Study course „Studying Ecumenism in Strasbourg 2021!”

Invitation to a new study course in the form of a webinar from October 4-9, 2021

Dear Sisters and Brothers in the member churches of the Lutheran World Federation,

The Institute for Ecumenical Research has established a new study course for Lutheran pastors and advanced students that will be held from October 4 – 9, 2021, as an online-event. The seminar is meant to contribute to a specific aspect of the self-understanding of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF): “To be Lutheran is to be ecumenical.” This is a commitment that is not fulfilled automatically, rather it calls for serious efforts in order to honor it. The study course has three main goals:

Matthieu Arnold elected correspondent of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres

Matthieu Arnold, professor of modern history at the Faculty of Protestant Theology of the University of Strasbourg, has been a close cooperation partner of the Institute for Ecumenical Research for many years. In March 2021, he received a special award, which we would like to briefly report here. We congratulate Matthieu Arnold on the award and wish him all the best and continued success for his future research work!

On behalf of the entire staff
Jennifer Wasmuth
Director of the Institute for Ecumenical Research

Matthieu Arnold has been elected Correspondent of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres at the end of March 2021. This is a special honor for the theologian, who is particularly interested in the Reformers.
After graduating from high school with a focus on mathematics, Matthieu Arnold studied Protestant theology in Strasbourg and at the Institute of European History in Mainz; he earned his doctorate in 1994 and became a pastor first in Strasbourg and then in Baerenthal (Lorraine). “I enjoyed my studies so much that I decided to continue my research for the habilitation while working as a pastor.” In 1997, he obtained a position as professor of modern and contemporary Christian history at the Faculty of Protestant Theology in Strasbourg, where he heads the research group in modern history.

Introduction of Faith Kokubelwa Lugazia

I am Rev. Prof. Faith Kokubelwa Lugazia from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania-North-Western Diocese.
I am an Alumni of Luther Seminary Minnesota, in the USA. There I took Masters and PhD on the doctrine of Pneumatology.
Currently, I work with the Lutheran World Federation as Thirteenth “Assembly Content Coordinator”. My task is to coordinate the contents of the theme and subtheme of the assembly. As the theme and subthemes focusing on the trinitarian God, who now and then insists for the unity (John 17:21), I will work corroboratively with the LWF Ecumenical Institute at Strasbourg-France because they are experts in expressing the unity which God aspires. I look forward to witnessing the fruitation of the Thirteenth Assembly of the LWF in God’s creation in multi transformative ways.

My academic research works are documented as chapters in a book or topics in journals.
I am married to Joeivan Kataraia and we are blessed with two lovely sons.

Section Day of the Lutheran Section of the Lippe Regional Church

On April 26, the Institute’s staff was invited to the online Section Day of the Lutheran Section of the Lippe Regional Church at the suggestion of Superintendent Dr. Andreas Lange. We had the opportunity to present our Institute and our work in the worship service through a video. The collection – also collected online – was for the roof renovation in Strasbourg and yielded 1380 €. We would like to thank all donors for this overwhelming contribution in solidarity with us!

The content of the Section Day also focused on the question “Can we also celebrate the Lord’s Supper in digital services?” Prof. em. Michael Weinrich, University of Bochum, himself a synod member of the Lippische Landeskirche, introduced the questions and, in view of the unresolved issues, cautiously pleaded for a “communion fast”. He also pointed out that the sacrament is not automatically self-explanatory, and that the connections between Cross, Resurrection and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper can no longer be recalled from the collective memory under the present circumstances of a “postmodern Gnosticism”. Also exciting was the subsequent discussion, in which it became clear how differently the individual congregations deal with the topic.

Watch our video (in German only):

Holy Communion in times of digitalization

Holy Communion is currently a hot topic under discussion, specifically whether and in what way digital celebrations may be and should be enacted. At the Institute, Dr. Frank Zeeb (associate research professor since October 2020), is primarily concerned to investigate this question within the framework of a study project using methods of New Testament exegesis, dogmatics and communication sciences.

According to Augsburg Confession article VII, one of the fundamental characteristics of the Church is that in her the “sacraments are administered according to the Gospel.” Therefore, it is always worthwhile to consider Holy Communion in light of the Gospel. It is certainly more than a coincidence that this sacrament is currently being discussed fiercely along two lines: On the one hand, in the Protestant-Catholic dialogue (in view of the question whether it is possible for Protestant and Catholic Christians to celebrate Holy Communion / Eucharist together), and on the other hand, whether digital celebrations of Holy Communion are permissible.