The Strasbourg Institute welcomed the Bishops’ Conference of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland on March 25–28 under the leadership of Archbishop Dr. Tapio Luoma. The Finnish guests, counting among them Board Member Bishop Dr. Matti Repo, were greeted on the evening of the 25th with a reception at the Institute, at which among other things the new ecumenical statement “Communion in Growth” of Finnish Lutherans together with representatives of the Catholic Church in Finland was presented.
The “study day” on March 26 began with a talk from Prof. Dr. Jennifer Wasmuth on the work of the Institute. It continued with a presentation from Prof. Dr. Stefan Dienstbeck on the theme “Vulnerability in Ecumenical Dialogues”. Prof. Dr. André Birmelé spoke about the current challenges for ecumenical dialogues as well as the new tasks to which the Institute has set itself. Prof. Wasmuth led in connection with this an interactive session of questions regarding how Lutheran identity today can be thought of globally. The day concluded with dinner in the city.
After a visit to the European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights on March 27, the bishops met Dr. Gottfried W. Locher, the President of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches. On March 28, the bishops returned for a tour of Alsace accompanied by Institute staff, paying visits to the Isenheim Altarpiece in Colmar and the newly reopened Humanist Library in Sélestat. Thanks to Ms. Elke Leypold the guests from Finland went on their way with eager promises to return soon. The meetings and conversations were personally as well as materially very exciting and inspired further communication and dialogue.
Photos: Elke Leypold, Maria Hinsenkamp