On Friday the 22 of September 2023, a group of 14 intrepid learners from South Australia and Queensland gathered together in Berlin to begin a 17 day study tour of Germany. The tour focused on the Reformation and in particular life of Martin Luther. During the course of our learning journey, we visited various places in which Luther engaged in some of the most significant encounters contributing to the unfolding of the Reformation.
The places we visited included Wittenberg, Leipzig, Erfurt, Eisenach (including Wartburg Castle), Worms, Mainz (including the Gutenberg Museum) and Heidelberg. Early in our tour we were blessed to spend a number of days in Wittenberg where Luther had spent some years lecturing in theology at the University of Wittenberg. This is also the place where he nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church, a catalyst moment in the rethinking of the way in which the Bible speaks about sin, justification and grace.
We learned that the Reformation was not just about Martin Luther. Other significant people were involved including Frederick the Wise of Saxony, Phillip Melanchthon and Luther’s wife, Katharina von Bora.
There were so many special moments along the way including worship times in the Corpus Chrtisti Chapel in Wittenberg, visiting places where Luther lived in Wittenberg and Eisenach, visiting the Wartburg Castle where Luther translated the New Testament into German and being in the place where Luther defended his writings at Worms.
The tour was intellectually, theologically and sometimes spiritually challenging balanced with daily opportunities for worship and devotion. The study locations provided opportunities to consolidate and contextualise our learning. It was an intense program which has deepened our understanding but also, as education should, raised new questions for us to further investigate.
Heartfelt thanks to The LEA Director Lisa Schmidt and her team for organising the tour and especially to Lisa and Pastor Matthew Wilksch for their wonderful leadership, guidance and care for our group.
Pastor Brenton Altmann
Director – Identity & Formation