At the end of this, the second decade of the 21st Century, we find ourselves confronted with many a slogan encouraging us to embrace diversity in all its forms. The European Union (EU) adopted ‘Unity in diversity’ as their motto at the turn of the century, signifying how Europeans have come together to form the EU to work for peace and prosperity while being enriched by the continent’s many different cultures, traditions and languages. But slogans are not change, and change involves time, effort and perseverance. Our theme is intended to acknowledge this.
We pondered the question of our neighbors at the EUU retreat in Frankfurt in 2016, and then started building bridges to one another at the EUT in Ulm/ Neu-Ulm in 2017.
The concerns addressed at EUT 2017 are still current: (im)migration and integration have built some bridges in Europe, while others have been torn down. Populism and a general underlying mistrust of ‘the other’ is on the increase. Fortunately many Europeans have come out to bear witness to the democratic process and ensure the rights of every individual human being.
Our theme is meant to address local, European and global concerns and opportunities. What place does variety have in life of the world at large and our extended family of faith traditions? Is there such a thing as too much variety? Where does unity end and diversity begin? How do we address the bitter along with the sweet; how do we address both rational and irrational fears and journey through change?
We would like to explore a variety of aspects of our theme with two keynote speakers, three services (the youth are designing their own!), and an array of workshops and tours, complemented by good music, warm conversations and just plain fun.