Theological institute in Berlin will focus on reforming theology, migrating church and transforming society

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The first GETI was organized by the WCC at its 10th Assembly in Busan, Korea in 2013. © WCC

An upcoming Global Ecumenical Theological Institute (GETI) in Berlin, Germany, has participants like Shahriar Ashrafkhorasani, from the Church of England, looking forward to an experience that will go beyond informative into transforming.

Thirty-two-year-old Ashrafkhorasani, originally from Iran but studying in the UK, will join about 120 other students from 19 May to 1 June, 2017, for an ecumenical initiative for education and encounter for advanced theology students from all over the world who are studying in Europe. Students will expand their European network of contacts and strengthen the mutual perception of European and migration churches.

GETI ’17 is an initiative for ecumenical education in Europe and worldwide organized by the Conference of European Churches, and supported by several European churches, mission bodies and universities.

Participants will study under the orientation of three key themes: reforming theology, migrating church and transforming society.

"My theological approach is multidisciplinary, that is intellectual exploration through cross-pollination of various ideas, which can be both informative and transformative; from destructive radicalism, and de-radicalisation, to a positive and benign radicalism, as Jesus was both radically inclusive and radically demanding of those who he encountered,” said Ashrafkhorasani, anticipating how deep the experience promises to be.

Part of a European pilgrimage


GETI ’17 is an integral part of European churches' response to the World Council of Church’s (WCC) pilgrimage of justice and peace, said Rev. Dr Benjamin Simon, who serves on the GETI ’17 organizing committee and is professor of Ecumenical Missiology at the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey.

“Our participants are people who are studying somewhere in Europe but coming from the whole world,” Simon explains. “Now that we have our list of nearly 150 participants, we have nearly the world world represented in the GETI. It is fantastic.”

Simon believes GETI students and faculty view themselves as moving together on a pilgrimage. “It is so important that the younger generation is fascinated by the idea of becoming one and becoming part of this fellowship of churches, especially if they have not had any chance to live in both diversity and unity.”

There is urgent need of a specific pronunciation of the voice of Christians in Europe, adds Dr Uta Andrée, a GETI ’17 co-organizer at the Academy of Mission at the University of Hamburg.

“Europe is in the focus of migration of people who hope for a better life and most Europeans share values that deal in a differentiated way with this phenomenon,” said Andree.

“We as the GETI '17 movement want to proclaim the gospel of justice and hospitality, and strengthen young leaders of churches in Europe - these may be from migrant parishes or from indigenous European churches - in this vision.”

The first GETI was organized by the WCC at its 10th Assembly in 2013. The WCC is organizing a future GETI in Arusha, Tanzania in 2018, for which applications are now open.

Global Ecumenical Theological Institute 2017

Global Ecumenical Theological Institute 2018

Applications open for “life-changing” Global Ecumenical Theological Institute in Tanzania (WCC press release of 30 March 2017)