What is GETI?

(This is Post #4 about my trip to Korea. If you missed Post #1 or Post #2 or Post #3, click on those links to check them out!)
 
It is the end of our first full day here. I arrived in Seoul at 3pm on Friday and arrived at our hotel at about 8pm after about 3 hrs in traffic! I passed out on the bus though because I hardly slept on the plane. My bus group caught the end of the welcoming address for GETI that night. 

In the spirit of offering background information on what I’m up to in Korea, today we’ll explore the specific program that I’m participating in alongside the WCC.

So what does GETI stand for?

GETI is an acronym for the Graduate Ecumenical Theological Institute.

What is the Graduate Ecumenical Theological Institute?

The Global Ecumenical Theological Institute (GETI) is a major event for about 150 younger advanced theology students from all regions of the world and all Christian denominational traditions.  It began in Seoul on October 25th and on October 30th we will transition to Busan to study alongside the World Council of Churches’ 10th Assembly.  We will conclude on November 9th, the day after the end of the WCC.

What will you study and do?

The curriculum focuses on “the future of ecumenism and the transformation of World Christianity in the 21st century” and will be geared to the theme of the WCC Assembly “God of life, lead us to justice and peace.” GETI is meant to be a place where we are formed as ecumenical leaders, where we engage in intense theological learning and mutual dialogue as well as inter-generational dialogue with leaders in the ecumenical and evangelical movement.

What will your days look like?

Well, first, here in Seoul, on Saturday, and Tuesday, we begin the day as GETI participants in communal worship. Then we have morning and afternoon lectures. Later in the afternoon, we meet as seminar groups which consist of 8-9 students and one faculty member. We have  worship led by a particular “confessional”/tradition in the evening to close the days. Tomorrow, Sunday, we will go to various churches in the area to experience our Korean Christian context more concretely.

In Busan, we will participate in the WCC sessions during the mornings and early afternoon, which include Bible Study, morning prayer, morning “plenary” (all-conference assembly), and ecumenical conversations on particular topics. Then, the the late afternoons, we will meet with our GETI seminar groups and have evening prayer as a GETI group again.

Throughout the weeks, we also eat together as GETI and have time for informal sharing of our cultural context and our faith.

Sounds busy!

That’s for sure!

So why did you want to partake in GETI?

Well, not gonna lie, the opportunity to go to Korea (um, for free), piqued my interest. But then, I realized I totally believe in the reasoning behind the ecumenical efforts of the WCC and I appreciate this opportunity of GETI because it seeks to form us as future ecumenical leaders. My heart longs for “us all to be one” (John 17:21). GETI is teaching me about the complexities and challenges of seeking that oneness, but also  about the progress we have made and about our hope for unity in our diversity.

Why did they decide to put on GETI alongside the WCC?

I can’t speak to the specifics of GETI (and I’m too tired to research too much!), but I can speak the world-wide ecumenical movement’s desire to keep the flame alive in younger generations. In the constitution of the WCC,the concern for ecumenical theological education receives a high priority. It is defined as one of the primary purposes and functions of  the WCC to “nurture the growth of an ecumenical consciousness through processes of education and a vision of life in community rooted in each particular cultural context” (WCC constitution par III).  At GETI, this is happening, in a particularly intense way. Our ecumenical consciousness is being raised, and we are sharing our particular cultural contexts.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?

  • Friends from around the world (already happening)
  • An expanded heart and mind.
  • An expanded worldview
  • To be transformed by God through the diverse community, through the lectures, through the communal prayer
  • To be able to articulate what I have experienced and relate it to the needs of our church and world.  According to the Joint Working Group between the Catholic Church and the WCC,

All persons who have experienced the transforming power of ecumenical encounters should be encouraged to see themselves as witnesses, and should be prepared to offer testimony to the ways in which their experiences with other Christians have been blessing that have deepened their own spiritual roots.

I will steward the gift. But it will be a long-term process of course 😉

One day in, every single one of these things is ALREADY beginning to occur. Woah. Thanks be to God!

Some teaser pictures:

My lunch partners: Jutta, from Germany and Myoung, from Germany and Korea
My lunch partners: Jutta, from Germany and Myoung, from Germany and Korea
10-26-13 (9)
Namsoon Kim (middle), one of the afternoon lecturers, and professor at Brite Divinity School. We loved her lecture!
10-26-13 (13)
The view from Hashin University where we were today. Woah.

Peace, love, and kimchi,
Melissa

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