From October 15 to 19, 2018, the “Berliner Missionswerk” (Berlin Mission) invited school leaders and persons responsible for education from Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Palestine, Taiwan, Tanzania, the United Kingdom and Zambia to an Ecumenical Academy in Berlin. The aim was to develop a common mission statement for Protestant education.
Impulses from Rudolf Herpich (Director of Berlin Mission), Nigel Genders (Chief Education Officer of the Church of England and General Secretary of the National Society) and Friedhelm Kraft (Head of the Department for Basic Issues of Religious Education in Schools and Communities, Educational Institutions of the EKBO) provided exciting insights into the diversity of contexts, challenges and approaches of Protestant educational institutions worldwide. Birgit Sendler-Koschel (head of the education department of the EKD and member of the international GPENreformation network council) and Annika Hensel (GPENreformation office) showed the importance and impact of good global networking and presented the position paper “Establishing common ground for Protestant schools worldwide”. Within the framework of workshops and plenary discussions, the participants supplemented the lectures with reports from their own work and quickly identified numerous differences – e.g. with regard to the prevailing political system and its attitude towards Christian education. At least as quickly, however, the fundamental similarities of Protestant schools in different countries became visible: as individuals created and unconditionally loved by God, the dignity of every student and every teacher is at the centre of the mission statement of Protestant schools. Based on this understanding, their work aims to promote the potential of each individual in the best possible way and to facilitate individual development and lifelong education. Excursions to the Protestant schools of Neukölln and Neuruppin as well as a visit to the youth education centre “Haus Kreisau” (Evangelical vocational school work of the EKBO) made these findings practically tangible.
The jointly developed communiqué “Raising Humanity. Bringing up Young People – Lifting up Mankind. A Protestant Consensus on Education”, in the development of which the GPENreformation office was also involved, can be found here: