The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod hopes to establish a facility in Wittenberg and has purchased a building to house an “international Lutheran Welcome Center,” said David L. Mahsman of LCMS World Mission. The project was announced two years ago as a mission on behalf of the LCMS-related Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany (SELK), a body not in fellowship with the major Lutheran church in Germany.
Mahsman said the LCMS wants to offer educational opportunities for visitors and to build up the small SELK congregation in Wittenberg. The plan is stalled as funds are sought, Mahsman said, but “church leaders are convinced of the project’s value and are committed to it.”
The ELCA Wittenberg Center’s doors are open to the possibility of cooperation, said Jean and Stephen Godsall-Myers, directors. Last November, the center held a chaplain’s conference that “included Missouri and ELCA chaplains,” they wrote in a July 9 e-mail. In working with local Lutherans they wish to “cooperate with any Missouri efforts, as much as would/could be appropriate,” they added.
1) Wittenberg: where the Reformation began. 72 miles south of Berlin, 40 minutes to 1 to 1-1/2 hour by train. ELCA Wittenberg Center
2) Eisleben: Luther's birthplace and where he died in 154. 70 miles from Wittenberg, 2 to 2 1/2 hours by fast train or local train.
3) Erfurt: The Augustinian monastery where Luther studed. 130 miles from Wittenber, 2 to 3 hours by train.
4) Eisenach: The Wartburg Castle, where Luther tranlsated the Bible, birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach. 162 miles from Wittenberg, 2 hours by fast train, 4 hours by local train.
I stood in the pulpit where Martin Luther preached his last sermon. In St. Andreas Church in Eisleben, Germany, I thought of the 63-year-old reformer 562 years ago, wracked with physical and psychic pain, preaching comfort based upon Matthew 11:25-30, then at the end, delivering a bitter diatribe against the Jews and all who opposed his attempt to cleanse the church.
|Charles Austin stands outside Wartburg Castle, overlooking Eisenach, Germany.|
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