my name is Simon and I’m the new intern at Interfaith Scotland and Interfaith Glasgow. I’m from Germany and have been training to become a minister in the protestant church in Germany. I arrived in Scotland three weeks ago and am going to stay here until next summer. When I’m back in Germany I am going to get ordained and start working as a minister in a parish.
During my year I am going to update this blog as often as possible, so that all of you can share my different interfaith experiences.
So maybe you are interested why a German protestant minister is coming to Scotland to do an interfaith internship. I would say that in a way interfaith dialogue has been a natural part of my life. I grew up in the Rhein-Main area around Frankfurt. Here a lot of different nationalities live together. When I went to school there were children with Turkish, Chinese or Iranian background – and of course they had all their different religious faiths and believe. But I must admit that in these times we didn’t made a big topic out of the differences. It was just normal that people come from different countries and belong to different religious traditions. I remember, that when we learned about different religions in school (e.g. Judaism, Islam and Buddhism), I found it very interesting.
I for myself grew up in a surrounding of German Christian Protestantism. My father is a minister as well and I did a lot of youth work in church. During a voluntary service in the Church of Sweden 2007-2008 I decided to study theology myself.
From this time on interfaith dialogue was an important topic for my theological thinking. Challenged by fellow student who defended Christian (or even Protestant/Lutheran) superiority above other faiths I was thinking a lot about how the different faiths and believe could learn from each other and how they can deal with their differences and commonalities. A very important experience for my thinking about interfaith was when I lived in an international, ecumenical and interfaith student dormitory in Münster in Germany. Sometimes it was challenging but always enriching to live with people from such different countries as Syria, China, Palestine, Colombia, Cameroon, Belarus and many more. It was a really great experience that so many different people, with different cultures and different faiths can live together in one house.
During my training as a minister in Ingelheim, a small town close to the river Rhein, I would have liked to bring my theoretical thinking about interfaith dialogue into praxis, but I didn’t find a good starting point – and was even busy to learn how to preach, teach, celebrate weddings, baptisms, funerals and a lot more things a minister must do.
During my time in Scotland I’m hoping to make more interfaith experiences and to get some ideas about interfaith work, which I can bring back to Germany and include to my praxis as a minister. I am very interested in meeting people who are already involved in interfaith work or want to know more about it. If you want to contact me, you can do this here or via email@example.com. I’m looking forward to meeting you!