Having recently journeyed on a study tour where we walked in the footsteps of Martin Luther across central Germany, one highlight was visiting the village of Neuendettelsau.
This small town was founded more than 700 years ago, and in 1837 a determined Pastor Wilhelm Lohe came to the village and transformed it. He established a Lutheran Church, mission society and the Deaconess Institute; established to train ladies to serve the elderly and disabled. Today the ‘Diakonie Neuendettelsau’ employs 7,600 people through various enterprises such as hospitals, schools, universities, butchers, bakeries and florists.
While the Diakonie enterprise was of great interest to me, it was the heart of these Lutheran organisations that impacted me most. On the hotel wall where we stayed and in each room on the wall, there was a piece of artwork which illustrated their ministry “the 7 works of mercy”
- Feed the hungry
- Refresh the thirsty
- Shelter the homeless
- Clothe the naked
- Visit the sick
- Visit the imprisoned; and
- Bury the dead
The artwork reflects the scripture in Matthew 25 versus 34-36
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
On tour I received a greater appreciation for our Lutheran heritage and identity, and it was the people that impacted me most, their love and humble service for the communities they care for.
Each one of our Learning Communities are a significant statement of our Lutheran heritage and identity, and it is my prayer that like our brothers and sisters in Germany, we impact our students and families with love and humble service, as we honour God by serving others together.
Strategy & Project Director