Studium Theologicum Salesianum
Salesian Pontifical University : Faculty of Theology - Jerusalem Campus

Ecumenical Visit to the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Jerusalem


4 May 2016, STS- Jerusalem
Report by: Cletus Atindaana, M.Afr

On April 26 2016, the third and fourth year students pursuing the Diploma in Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism, were led by Fr. William Russell, the teaching coordinator, on a visit to the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem.

The three-hour long visit was aimed at introducing students to a practical and a vivid ecumenical encounter. It envisaged creating the opportunity for students to meet and interact with another Christian family of a different tradition outside their own Catholic milieu (similar to the ones done in the past in interactions with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Syro-Catholic Patriarchal Eparch, and the Greek Melkite Patriarchal Vicar).

The group was warmly welcomed to the family of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer by Wolfgang Schmidt, Provost of the German-Speaking Protestant Congregation of Jerusalem. After a short reciprocal introduction, the Provost gave a brief historical background of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem. Shortly afterwards, the group was led to a luxury hall where, in a relaxed manner, it engaged in an interactive “question and answer session” with the Provost. He answered patiently and generously the different kinds of questions from students, ranging from the leadership organizational structure of the Lutheran Church through to its inner liturgical life, as well as its social, ecumenical and interreligious engagements. One could easily infer from his answers and more importantly, his personality and pastoral attitude, that the Christian faith is indeed essentially one but lived in diverse traditions. When asked to personally state a major challenge to the ecumenical dialogue in Jerusalem, the Provost, singled out the area of Christian ministry. In his view, to be one as a Christian family entails being able to accept the other in his own faith tradition and to give him the due consideration as one’s equal.

Restrained by time, the enriching discussions ended with a quick tour of the interior of the Lutheran Church. Happy with the group’s visit, the Provost expressed his willingness to host similar encounters in the near future. The group on its part, was indeed content with such a rich visit and the hospitality shown by the Lutheran family.


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