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500 years ago, Martin Luther gave a decisive impetus for the theological and spiritual reform of the Church. What began with Luther's rediscovery of the doctrine of justification by faith and his fight over indulgences developed into a worldwide reform movement that made Wittenberg known on all continents. The fundamental insights of his theology continue to have an impact today, and not just in the churches that arose out of the Lutheran branch of the Reformation. Thanks to the ecumenical movement, which bore great fruit through intensive dialogue particularly in the 20th century, the Christian world community has developed into a spiritual community.
This should find expression in a concrete project, and not just anywhere, but in the birthplace of the Reformation - in Lutherstadt Wittenberg. Something permanent, but not yet complete, should be established, something that continually grows and enriches Wittenberg - a sign that symbolizes the vitality and life connectedness of the reform movement and its worldwide resonance.
Planting trees allowed a garden to emerge that not only will offer the living beauty of a park, but that gives meaning to theological insights as well. As the first stones were laid at the official opening of the Luthergarten in 2008, ELCA Presiding Bishop and LWF President Mark Hanson said: The time when Martin Luther lived was haunted by nightmares and fantasies about what the future would bring.
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at Swan's Trail has a tree in the Luthergarten in Wittenberg. Pastor Tom and Jody were in Wittenberg, Germany representing the congregation at the ceremony.