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Salvationists at the Wittenberg door

Salvationists at the Wittenberg door

Salvationists at the Wittenberg door

31 October 2017

Salvation Army delegates from all over Europe gathered for the first Europe Zone theological symposium in Wittenberg, Germany.

By Lieutenant-Colonel Geoff Webb

The first-ever Salvation Army Europe Zone theological symposium took place in Wittenberg, Germany to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 Theses, which sparked the Reformation.

The dream of Commissioner Birgitte Brekke-Clifton (International Secretary, Europe Zone, International Headquarters), the symposium sought to empower young Salvationists from countries across Europe.

With the title “Salvationists at the Wittenberg Door”, it was designed to increase understanding of the historical contribution of Luther to the Church over the past 500 years, while also encouraging delegates to make a renewed commitment to the life of holiness expressed through discipleship, and join God’s work in building a world where all can experience dignity and justice.

Present and past members of the International Theological Council attended in a support role for presenting papers and facilitating discussion.

Special guest for the conference was Professor Oliver Davies, from Renmin University, China. Presentations were also made by delegates including Petra Kjellen Brooke (Norway, Iceland and The Færoes), Lieutenant Markku Tulander (Finland and Estonia), and Rasmus Ljungberg and Captain Sarah Ilsters (both Sweden and Latvia).

The host territory, Germany, Lithuania and Poland, provided outstanding hospitality, including an evening of history and vignettes of community outreach in Germany, all accompanied by warm fellowship featuring regional food specialities.

"It was good to learn more about Luther's life and the time he lived in in a city where history was made," said Commissioner Marie Willermark, Territorial Commander Germany, Lithuania and Poland Territory.

"It was interesting to understand how his personal journey with God interacted with other people and their calling. It was mentioned that Luther was a catalyst, that he (or rather God through him) started a chain reaction. It was encouraging to see how the Holy Spirit, no matter what the church and society looks like, always turns the spotlight on Jesus and who we are in him."

At the conclusion of the five-day gathering, the 47 delegates were invited to make personal commitments and, as a group, developed their own set of 45 theses reflecting contemporary issues and concerns.

Read the Others article about the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's 95 theses.

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