Two Lutherans begin ecumenical pilgrimage to retrace Luther’s steps

An Evangelical Lutheran Church in America press release reports:

“Two Lutherans will leave the Augustinian priory in Erfurt, Germany, Aug. 22, and walk one thousand miles to Rome, retracing the footsteps of Martin Luther.  But for the Rev. Sarah Hinlicky Wilson and her husband, Dr. Andrew Lars Wilson, it’s much more than a long hike — it’s a chance to meet people face-to-face and interact with those who follow their journey online about the importance of ecumenism.

“Luther, an Augustinian friar, created controversy with his 95 Theses.  Luther’s statement, which he nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517, raised questions about indulgences in the Western Church.  What followed was the period known as the Protestant Reformation.

“The Wilsons’ pilgrimage takes place exactly 500 years after Luther himself left Erfurt in 1510 for Rome.  They will follow a route through Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Italy, arriving in Rome in about 70 days.

The journey also coincides with the 100th anniversary of the 1910 Edinburgh Missionary Conference in Scotland, often cited as the birth of the ecumenical movement.

“The idea of retracing Luther’s footsteps was an idea that the Wilsons discussed during their days in graduate school at Princeton (N.J.) Theological Seminary.  ‘The journey had a big impact on him (Luther),’ said Sarah Wilson, research professor at the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Strasbourg, France, in an interview with the ELCA News Service. ‘We thought it would be really cool to re-create it somehow.’  Wilson is also a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and editor of Lutheran Forum.”

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