This fall, Augsburg College hosted alumni, faculty, staff, and community members for an international travel experience that took participants to the Czech Republic and Germany, which is in the midst of a tourism boom accompanying the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The travelers visited Wittenberg, the long-time home of Reformation catalyst Martin Luther, and ventured to historic sites to learn about the origins of the Lutheran faith from Augsburg College Religion Department faculty members Hans Wiersma and Lori Brandt Hale.
Star Tribune reporter Jean Hopfensperger and photographer Jerry Holt accompanied the group to chronicle how Minnesotans are observing the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in the “Land of Luther” in addition to the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” given that religious, arts, and cultural organizations across Minnesota are planning special events and exhibits to mark the occasion.
As Hopfensperger wrote, “Luther’s legacy is particularly deep in Minnesota, and not just because of his followers’ enduring embrace of hymn fests — often followed by Jell-O and hot dish. One in four residents trace their namesake faith to the monk from Wittenberg.”
In a Star Tribune story, Augsburg alumnae Carol Pfleiderer ’64 and Kathleen Johnson ’72 described their excitement with the trip itinerary and the ways it reflects and builds upon their understanding of their faith.
The Rev. Mark Hanson ’68, the College’s Executive Director of the Christensen Center for Vocation, was among other alumni quoted in the article. He described some of the ways the Lutheran church is using the Reformation anniversary to foster Lutheran-Catholic dialogue and to make the church accessible to all people.
Read, “Minnesota Lutherans at forefront of new Martin Luther revolution” on the Star Tribune site.
The Jerusalem Post website recently published an article by Julian Kritz ’16, Interfaith Scholar and vice president of Students Supporting Israel at Augsburg College. In the piece, Kritz discussed his experience traveling to Israel with a diverse delegation of Minnesota legislators and community leaders.
He remembered the diversity of the group — which was bipartisan, interfaith and intergenerational — as being particularly impactful as they toured sites of importance to Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
“As a Jew, seeing Israel through the eyes of the Christian members of our delegation was a moving experience which greatly added to my understanding of why so many people care about this small piece of land,” he explained.
Kritz was selected for the trip due to his work as an intern with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) and his travel was sponsored by a grant from the Minneapolis Jewish Federation. The JCRC was asked to plan the trip, which included meetings with key figures in Israeli and Palestinian politics and tours of religious sites, centers of business, and locations of political importance.
Nationally recognized travel expert Rick Steves will deliver a free public lecture on Friday, Nov. 9 at 11 a.m. in Hoversten Chapel of Augsburg College’s Foss Center.
His lecture, “Travel as a Political Act,” will discuss how travel has changed his perspectives on the United States’ role in the world.
“Travel helps us celebrate differences and overcome misunderstandings — big and little — between people,” says Steves. “Travel paints a human face on our globe, making the vast gap between rich and poor vivid.”
Steves is author of Europe Through the Back Door and host of well-known travel shows on PBS and public radio.
The lecture is being held in honor of Augsburg’s Center for Global Education’s 25th anniversary. Steves has traveled on CGE programs on three separate occasions.