'German Days' set for October

The Center for Lutheran Theology and Public Life will again host “German Days at the Sem,” Oct. 24-25 on the campus of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

This year’s “German Days” is the second in a series of 10 events to be held each fall leading up to the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation on Oct. 31, 2017.

The theme of this fall’s event, “Faith and Politics in Luther’s Land — and Here,” will address a topic pertinent in this election year: the impact of religion on public life.  Scholars and statesmen from both sides of the Atlantic will discuss the influence of Germany’s Christian heritage on its national affairs, and political life in the European Union.  They also will recall the importance of new religions and neo-paganism in Nazi ideology, and the anti-Christian nature of Hitler’s regime.

Perhaps of particular interest to Americans in light of the impending U.S. elections will be the constitutional aspect of religion in America and Europe.

“Similarly, the troubling question will be raised whether there might exist parallels between the growing role of paganism — and especially, Satanism — in contemporary U.S. life and the ideological realities that prevailed in Nazi Germany,” noted Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto, director of the Center for Lutheran Theology and Public Life and moderator of the conference.

Keynote speakers will be Dr. Hans Apel, Germany’s former finance and defense minister, and Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Barry Anderson.

Other presenters include:

  • Rev. Christian Meissner, national executive secretary of the Protestant caucus of Germany’s governing Christian Democratic Union.

  • Rev. Larry Nichols, a leading Lutheran expert in cults and Satanism in the United States.

  • Professors Irving Hexham and Karla Poewe of the University of Calgary in Canada, both specialists on the influence of new religions on Nazi Germany.

  • Dr. Mark Ruff, associate professor of history at St. Louis University and a foremost specialist on the Christian and specifically Catholic youth in postwar Germany, and of the struggle of Christians under the Nazis.

  • Professor Michael Rutz, editor-in-chief of Rheinischer Merkur, one of Germany’s most distinguished newspapers.
  • Several Concordia Seminary faculty and staff members also will participate.

    The conference also will feature a winzerfest (wine festival), organized in cooperation with the town of Hermann, Mo., the heart of Missouri wine country, and exhibitions and presentations of the Concordia Historical Institute, the German American Heritage Society, and Concordia Publishing House.

    “German Days at the Sem” will begin with a bilingual matins service at 9:40 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 24, in the seminary’s Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus.  The conference will conclude on Saturday with a “Bach at the Sem” performance in the chapel.  One of the works on the program will be of particular relevance to the event’s theme: a Bach chorus for the induction of civil officers.

    Registration for the conference is free, but required.  There is a $6 charge for the authentic German lunch on Saturday, and on-campus housing is available for $30 (singles) or $17.50 (shared) per night.

    To download a registration form, go to the seminary’s Web site at www.csl.edu and click on the “German Days” link.  For more information, call (314) 505-7238 or send an e-mail to center1@csl.edu.

    The Center for Lutheran Theology and Public Life is the successor of the Concordia Seminary Institute on Lay Vocation.  The mission of the center, an affiliate of the seminary, is “to project Lutheran thought to the secular realm,” according to Siemon-Netto.

    Posted Aug. 8, 2008

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