On the 13th of May, Vicar Andreas Albers and I returned to Germany once again to continue our theological studies.
Only this time, instead of six years, we only stayed for three weeks. During those three weeks, we came together with five other vicars of the SELK and were given the opportunity to reflect on the practical experiences that we had made during our vicarages so far, in order to learn from one another.
It all started in the Missionary House in Bleckmar. We arrived there on Monday afternoon and were received by Pastor Hans-Heinrich Heine, the director of the Practical Theological Seminar. Right there in Bleckmar, many of our ancestors were trained and prepared to go out into the mission field, and it was a wonderful privilege to listen to presentations there, where my great-great-grandfather once sat and studied.
We stayed in Bleckmar for ten days and were spoiled with delicious food. The theme for the Practical Theological Seminar was “Catechesis,” and Pastor Heine organized guest speakers as well as presented sessions himself, so that we could gain a deeper understanding of the subject. Every day started and ended with devotions, and to prevent us from only depending on our own experiences, each day was enhanced with two presentations by the experts. The Bishop and various pastors of the SELK also came by to share with us their own experiences in the field.
During the last week, we continued our courses in Kassel. We followed the same daily rhythm as before, but from this point onward the “further education” was focused on various educational approaches.
On the 27th of May, it was all over. We closed the Practical Theological Seminar with a Divine Service and then everyone left to go home so that they could be back in their own congregations in time to help out with the Ascension Day service.
I would sincerely like to thank firstly Pastor Hans-Heinrich Heine, for all of the planning and organizing that he undertook to make this Practical Theological Seminar such a success. I would also like to thank the church boards of the SELK and the FELSISA, who enabled us to take part in the seminar. I have learned a lot and this will surely enrich me in the ministry.
Vicar Christian Straeuli, Wittenberg