Warwick Was Different This Year!

It seems like we had a successful transition from our traditional camping retreat in Warwick to a seminar style class in the Warwick conference center. It was a first-timer, and it brought us many advantages: no wet tents, no cooking and no cleaning up, and additional participants who may not have joined us in the tents.

Of course, we missed some nature. Even the little bit that we had planned was taken away: Dark clouds prevented us from stargazing on Saturday night, and light drizzle rain made it impossible for us to celebrate worship outside. Yet, this would not have been any better had we stayed on the campground! Rather, we were very happy to worship in the bright seminar room the center had provided for us; please see the corresponding pictures.

This year’s theme centered on the astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei. We familiarized ourselves with his biography, some of his discoveries, as well as documents pertaining to the church trial he had to face in 1633. At length, we discussed the meaning of the exoneration that was issued 359 years later. Was the Vatican on target when it called the trial’s verdict unfortunate and premature?

I was surprised how critical our Warwick travelers were. Obviously, none of us denied the truth of the Copernican world view. However, several of us felt that there was no need for the Church to apologize for the verdict of 1633. This is how they argued: Galileo had not been indicted for his discovery, but for the publication of the same as fact. By rejecting this publication, the Church took an early stance against what some have called “the wheelings and dealings of scientists”. While scientifically outdated, this stance holds ethical value today. As you can see, it was quite a discussion this year in Warwick.

Would this entice you, dear reader, to join us next year?

About Rev. Dr. Hartmut Kramer-Mills

Hartmut Kramer-Mills, a native of Jena, Germany, began his theological education at Heidelberg University. After the Middle Exam in 1986 he received a scholarship from the World Alliance of Reformed Churches for McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He graduated from McCormick with a Master of Divinity in 1988. He graduated from Marburg University in Germany with the Ecclesiastical Exam in 1990, and received a Dr. theol. from Greifswald University, Germany, in 1997. From 1990 to 1991 he was vicar at St. Wenzel in Naumburg, Germany. He was ordained minister of word and sacrament in 1993 through the Protestant Church of the Church Province of Saxony. From 1993 to 1998 he served as assistant pastor in Stoessen, Goerschen, and Rathewitz, Germany. At the same time he was lecturer for Church History at Erfurt College in Germany. From 1999 to 2000 he served the Spotswood Reformed Church in New Jersey as interim pastor. Since 2000 he and his wife serve the First Reformed Church in New Brunswick, New Jersey, as co-pastors.
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