For many Lutheran pastors and theologians worldwide, a visit to the city of the Reformation is a heartfelt wish. Also, meeting colleagues from different countries and continents in Lutherstadt Wittenberg – living, studying, and praying together – provides fresh theological perspectives and promotes spiritual renewal and encouragement. With this goal in mind, the LWF Center Wittenberg offers international seminars for pastors and theologians from member churches of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF). The two-week events take place in March and November every year.
During that time, participants study texts by Martin Luther and their current relevance in various contexts under the skilled academic leadership of international teachers. Exchange with participants from the seven regions of the LWF on their experiences complements the study of texts.
Excursions to sites of the Reformation or other places related to the conference theme add to the program. Also, meeting congregations in the surrounding area allows mutual insights into the church situation of the visitors and the hosts. The local congregations and their guests from across the world come together for joint prayers and Sunday services.
Each day begins with a devotion led by one of the seminar participants. An inspiring exchange between different liturgical and cultural traditions and forms of worship comes to life here. During the seminar, participants present their churches, describing their current strengths and challenges.
After 14 days filled with profound encounters, a fellowship connects the seminar participants long after they depart from Wittenberg. It shapes the living experience of the global communion of the LWF.
The seminars are held in English.
An invitation to each seminar is sent to the church leadership of the member churches of the LWF. They then 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.
“Different people, different languages, one goal: to spread the Gospel all over the world. In Wittenberg solidified in Lutheran theology and strengthened by a worldwide community and personal friendship. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to making the seminar such an extraordinary experience. “
Rev. Dr. Pia Nikola Schmutzler, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saxony, Germany
Photo: LWF/A. Weyermüller