Conversations at the World Council of Churches (WCC) exhibition booth at the Kirchentag showed there is a growing interest in ecumenical movement among German churches. The topics of a particularly high interest were the Thursdays in Black campaign and studies at the Ecumenical institute in Bossey.
Among hundreds of German and international church-related organizations, the WCC organized a booth at the “Market of opportunities” exhibition area during the bi-annual German Protestant Kirchentag in Dortmund from 19-23 June. Together with MEET youth network WCC promoted its various ecumenical initiatives and the upcoming WCC Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany in 2021.
“The presence of the World Council of Churches at the Kirchentag festival in Dortmund enabled many conversations with the German public on ecumenism and ecumenical initiatives in which German churches can be involved”, said Marianne Ejdersten, WCC director of communication. “Among the most interesting topics were the Thursdays in Black campaign and ecumenical studies in Bossey”, told Ejdersten.
Thanks to the special WCC event on the stage and a group photo at festival’s exhibition area, the Thursdays in Black initiative was very much welcomed and noticed at Kirchentag. “Our cooperation with the hosting Church of Westphalia contributed a lot to the visibility of Thursdays in Black in the German context, standing together for a world free of rape and violence”, said Ejdersten.
“Many students of theology and of other relevant disciplines stopped by and were highly interested and fascinated in the Bossey study program and the possibilities of not only learning about world Christianity out of books but also by the daily personal encounters”, said Rev. Dr Benjamin Simon, professor of Ecumenical Missiology at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey.
Simon says the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey is offering German students what they are looking for: studies about inter-cultural and the plurality of Christianity, and “the living community of the students at Bossey is an exceptional study model”.
“Visitors of Kirchentag are very much interested in concrete initiatives and enterprises - they want to have ideas and suggestions to take home and to implement”, added Simon.
Benjamin Simon also presented information at a seminar on “Ecumenism in Germany,” which featured, in a talk show format, ecumenical songs as well as reflections on opportunities and challenges related to the ecumenical movement in Germany, as well as worldwide.