Freed by God’s love to stand up and change the world

German young reformers Kira Schall, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany, and Paula Göhre, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, say the biggest challenge following Workshop Wittenberg will be how participants make their ideas come to life. Photo: LWF/Johanan Celine Valeriano

Paula Göhre and Kira Schall, two young reformers from Germany, describe how the Workshop Wittenberg gathering of youth from all over the world has sharpened their perspective on Lutheran identity and Christian responsibility in the world.

We came to Wittenberg to join the Global Young Reformers’ Network as Lutherans from the German context. When we met the others we realized that everyone arrived with his or her own identity.

As we started talking to each other, we realized the differences in our faith and behavior. Talking in the sense of listening and understanding, we understood that being Lutheran means thinking globally, not only by accepting differences but also connecting them to our faith. This has become part of our Lutheran identity.

We also had dreams about changing the world, but we haven't done that yet. We don't know if our limited perspective, the missing ideas or our daily life challenges have prevented us from realizing our aims.

Here in Wittenberg, around 140 people are gathered together with their dreams and visions of life. In this community, we are already living these dreams. However, the biggest challenge is how to make these ideas real in our personal contexts.

What will happen after the Wittenberg workshop is important. Our little world has been changed. Enriched by the communion of faith and strengthened to act, we feel freed to change the world as well.

We are speaking of moments like this: At the weekend we visited several parishes within the Evangelical Church of Central Germany. We were put together in small international groups. It was enlightening to experience that language and culture didn’t separate us, in fact, we grew together very quickly. During the youth service, we sang with 80 young locals the song, “We are the world,” by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. As we sang this song, we realized that when we go back to our home parishes, this phrase will remain an important message to all of us: “Well, let us realize that a change can only come when we stand together as one”

Paula Göhre is from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, and Kira Schall from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany.


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