Bishop Prof. Dr Heike Springhart, Evangelischen Landeskirche in Baden, welcomed the participants to Karlsruhe, Germany, with a message of embracing the hope of reconciliation.
“Reconciliation and unity are deeply rooted also in my heart, my life, my research and the church of Baden. Today the borders of division and hostility are still a reality, and for me as a European especially closer than ever before, at least in my lifetime. We are living in a time when war is raging in Europe and this means challenges in a big way. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we also saw how separate and sometimes hostile people are toward each other and how divided our world is.”
Talking about being the ambassadors of the boundary-crossing ministry of grace, she further added, “In contrast, God places the love of Christ which shifts and removes borders. This is not possible without effort, and requires movement and strength.”
Taking place alongside the WCC 11th Assembly, GETI participants will be joining the assembly on 31 August.
Reflecting on the GETI theme, “Christ’s Love (Re) moves Borders,” one of the GETI participants shared, “Coming from a Buddhist country with religious diversity, this theme is insightful and a great learning. My expectation from GETI is that I want to learn about ecumenism,” said Saw Min Thein, Karen Theological Seminary, Yangon, Myanmar.
Since the start of the assembly, participants have been reflecting and continue to explore the following themes: Healing Memories, Kairos for Creation, Witness from the Margins, Engaging with Plurality, Body Politics: Body, Health and Healing, 4th Industrial Revolution, & AI and Human Identity in the Context of Global Digitisation.
“The themes are incredible too, I studied theology but there are a lot of topics that I never studied in-depth like kairos for creation and healing of memories—and everything else that we talked about. It really widened my perspective and made me think more and get to know people and make friends. It is very exciting,” said Marina Fanous, Coptic Orthodox Church.
Commenting on the progress of GETI program over the period of time, Dr Kuzipa Nalwamba, professor of Ecumenical Social Ethics and WCC programme executive for Ecumenical Theological Education said, “For me the biggest excitement about GETI is that we get the students to actually have a voice in the WCC 11th Assembly. The participation in the ecumenical conversations has really excited me, because that is an official program of the assembly and our students are going to be there, and their voices are going to be incorporated in the reflections that will take place.”