Intercultural competency is becoming increasingly important. This holds true not only for business life, but also for theology and the Church(es). Today, there are immigrant churches in most German cities, with Hamburg alone having more than 100 African congregations. Members of these churches and congregations, with their specific cultural backgrounds, often struggle to understand the way European church leaders and theologians think. Many young Germans are fascinated by the lively services of African, Asian and Latin American Christians. They want to engage in diaconical and mission work, but they often have difficulties in understanding what lies behind these expressions of faith. Currently, few educational institutions explore such encounters of culturally diverse Christians and forms of Christianity from a theological perspective.
Dialogue between different theologies
The University of Applied Sciences for Intercultural Theology (FIT) Hermannsburg, founded in 2012, aims at filling this gap. Its mission is:
- to establish a dialogue of critical Protestantism and Lutheran theologies with Pentecostal and Charismatic movements
- to become a place where Protestant theological teaching in Germany meets the different theologies of Africa, Asia and Latin America
- and to contribute to cross-cultural understanding and integration.
The FIT Hermannsburg institutionally belongs to the Evangelical-Lutheran Mission in Lower Saxony (ELM), financed by the Evangelical-Lutheran Churches of Hanover, Brunswick and Schaumburg-Lippe. It is the successor of the Mission Seminary, which academically prepared theologians and missionaries for overseas service for more than 150 years.
At the moment three fulltime degree courses are on offer: BA Intercultural Theology, Migration and Congregational Leadership (titled as of the winter semester 2017/2018: Intercultural Theology, Migration and Global Cooperation), BA Mission Studies and International Diaconia (titled as of the winter semester 2017/2018: Intercultural Theology and Global Diaconia) and in cooperation with the University of Göttignen MA Intercultural Theology.
Highly ecumenical programs, combining science with practice
These programmes, being highly ecumenical, are open to students from all cultural and religious backgrounds and combine science with practice. Graduates will be qualified to work professionally in Church-related and social institutions in Germany and around the globe.