Gate Area “Ecumenism and Religion”

Balancing unity and diversity

Ecumenism and religion as a gate of freedom – this means maintaining a balance between unity and diversity. In this balance, the memory of the Reformation today can take form in ecumenical breadth and mutual respect. There are still various tasks which need to be carried out in trust; for example, Lutherans and Catholics are now on an irreversible path from conflict to fellowship. Visitors to this gate area will discover the commonalities between the Christian churches. They will meet Christians from different countries and confessions, experience the ecumenical project of the Luther Garden, partake in the unity of Christians in the daily noon prayer, and reflect on what connects all the confessions.

The thematic area of ecumenism and religion opens up space for encounters and exchange between all people and all confessions – yet doesn’t shy away from criticism and difference. Five hundred years after the Reformation, we must grapple with the question of how Christians can appropriately judge Luther’s dark and hurtful utterances about Jews, and how Jews and Christians together can acknowledge their impact through history. And the current challenges posed by the increasing numbers of Muslims in Germany demand answers as to how discussion between Christians and Muslims can be taken to a deeper level.

The Catholic Church extends a warm welcome to you with its diverse offerings at the edge of Wittenberg’s old town centre. During the World Reformation Exhibition, we are setting an example of ecumenical neighbourliness and fellowship. A comfortable church café, meditation ideas, church services, presentations, discussions, informative exhibitions and much more await you. The alternating dioceses and institutions that introduce themselves here weekly will show visitors just how refreshing the Catholic faith can be. It will definitely be worth stopping in more than once.

The Luther Garden – where faith grows to new heights

The Lutheran World Federation, a global community of 145 Lutheran churches, invites churches from around the world to plant trees – in a living, growing monument to the Reformation. This garden of nearly 300 trees is a symbol of the fellowship amongst the Christian churches and confessions. The garden as a whole also carries symbolic meaning. At its centre stands a large cross – a triple cross construction made of aluminium and stainless steel. Seven paths, representing the seven continents, lead from this central point out into the world.

Caring between heaven and earth – on the Ferris wheel at the World Reformation Exhibition

In the gate area “Ecumenism and Religion” stands the Ferris wheel, towering 30 metres into the sky. On a Ferris wheel, as in life, there are beautiful moments of lightness when earthly concerns and everyday worries seem to recede into the distance – and others in which one finds oneself heading downwards. Pastoral care helps on this journey through life. We call our offering “Caring between heaven and earth”. On the Ferris wheel, we present pastoral care in an easy-going, playful way. But the gondolas are a protected space in which secrets can be confided in one of the pastoral workers who are available here, should you so choose. Others might prefer simply to be accompanied on their ride by the music. There is no compulsion to talk or celebrate. It is a chance to slow down and enjoy Wittenberg from high above, at a very relaxing pace.

Be sure not to miss:

  • Jews, Christians and Muslims under one roof: Visit the House of One as a venue of interfaith dialogue.
  • Borne between heaven and earth: Take a ride on the Ferris wheel of the Fachkonferenz Seelsorge (Symposium on Pastoral Care) and enjoy new perspectives on Wittenberg and your own life.
  • Five world religions, five celebrations: Attend these religious ceremonies and get to know rituals and traditions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.