Farewell celebration of the MA 10 group of Intercultural Theology students

The picture shows the MA10 group Intercultural Theology students posing in front of the Mensa in Göttingen. This photo had been taken on the welcoming day 2018 in Göttingen and the group was now invited to the farewell celebration with this photo.

MA10 2018 in front of the Mensa

At that time, none of the students needed to wear a face mask or keep one´s distance. But this year due to the Corona pandemie we had to organize the farewell celebration online on July 3, 2020. On the other hand this turned out to be also an advantage, because more students who had already returned to their home countries – Kenya, USA, Indonesia, Palestine – could join the celebration and share their experiences and insights with all participants. 23 students are finishing the Master´s programme this year. Students emphasized the importance of the intercultural exchange and discussion they enjoyed in the seminars, during the train journeys from Hermannsburg to Göttingen and in the daily life encounters on the campus of the University of Applied Sciences for Intercultural Theology Hermannsburg (Fachhochschule) in Hermannsburg. One student highlighted that it was the „most intercultural experience I ever had“. This process of intercultural team building is part of the programme and is analyzed and reflected in specific seminars.

The students received many good wishes and greetings. The dean of the theological faculty Prof. Dr. Bernd Schröder had prepared greetings which were sent to all students. The director of the University of Applied Sciences for Intercultural Theology Hermannsburg and teacher in the M.A.programme Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Richebächer joined the online celebration and greeted the group:
„Warm congratulations for all, those who have submitted their MA thesis and best wishes to those who are still working on it. We are looking back on an exciting period of study: 2 years full of challenges, 4 semester, each one of a different character: Starting in Hermannsburg, growing together as a group in oneness and diversity, class work, excursions and private studies, coming back to Göttingen, going for examination, very concentrated work at the end.
But today: The day of gratitude! We will miss you. You have been a very active and very much contributing group in Hermannsburg shaping with us the community, learning from each other, standing together in prayer before God and in solidarity with friends and colleagues before humans.
And now there is a new and long way ahead of you: The way back into your country or somewhere else. The way back in your profession or into a new professional challenge. With the Watchword for this Month of July from the 1 Kg 19,7 in the Hebrew bible I greet you and wish you God’s strength in all insecurity and God’s remaining love for all stations to come in your lives: “The angel of the Lord touched Elia and told him: Get up and eat, for the journey ahead of you will be long.” Be blessed!“

PD Dr. Fritz Heinrich, academic coordinator of the M.A.programme in Göttingen and teacher in the programme endowed us with the translation of a poem of the Brasilian poem writer Carlos Drummond de Andrade about friendship and wished students that they may stay friends also after finishing the programme:

„May this poem become a friend, just as the time during the MA studies can become a friend. May it keep awake the memories of the friendships amongst the fellow students and by that become a symbol for the friendship that you take from the community in your study year and that you can bring into everyday life afterwards: friendship across borders and friendliness in dealing with each other in societies, which increasingly are influenced by unfriendly utterances and behavior. The Amity Song of Carlos Drummond de Andrade shall also express the gratitude for walking the way together throughout the last two years, a way that hopefully may continue in the future.“

A small group of the MA 10 students who still live in Göttingen, PD Dr. Fritz Heinrich, Elena Romashko M.A. and Dr. Cornelia Schlarb met on July 16. The students received a gift from the theological faculty: a bowl with the Theologicum in springtime on the front and chocolate inside. We also took the last group photos in front of the Theologicum and in the inner courtyard.

MA 10 graduates in the inner courtyard of the Theologicum

May all students finish the programme successfully and use their knowledge and skills to promote the welfare of all and to contribute to a peaceful cooperation between cultures and religions.

Cornelia Schlarb
Koordinatorin/Coordinator Intercultural Theology

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Theologische Fakultät – Intercultural Theology
Platz der Göttinger Sieben 2
37073 Göttingen

e-mail: cornelia.schlarb@theologie.uni-goettingen.de