The Ecumenical Spiritual Center, in short ESC, is a facility of the Diakonie Neuendettelsau. It provides a gathering point for people looking for more strength and guidance in their life. It brings people together who live out their faith, get strength from it and bear witness to this through their actions. The ESC offers a spiritual atmosphere in the community through church services both during the daily routine and on Sunday and by providing a meeting point with Christians of different denominations. The ESC goes back to the roots of diaconal spirituality and in particular to the traditions established by Wilhelm Löhe.
The ESC has two distinct leanings:
The ecumenical orientation is shown in the invitation to Christians of all denominations. An understanding of Christianity based on the Bible and the Lutheran faith should show a willingness to learn when communicating with other traditions – in the sense of an ecumenical profile. The ESC considers the Ecumenical Charter as a basis and guidance of the collective ecumenical work among the churches of Europe.
The spiritual orientation focuses holistically on being a Christian. Spirituality is the certainty of one's entire life through the Word of God, one's thinking, feeling, desiring and acting towards God. Nowadays many people seek experiences that go beyond their day experiences, seeking a centre point that gives orientation to their daily life.
Spirituality is a means of interrelationship: The Spirit of God has an effect on the people, the people take this in transfer into an expression of faith in their life. Such certainty and orientation is a gift of the Holy Ghost that takes effect everywhere, where the Christian faith expresses itself in Leiturgia, Martyria and Diaconia.
Leiturgia is every form of turning to God in individual or common prayer, meditation and participation in a church service.
Martyria is every means of communication regarding Christian content that focuses on arising and strengthening one's faith. It takes a variety of forms from public proclamation of the faith to a strictly confidential conversation.
Diaconia is every Christian´s motivated deed aimed at both the physical and spiritual well-being of the people.
Faith is received and lived in the community of faith. The three forms already mentioned are more or less embraced and shared with the community of faith. Being a Christian means living actively in the church. That is why the fourth aspect Colonia is joined on to the other three aspects named.
As every proclamation of faith assumes at least a basic knowledge of and reflection on the faith, there is also the fifth aspect Theology which should be mentioned.
The activities of the ESC are spread throughout Neuendettelsau. The main site is the church of St. Laurentius for church services and room for peace as well as the diaconal sisters' headquarter as a place of spirituality where it is lived out and a place where events are held. Both the retreat "Haus der Stille" and the DiaLog Academy are available for activities of the ESC. The ESC wants also to have effect beyond Neuendettelsau by offering events and trips elsewhere.
The target of the ESC is to help people towards a deeper meaning of their own piety and spirituality. Correspondingly the activities of the ESC are geared towards this. We put emphasis on the understanding of theological meaning of faith, liturgical experience and the insight into the possibility of shaping one's own spiritual life as well as Christian communication and pastoral care.
The diaconal communities of the Diakonie Neuendettelsau are particularly involved in what is provided: those who have completed the diaconate, the deacons and deaconesses and the Lutheran sisters. A variety of pastoral events, church services and events which offer community spirit as well as a range of offers from the Diakonie Neuendettelsau are to be found under the roof of the ESC.
Retreats and participation in life in the sisters' HQ, contemplation by means of meditation and spiritual development, retreats during particular church seasons, joint trips, seminaries and ecumenical consultations are part of what is on offer. Daily prayers, communion, church services on special occasions and regular church services are an inherent part of the work of the ESC. The parish of St. Laurentius is the centre of the church services that are carried out in the liturgical spirit of Wilhelm Löhe.
What we offer is aimed at various groups. When meeting with people from different denominations and cultures one can enjoy an intellectual enrichment in communicating and the growing of mutual understanding. This is what ESC wishes to contribute to.
Ecumenical Spiritual Center (ESC)
D - 91564 Neuendettelsau
Office Rektor Hermann Schoenauer
Phone: +49 (0) 9874 / 8 - 27 95
Fax: +49 (0) 9874 / 8 - 22 11