Today I get to write another blog from Wittenberg here in Germany. This is my last full day here, representing the European Methodist Church at our stand in the world exhibition to celebrate 500 years since the Reformation. I shall be on duty at 1pm, so will be taking the opportunity this morning to see more of this fascinating town before I leave tomorrow. I have walked past the doors to which Luther nailed his 95 theses but I have not yet been inside the famous Schloßkirche, so that will be the first thing on my to do list after posting this.
Although I knew a little about Martin Luther and the Reformation before this week, I now know much more! Yesterday I worshipped with the Baptist congregation (there is no Methodist Church here) and then went on to explore the Lutherhaus. I saw the table where Martin Luther wrote, and also where he gathered others together for ‘Table Talk’. I saw a reproduction printing press and a few examples of the vast quantity of literature which was produced at the time. I wandered through exhibitions of portraits and paintings and other artefacts before heading back to the stand where we have spent many hours this week, sharing conversation with passers-by.
Some visitors have travelled from other parts of Germany, some from other parts of the world, but many are from Wittenberg itself. It has been fascinating to hear their stories of how Wittenberg has changed since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany. It will not surprise you to know that what I have been asked often this week has been about Brexit. I return to words which Rosemarie posted on Facebook a few weeks ago – “There is no Brexit in the Methodist Connexion!”
The photo shows our team of European Methodists – from left to right they are Charlotte Thaarup from the Uniting Church in Sweden; her husband Jörgen Thaarup from the United Methodist Church in Denmark; next to me, recently retired Bishop Rosemarie Wenner and Klaus Ulrich Ruof from the German United Methodist Church.
The picture was taken on Friday evening, after we had gathered with others in the market place and sung ‘Dona nobis pacem’ as we prayed for peace in our world. The theme of our week here in Wittenberg is ‘peace’ – perhaps if you are interested you might like to investigate the story of ‘swords into ploughshares’ which happened here in September 1983.
Another blog for another occasion, perhaps!