Messiah youth take ‘Odyssey to Germany’

Senior high youth and leaders from Messiah Lutheran Church stand at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin during their “Odyssey to Germany.” CONTRIBUTED
Senior high youth and leaders from Messiah Lutheran Church stand at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin during their “Odyssey to Germany.” CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – After a yearlong study of the life and times of reformer Martin Luther, senior youth from Messiah Lutheran Church embarked on their “Odyssey to Germany.”

Messiah youth worked 20 fundraisers and received donations and sponsorships to earn more than $25,000 to cover trip expenses. Messiah’s Senior Pastor Scott Peterson and three adult chaperones led the 15 teenagers on the 11-day trip in mid-June.

The group’s itinerary included stays in Berlin, Wittenburg, Munich, Augsburg and visits to several castles, cathedrals and fortresses. After arriving in and touring Berlin, they traveled to Halle, Leipzig and Torgau and stayed overnight in Wittenberg.

They completed a guided tour of Buchenwald and Erfurt, a day trip to Eisenach and stayed overnight in Wartburg Castle. Messiah’s entourage also visited Coburg, Basilica Vierzehnheilige, Neuschwanstein Castle, Linderhof Palace and Augsburg.

“The pure joy of watching youth accept the challenge of meeting a goal, whatever that may be, then working hard to achieve it is very gratifying,” Messiah Senior Youth Director Sue Doubleday said. “Our youth set their sights on Germany to gain deeper insights as to the origins of our faith.”

Hard work and the congregation and community’s support led them to realize their goal, Doubleday said.

The Messiah teenagers lodged at youth hostels, churches and with church families. They explored Germany with key visits to important historical sites, both sacred and secular.

The youth were “all keenly aware of Martin Luther and his 95 theses,” but the emphasis on historical sites will strengthen their understanding of Christian faith, Doubleday said. “Visiting actual sites where history took place is something that can’t be duplicated in a classroom.”

Nearly 500 years ago, Luther nailed 95 theses on the Castle Church door in Wittenburg, Germany. He explained ways in which the church needed reform. Martin Luther and his theses led to the Reformation in 1517 and the eventual creation of the Lutheran Church.

2017 will mark the 500th anniversary of Luther’s nailing the 95 theses, communications intern Mikayla Mast said.

Messiah Lutheran Church was organized in 1990 and is located at 7740 U.S. 72 W. For more information, visit mlutheran.org.

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