end already? ekd stipend program closing seminar

The Lutheran Church of Germany gave me an incredible gift – a stipend that made it possible for me to study in Germany this year! They, along with the Lutheran World Federation and the World Council of Churches, provide stipends for students from around the world to come study theology (and other subjects) and to gain ecumenical experience in Germany.

It has been a wonderful, challenging year of growing and learning. Since last September when we had our first orientation meeting, the group of stipend recipients has come together several times over the year for seminars and meetings. The team that helped guide and support us this year are also really delightful people. On July 5-7, those of us who are not extending our scholarships gathered in Berlin to reflect upon our time in Germany, to provide feedback for the stipend program, and also to have one last excursion together!

We took a boat tour on Wansee in Berlin and rode on the water all the way to Potsdam. Berlin is not just the capital city of Germany, it is also its own state. So although Potsdam lies right outside the edge of Berlin, it is actually the capital city of the state of Brandenburg (which geographically surrounds Berlin). I just figured this all out last weekend. Anyway, the point is, I knew very little about Potsdam before this trip and was therefore very pleasantly surprised to see what a beautiful location it is.

Sailboats on Wansee
In the Dutch Quarter
and the Russian Quarter
the Rathaus
Schloss Sans Souci
Sans Souci gardens
This courtyards of this church were beautiful!
Brandenburger Tor of Potsdam
a colorful street corner

After a wonderful day on the lake and touring Potsdam, we were treated to a great dinner. On Sunday morning, we attended worship in the Berliner Dom.

Berliner Dom
One last photo op of the whole group of us stipend recipients who are heading home

After a word of blessing, we boarded our trains and headed our separate ways to finish up our busy semesters of work and assignments. All that was left to say was “danke” and “auf Wiedersehen.”

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