With the Seminary in Central Europe

Highlights from the latest Extension School of the Seminary.

SIEGFRIED H. HORN, Professor of Archeology and History of Antiquity, Potomac University

The latest Extension School of the Seminary was held during the months of July and August, 1958, on the campus of the Marien­hoehe Missionary Seminary, near Darmstadt, Germany. This German school has in the past played a major role in the training of ministers for the German-speaking countries in Europe. Surrounded as it is by the forests of the beauti­ful Odenwald, it is very conducive to study.

The school was host to 101 workers, of whom 78 came from the two western union confer­ences of Germany, 11 from the Austrian Union Conference, and 12 from the German-Swiss Conference. The participation of fellow labor­ers from two neighboring countries belonging to the Southern European Division was very much appreciated by all participants, especially by our German ministers, who had been iso­lated for many years and have had very little personal contact with workers laboring beyond their borders.

The teaching team was comprised of Daniel Walther, professor of church history at the Theological Seminary, who taught one course on the Reformation and one on studies in SDA history; Walter Schubert, associate secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association, who gave one course on evangelistic procedures and one on pastoral ministry; and the writer, who presented one course on archeology and the Bible and another on New Testament back­grounds.

The writer, who acted as director of the Ex­tension School, was assisted in all matters per­taining to housing, catering, and other material needs by Emil Schank, the business manager of the Marienhoehe school. He and his staff of helpers in the kitchen, dormitories, and busi­ness office efficiently met our needs. This was deeply appreciated. Miss H. Sieber, lent to us by the Central European Division office, served ably and untiringly as registrar and secretary.

The school facilities serve not only the Mis­sion Seminary but also the Gymnasium, the equivalent of a liberal arts junior college, a school accredited by the state Ministry of Edu­cation. The Gymnasium must therefore open and close at the dates set by the state government, and it has a vacation of only five weeks during the summer. It was for this reason that our Extension School could use the campus only during those five weeks. While the leader­ship in Europe, the participating students, and the teachers profoundly regretted that these cir­cumstances made it necessary to crowd the pro­gram into five short weeks, everyone did his best to make the most of a difficult situation. Hence a very strenuous and busy program was followed, which began each week early on Sun­day morning and ended late on Friday. This tight schedule was broken only once for a half-day excursion, when, under the guidance of Dr. Walther, a visit was made to the neighboring cities of Mainz, Worms, and Speyer, which played a certain role in the Reformation pe­riod.

Although the program was extremely stren­uous, all participants entered into it cheerfully and willingly. They were so eager to obtain as much information as possible during the five weeks that it was hard to persuade most of them to enroll in not more than four of the six courses offered. I have never seen a group of workers who were more eager and studious. Since many of them had never had the oppor­tunity of formal study since entering the minis­try, they had many questions to ask, and it was difficult to find sufficient time to answer them all.

Most of the students were pastor-evangelists, but a few Bible teachers, departmental secre­taries, and administrators were also found among the participants. Each of the union presidents, conference presidents, and depart­mental secretaries of the various fields repre­sented, as well as the editors of the Hamburg Publishing House, spent about one week at the Extension School in order to observe its work and to become acquainted with the type of teaching carried on by the Theological Seminary. Most of these men regretted that their ad­ministrative or editorial work did not permit them to stay at Marienhoehe for the whole du­ration of the Extension School.

After the close of the Extension School at Marienhoehe we three teachers flew to Berlin for one week of lecturing to more than one hundred workers of the East German Union Conference. When the plans were laid for our Extension School more than a year ago, the prospects seemed favorable that these workers, who have been isolated for many years, would be able to obtain permission to attend the Ex­tension School in West Germany. However, re­cent developments made it impossible for these ministers to travel to Darmstadt, but since they could come to Berlin for a few days, arrange­ments were made to present to them in lecture form some of the high lights of the material taught in the Extension School.

Every day these workers sat together for eight and a half hours and never seemed tired of sit­ting. It was inspiring to see their eagerness to absorb the material presented. For those of us who came from outside, it was also a wonderful opportunity to learn firsthand of the peculiar problems that our leaders, ministers, and church members face in Eastern Germany. These min­isters appreciated the fact that for the first time in many years a large group of workers could sit together with teachers from our world head­quarters and our highest theological school and discuss with them theological questions, prob­lems of history pertaining to prophecy, and questions dealing with their pastoral duties and evangelistic endeavors. Having had little opportunity to hear of the archeological discoveries made during the last twenty years, of recent theological trends in the western world, and of political developments that tend to bear on the fulfillment of prophecies dealing with the present age, this week of study was highly valued by all as an important means of strengthening the unity needed in presenting our special message for this time, and of keep­ing abreast with the onward march of the Ad­vent Movement.

The need for prolonged periods of study on certain Bible problems, the evidences of God's leadership in the Advent Movement, and the surety and certainty of its message and final triumph was felt by all who attended the Exten­sion School in Marienhoehe, and even more so by those who attended the Berlin meetings. Hence, the wish was frequently expressed that courses like this would be held at regular inter­vals, since they would strengthen the unity in teaching and preaching.

We who during thete six weeks met more than 200 workers of the German-speaking coun­tries of Europe are convinced that they are a conscientious group, earnestly and faithfully endeavoring to carry out their Lord's commis­sion. The burden of the unfinished task weighs heavily upon them, and they are desperately seeking to find ways and means to bring the Advent message to their fellow men. They en­counter great obstacles in their work and in some cases face seemingly insurmountable hin­drances, but their courage is good, for they know that the work is the Lord's, and that He will finish that which He has begun.


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SIEGFRIED H. HORN, Professor of Archeology and History of Antiquity, Potomac University

December 1958

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