Taking responsibility – giving hope – being visible was the title of the conference held in Sibiu, Romania from 12th-15th April. 12 theologians – all of them in early stages of their careers – from 9 European countries met to discuss where Protestant influences manifest themselves in European societies and where Protestantism becomes visible. “Theology unites Europe!” commented Volkmar Ortmann, associate professor at the University of Giessen and one of the organisers of the conference, seeing the lively discussions between participants coming from very different backgrounds and regions.Continue reading “This was the Sibiu conference”
Being a Christian is always expressed in concrete action, not only in the inner circle, but also in society in general. Therefore, we and our roots become visible. Biblical texts like Matthew 5,46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” make it clear that ACTING makes us visible: we are not helping only those who are already close to us. Places for visible acts of the protestant community are not limited to the parish hall or the church – even though those might be the most obvious visible places within a parish. And the target group of projects is not only the protestant community, but also the surrounding neighbourhood and society. There are a multitude of possibilities to create awareness for certain topics, to engage with contemporary issues, to set an agenda and to encourage others to act.
The following outline offers a suggestion on how the church can get involved in a specific way in a neighbourhood and become visible: By organizing a storytelling café! A storytelling café is a low-threshold format in which different people can engage with each other. Community members, “witnesses” (people affected by a chosen topic and/or their advocates), neighbours, activists and politicians from the district are invited. A very good moderator ensures that everyone is heard. Thus, the parish gives an impulse to society and ideally this leads to a series of storytelling cafés in other places in the district. Beyond this event, results/outputs can be solidarity campaigns, both online and offline, but also a handout that enables other congregations to conduct similar discussion processes in their neighbourhoods, whereby the format can be implemented in both urban and rural areas.
Why do we need a participative liturgy?
Liturgy is the backbone of our life of faith in community. In our different home churches, there are different liturgical forms because our cultural contexts and histories are different. But how can people engage with their own liturgy? How can they feel included in this effort of speaking about God and God’s relation to humanity? How can they be called to participate more and not letting the entire liturgical work to pastors or theologians? In the following, you will find some liturgical propositions for the preparation of a common prayer in your community especially with teenagers and young adults.Continue reading “Participation and Liturgy”
Continue reading “Where Protestantism becomes visible”
Where Protestant influences manifest themselves in European societies and where Protestantism becomes visible – these questions were discussed by 12 young theologians from 9 European countries at their conference in Sibiu, Romania April 12th-15th. Volkmar Ortmann, associate professor at the University of Giessen and board member of the Protetant League Hesse was impressed by the great commitment and the focused cooperation of the participants despite their different contexts and theological backgrounds. For him, it showed that “theology unites Europe.”
Only by participating in church and other social networks Protestants can share what they have, learn new things, celebrate life and ultimately put their theological insights into practice. This is one of the insights participants at the second digital academy of the Forum Young Theology in Europe shared. Mirjam Sauer, who was highly committed to developing the whole project and to execute the digital academies and conferences made clear during one of theContinue reading “7 Lectures – a multitude of insights”
At the May 2022 meeting of the Forum Young Theology in Europe 20 participants produced various workshop outputs on the theme of nationalism and cosmopolitism. First, they developed nine theses on inclusive identity in Christ. With a spiritual guide for worship and a lesson outline, the participants show how to put the theses into practice. Finally, they composed and wrote a canon.Continue reading “Results of the Vienna conference￼”
Forum Young Theology in Europe met in Vienna
With much praise and fresh impetus, 22 young theologians from 12 countries look back on an eventful meeting of the Young Theology in Vienna in May 2022. The topic sounds rather difficult: “Protestantism between nationalism and cosmopolitanism”. Is there nationalism in the Protestant Church? “Yes,” says Volkmar Ortmann, Privatdozent in church history at the University of Giessen, Germany.
“The Protestants are not everywhere as cosmopolitan as they like to claim.” That has a lot to do with the local historical developments. Ortmann, who organised this conference of the Protestant Federation of Hesse together with European partners, knows that Protestantism in Europe shows many traditions of its own, up to and including nationalistic currents. “But,” adds his colleague Mirijam Sauer, “language, nationality and identity naturally belong closely together.” Thus, Protestant minorities, as in Transylvania, find strength through their cultural imprint with their own identity.
And because identity is far from being nationalism, the conference team developed the term “toxic nationalism” and distinguished it from “national identity”: “We can’t help it, says Anna Lerch from Switzerland, “where we were born, what language we learned first and what costume we wear at festivals”, but she is of the opinion that we are responsible for ensuring that this healthy “national identity” does not become toxic.Continue reading “The eu as a strong foundation for the churches”