Witness Moment

The Wittenberg Project Ends … and Begins

With the completion of the funding campaign, ministry begins in Wittenberg, Germany.

Thanks be to God! The Wittenberg Project, a campaign that set out to renovate the Old Latin School in Wittenberg, Germany, has officially come to a joyful completion. With the renovations behind it, now the work of the project begins.

The International Lutheran Center at the Old Latin School is now operating at full force as a multipurpose retreat and education center and outpost for proclamation of the Gospel. Since the center opened two years ago, thousands of visitors have worshiped, toured and bunked at the center — to engage in the city that made Reformation history.

Between the numerous conferences, seminars and even college classes held on-site, the building has stayed busy most days of the year. Still, there are countless opportunities for Lutherans and supporters to engage in the new International Lutheran Center, especially as the 500th anniversary of the Reformation approaches.

“The center would love to see more congregational, confirmation and study groups of all ages come and stay here and really delve into all the treasures that Wittenberg has to offer,” said Kristin Lange, managing director for the International Lutheran Society of Wittenberg (ILSW). “Visitors can even book a long-term stay with a window looking over Luther’s church! Even if folks are not staying in the building, they can use the chapel, as many day-trip groups have done.”

Tours of the International Lutheran Center can be arranged by appointment via an online form available on the center’s website, oldlatinschool.org/tours. Tour times follow general office hours during the week, and advance reservations are necessary to ensure that the director is available.

For lodging needs, the center relies on a nearby booking partner, Colleg Wittenberg, which manages all reservations, check-ins and lodging-related questions. Potential visitors may click the “Lodging” tab at oldlatinschool.org to inquire about upcoming dates and availability.

“The Wittenberg Project reached a most important milestone in that we have received beloved gifts to pay off the building remodeling and renovation,” noted the Rev. Dr. Michael Kumm, chairman of the ILSW as well as chairman of the LCMS Board of Directors. “Now we have Lutherans from all over the world visiting and studying in Wittenberg, while staying at the Old Latin School. This project and its continued operation will play a pivotal role in educating and reaching out to Lutherans and non-Lutherans alike well into the future.”

Lutherland Gift Caps Off Campaign

The campaign to fund the renovation of the Old Latin School ended successfully on Jan. 4.

Capping off the campaign was what LCMS Mission Advancement Executive Director Mark Hofman calls the “lasting legacy” of a gift from the board of Lutherland, a now-closed Lutheran organization. In appreciation for that gift, the chapel inside the renovated building will be named “Lutherland of the West Chapel.”

Hofman said that “a band of generous people, congregations and organizations” responded to The Wittenberg Project — including one anonymous donor who led with a $1 million matching grant. Lutheran Church Extension Fund also collaborated with the LCMS and the ILSW by supplying a line of credit to help pay renovation costs as contributions or pledges were secured.

Through Dec. 31, $4,164,396 was received in gifts and pledges.

“To my knowledge,” Hofman added, “this may be the first named campaign where the LCMS accomplished a mission-focused goal and reached a challenging financial goal. Lutherland’s board, along with friends too numerous to mention here, made a conscious decision to combine their gifts and complete something no one individual could accomplish alone.”

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