Celebrating 500 years of Reformation with 500 schools worldwide – for following this ambitious aim the project “schools500reformation” was initiated in 2013. In October 2015, almost two years before the festivities of the Reformation Jubilee even started, the 500th network member was welcomed. The huge interest of Protestant schools in global networking let to only one conclusion: A platform for international, intercultural and interdenominational exchange is needed even beyond 2017!
For this purpose, the follow-up network “GPENreformation” (Global Pedagogical Network – Joining in Reformation) has been founded and nowadays celebrates the joining of its 700th members, the Kidugala Lutheran Seminary Secondary School from Njombe, Tanzania. First established as a girls’ school, the school authorities, the Southern Dioceses of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania demonstrated willingness to face social changes in an open and creative way: “The Diocese opened the school for boys and sold building materials as sand, wood and bricks and eatables like maize, beans, sugar and salt for bearing the growing costs for running the school” reports principal Imani Msabwa. He is proud of his predecessor who followed the schools’ mission “to liberate people in three dimensions – spiritual well-being, mental well-being and physical well-bering” already in those days.
Joining GPENreformation as its 700th member, the Kidugala Lutheran Seminary Secondary School especially owes to the network Ambassador Rev. Dr. Gerson Mgaya (Finland/Tanzania). He presented the network to the school and was greeted with enthusiasm: “Our students as well as our teachers can benefit – personally and professionally – from international exchanges. We absolutely wanted to become a part of this community of schools in the spirit of Christ!”, tells Imani Msabwa.
Together with 40 other Ambassadors of GPENreformation, Rev. Dr. Gerson Mgaya will meet for the first Ambassadors Assembly of the network in November 2018 in his home country Tanzania. Besides reports about current developments of the worldwide Protestant education sector, an import focus will be on the communication of the Ambassadors; as actors as Rev. Dr. Gerson Mgaya are important links between local schools and the global network level and promote Protestant education and an openness for a global exchange, they are contributing significantly to the success of GPENreformation.
GPENreformation is supported by the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and led by an international Council. The Chair of the Council of the EKD and patron of GPENreformation, Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm encourages the 700th member school: “Your school shows a new way of living together seeded in Protestant education institutions and raised by the young generation. To “learn” peace – one of the main targets of GPENreformation – is the basis for successful and sustainable development and a life in dignity for all people!”.