The annual FELSISA Women’s Retreat took place on 20 and 21 March 2017 at the “FELS Retreat” near Paulpietersburg. The topic was “We are beggars. This is true.”
Prof. Dr Werner Klän from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Oberursel (Germany) had been invited to give an introduction on the topic of Martin Luther and the Reformation. About 40 Women (as well as a few men) gathered to read and discuss various Luther texts, and to discover how these are relevant to our faith and the Church in our times. The focus was on translating the insights of the Reformation movement into our day and age. The Luther film, released in 2003, was used as an effective illustration of the topics discussed.
The following topics were presented: 1. Luther’s childhood and environment; 2. Pope, Indulgence, Worms, and Iconoclasm (“picture storm”); 3. Faith from the Word; 4. Baptismal life, Confession & Absolution; 5. Holy Communion; 6. Living in this world as instruments of Christ. Prof. Dr Klän provided background information to these themes. Most important however was the time spent reading actual Luther texts on all of these topics; the participants deliberated the texts with the help of study questions, after which the results were reflected on in a plenary discussion. Pastor Helmut Straeuli (Durban) also held a presentation about Martin Luther’s hymns, and Pastor Matthias Albers (Panbult) spoke about Luther as an interpreter of the Psalms. Lively discussions followed every presentation. On Monday evening, Ruth Beneke recited the entire Sermon on the Mount off by heart!
Devotions were an integral part of the day’s proceedings, with each devotion touching on a specific topic: 1. Grace alone; 2. Faith alone; 3. The Word alone; 4. Christ alone. The entire retreat was held under the watchword for this year from Ezekiel 36:26, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.“ ■
Prof. Dr Werner Klän, Oberursel (Translation: Pastor Roland Johannes, Wartburg)