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Invitation to Inaugural Lecture by Professor Dr. Johannes Weth

Prof. Dr. Johannes Weth

The University of Applied Sciences for Intercultural Theology Hermannsburg (FIT) cordially invites to the public inaugural lecture by Professor Dr. Johannes Weth.

  • WHEN: 30.01.2024, 17.00 h s.t.
  • WHERE: Auditorium of FIT

Professor Weth, born in 1975, has held the Chair of Systematic Theology in Intercultural Perspective at FIT since October 2022. In his inaugural lecture, he will address the following topic:

"The Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all." (2 Cor 13:14)
Reflections on a Phenomenology and a Criteriology of the Experience of the Holy Spirit - or, in other words: How Intercultural Theology and Practice Could be Understood in a New Way

Weth, who holds a degree and doctorate in theology and is an ordained pastor in the Protestant church, is not only interested in theology and intercultural theology in particular, but also in art: alongside his theological studies, Weth studied fine art and painting at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, where he graduated as a master student of the renowned artist and professor Markus Lüpertz.

Weth is also a founding member of the ecumenical Werner Pfetzing Foundation Himmelsfels in Spangenberg, North Hesse. Together with many fellow campaigners, he has created an intercultural, interdenominational and ecumenical learning and living community at Himmelsfels. He also lives here together with his wife Njeri and their two sons and has been involved for 17 years as chairman of the board, theologian, artist and housemate.

Professor Weth shows how theology, intercultural engagement and art can form a dynamic alliance. 

The official invitation to the ecent can be found here:
Invitation Inaugural Lecture Prof. J. Weth

 

 

Graduation 2023: Bringing knowledge alive!

Gruppenfoto Graduates 2023

On September 23, 2023, FIT celebrated the graduation of six students.

Corona, the decision of the responsible bodies of the carrier institution to close the FIT in the foreseeable future and the outbreak of the war in and against Ukraine combined with the worrying realization that peace in Europe is no longer a stable constant - these were the not easy conditions under which the this year's graduates of FIT studied. But they didn´t give up, but  successfully competed their studies. And now the six lucky graduates of the Bachelor programs - David T. Anunda, Florian Ihlenfeldt, Wilke Ringeling, Charity Ugwu, Lara Wunder and Sarah Zawedde, from Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Germany - as well as the graduate of the Master program San Su from Myanmar stood there to be honored in front of the eyes of the university community and their relatives.

The completion of the BA study programme is primarily not the end, but the beginning of something new: Now the task is to bring the knowledge alive!

Here you can click for the Report Graduation FIT 2023

 
 

Internships of FIT students: Diverse, global and local

At the end of the winter semester 2022/23, five students of FIT returned to the campus after their long-term internship and publicly reported on their experiences. This year, all students chose to do an internship in Germany, but nonetheless in very different settings and with global reference.

As varied as the students' commitments were, they all gained formative experiences and important insights during their internship for the time after their studies at FIT.

Here you can find more information on the internships:
Report-Longterm-Internship-2023.pdf

 

Dies Academicus 2022 was a great success

AKL auf dem dies ac.

With great pleasure, the deputy rector of FIT, Professor Dr Andreas Kunz-Lübcke, welcomed around 40 active students, alumni, lecturers and guests to the dies academicus - the "highlight of the academic year" - on the FIT campus on 13 May 2022.

The guiding theme of the day was "Religion without education?" This question - which can also be understood critically in view of the closure of FIT in 2025 as decided by the Mission Committee - was examined on the basis of two world religions: Hinduism and Judaism.

Here you can find the detailed report (in German): 
Bericht dies academicus 2022

 

Preserve and continue the spirit of FIT!

Representatives of FIT students FIT took advantage of the most recent meeting of the Mission Committee (MA) in Hermannsburg in March 2022 to officially hand over the signature lists on two petitions they had initiated against the closure of the FIT to the chairman of the committee, Bishop Ralf Meister, and to the director of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission in Lower Saxony (ELM), Pastor Michael Thiel. The petition addressed to the three sponsoring churches received 1,508 signatures; the petition addressed to the ELM found 990 supporters.

Malia Mumo Kisau thanked the members of MA on behalf of the students for the opportunity to speak and appealed once again not to give up the study programme at FIT, at least in terms of the academic content, but to find a way to continue it. "Especially in view of the current crises, which are also knocking on our own doors, it is more important than ever to continue to teach the Christian faith and its peacemaking values throughout the world," added Wilke Ringeling. For this, he said, the competencies imparted at FIT are very important. 

Bishop Meister replied that the churches see and appreciate the value and spirit of the FIT. There is an effort of the regional church to preserve this spirit and to continue it in another place. "We are on the right track here," Meister said.

 

Mourning for Professor Dr. Drea Fröchtling

Drea 2021

The FIT community and the Ev.-luth-  Mission in Lower Saxony (ELM) mourn the loss of Professor Dr Andrea Fröchtling, who had been Professor of Practical Theology in Intercultural Perspective with a focus on International Diakonia at the University of Applied Sciences for Intercultural Theology Hermannsburg since 2012. . A few days before Christmas she passed away at the age of 52.

"Drea", as she only wanted to be called by colleagues, students and friends (on a first name basis and without academic titles), has shaped our university professionally and humanly like hardly anyone else since its foundation.

Without ever emphasising it, she had a high level of professional competence and academic reputation, clear analytical expertise, wisdom and foresight. She would have been only too happy to help FIT secure its long-term future. Even more outstanding and formative for her personality, however, were her great human warmth, her approachability and her tireless commitment to others. Until the end, her thoughts and care were especially directed towards her students.

For her, FIT was - especially in her last years, which were burdened by illness - family, drive and elixir of life at the same time. An "alma mater" in the original sense. She gave everything for FIT. All of us - teachers, staff and students - have been endlessly blessed by Drea. We are very grateful for this gift.

With a smile in her face she often and gladly spoke of "the best of all possible worlds". With Drea, this world was certainly a better place. We now entrust her to God's care.

On Friday, 14.01.2022 (funeral service) and on Saturday, 15.01.2022 (urn burial), the FIT community and many other people who were connected to her said goodbye to Drea in Petri Church Hanover and in the Deister resting forest. These were moving ceremonies that once again expressed the high esteem in which Drea was held by so many people.

Many thanks to all who participated or contributed, especially the FIT Choir for their touching singing.

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Mission Committee decides to close FIT after a transitional period

The Mission Committee of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission in Lower Saxony (ELM)* decided on the 09.03.2021 to phase out the two Bachelor degree programmes at the University of Applied Sciences for Intercultural Theology Hermannsburg. The university will continue to operate for as long as it takes to enable all students, who have already begun their studies, to complete their degree programme in accordance with the respective Examination Regulations.

For the Master degree programme offered by the FIT in cooperation with the Faculty of Theology at the University of Göttingen, possibilities are being sought to continue it in Göttingen.

The Rectorate is already in contact with the General Students' Committee (AStA) about the questions that students now have. Independently of this, students should please contact the FIT rectorate or the management if they have any further questions relating to their studies; FIT is only too happy to assist.

The FIT rectorate, management, lecturers and staff very much regret this serious decision, which was justified by the Mission Committee on the grounds of financial necessity. Details of the Mission Committee's motives can be found in this press release: PM ELM 09.03.2021

The teaching staff of FIT commented on the closure decision in an open letter dated 11.05.2021 to the management of the sponsoring foundation and the sponsoring churches: Open letter FIT to closure decision

The students of FIT have started two petitions through the AStA in which they campaign for the preservation of the university and address demands to the ELM and the three sponsoring churches: Students, AStA, semester ticket & more

Rector Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Richebächer considers the decision by the Mission Committee to be a big mistake in view of the missionary, interreligious-dialogical and social responsibility of the church in an increasingly multicultural society and explains further:

"FIT has been a beacon of hope since 2012. It designed new, practice-oriented, interdisciplinary academic study programmes which gained state recognition. These studies promote interreligious dialogue, support bridge-building between international congregations and the evangelical regional churches and serve cooperations between partner churches in the north and in the south. All these are indispensable concerns in a society that is becoming more multicultural and in which encounters and the coexistence of people of different cultural and religious backgrounds is increasing."

As FIT has been able to gather from numerous reactions and personal statements, this assessment is shared not only by many friends, supporters, cooperation partners and alumni of FIT, but also by actors from academia, mission and ecumenism.

In recent months and years, also the Academic Advisory Board has spoken out several times in favour of the continuation of the University of Applied Sciences: "FIT provides the ELM in the whole of Germany with a unique distinguishing feature. And even more importantly, cooperations with the ELM partner churches and support for the increasingly important migration congregations in Germany and their connection to the regional churches depend in the long run on intercultural theology remaining a subject anchored in the ELM through a research and educational institution such as FIT".

With the closure of FIT, the ELM and its sponsoring churches are giving up an important and socially relevant educational programme with an intercultural concept that is unique in Germany.

In the end however, the Mission Committee prioritized financial aspects over content and social values.

In the ELM press release, Bishop Ralf Meister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover expresses his thanks to the FIT rector and staff for their good work in recent years and says: "In future, we, the church, must work a lot harder than beforehand to very specifically understand that intercultural theology is more than ever a cross-sectional task of the church“.

It will however be much more difficult to cope with this task without academic profiling and taught skills such as the ability to engage in intercultural dialogue and respectful discussion with different religions and denominations.


* The Mission Committee is the governing body of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Agency in Lower Saxony (ELM). It consists of 19 members delegated by the governing bodies of the regional churches and is currently chaired by Bishop Ralf Meister.