope to be a better leader in my church for the glory of God.”

Rebecca Ackwonu, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana
Wittenberg, June 2019. Photo: LWF Center Wittenberg

Impressions from the Seminars

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In the summer, it is also possible to study outdoors: (from left) Quelen Angudampai (The Protestant Church in Sabah, Malaysia), Manoj Kumar Hial (Jeypore Evangelical Lutheran Church, India), and Mildred Buyiswa Sambane (Moravian Church in South Africa). They participated in the 3rd International Seminar for Laypersons in Church Leadership held in June 2019. Photo: LWF Center Wittenberg
Dr. Anupama Hial (Jeypore Evangelical Lutheran Church, India) (front), one of the 2nd International Seminar for Laypersons in Church Leadership teachers, takes a city walk in Wittenberg with seminar participants in August 2018. Photo: LWF Center Wittenberg
In the seminar room: Rev. Joachim Zirkler, director of studies at the LWF Center Wittenberg (first from left), with participants of the 1st International Seminar for Laypersons in Church Leadership held in January 2017. Photo: LWF Center Wittenberg
Jonathan Mwarumba Kapanga (Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church) and Mabel Ho Ngee Fui (Basel Christian Church of Malaysia) follow a theological presentation during the 3rd International Seminar for Laypersons in Church Leadership held in June 2019. Photo: LWF Center Wittenberg
Participants of the 3rd International Seminar for Laypersons in Church Leadership held in June 2019 proudly presenting their certificates. Photo: LWF Center Wittenberg
Mildred Buyiswa Sambane (Moravian Church in South Africa) singing a hymn during the 3rd International Seminar for Laypersons in Church Leadership held in June 2019. Photo: LWF Center Wittenberg
The 2nd International Seminar for Laypersons in Church Leadership participants meet in the courtyard of the Colleg Wittenberg for the start of the city tour in August 2018. On the far right stands city guide Katja Köhler in the historical dress of Katharina von Bora. Photo: LWF Center Wittenberg
Three participants of the 3rd International Seminar for Laypersons in Church Leadership held in June 2019 enjoy a summer evening in the courtyard of the Colleg Wittenberg. They are (from left) Christina Kwade (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria), Ruhut Gloria Sinaga (Batak Christian Community Church, Indonesia), and Macarena Solis de Ovando Gomez (Lutheran Church in Chile). Photo: LWF Center Wittenberg
Participants of the 3rd International Seminar for Laypersons in Church Leadership held in June 2019 celebrating the 10th anniversary of the LWF Center Wittenberg. The new offices of the center were inaugurated on this occasion. Photo: LWF Center Wittenberg
“Amazing, varied, and personal – the LWF Lay Leaders Seminar is a melting pot of rich relationships. Every day there were opportunities for intense conversations with my colleagues from 16 countries on five continents. The seminar is a life-changing and unique event that has broadened my view of the world. I am forever grateful,” says Elizabeth Brennan Burgess (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). She participated in the 3rd International Seminar for Laypersons in Church Leadership held in June 2019. Photo: LWF Center Wittenberg

Do you have questions about the seminars?

Please contact us. We are happy to answer your questions.

Further Seminars

International Seminars for Pastors
Retreat of Newly Elected Leaders (RoNEL)
International Seminars for Alumni
Seminars for Groups from LWF Member Churches
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