Gathering in Makumira near Arusha, Tanzania on 5 March, more than 100 theology students from around to world celebrated the opening of the Global Ecumenical Theological Institute 2018 (GETI 2018), organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC).
Held under the theme of 'Translating the Word, Transforming the World', GETI 2018 offers students of theology and religious studies an intense academic study course in ecumenical missiology, as well as an inspiring environment for fellowship among young people from the fullest possible breadth of Christianity.
Prof Dr Fr Ioan Sauca, deputy general secretary of the World Council of Churches, welcomed the students, reminding them of the important mission of proclaiming, sharing and witnessing to God's word.
"In proclaiming, translating and incarnating the Word in the very context the people of our time live in, we prepare and become partners of God's mission in transforming the world," Sauca said.
"The participation of young theologians from a variety of countries and church traditions has sparked a fresh attention for new forms of experiential theological formation and engagement with the ecumenical movement," says Pamela Couture, an ordained minister to the United Methodist Church in the USA and professor at the Emmanuel College of Victoria University, who is one of the GETI 2018 facilitators tasked with guiding the students through their coursework.
As the opening celebration progressed, students from eight different regions of the world brought forth gifts from their respective parts of the world, each as a symbolic gesture towards walking, working, and praying together during their time at GETI, and as they return back home.
"What students hear at GETI will develop as a result of forming an ecumenical consciousness that they may not have had when they arrived," explains Couture. "We hope that organizing this GETI, alongside with the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism, will help students develop a denominational consciousness."
GETI 2018 takes place during 5-13 March, under the umbrella of the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism, also organized by the WCC and held in Arusha, Tanzania on 8-13 March 2018.