In a world of increasing global cooperation, the Lutheran Office for World Community (LOWC) has an exciting role, monitoring the work of the United Nations
(UN) on behalf of the Lutheran World Federation
and the ELCA.
The Lutheran World Federation
(LWF) is one of more than 4,000 non-governmental organizations registered with the UN. LWF headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland monitors human rights, primarily at the United Nations office there, and coordinates Lutheran field programs through the Department for World Service. In New York, the Lutheran Office for World Community acts as liaison to UN headquarters for the LWF, under a written agreement between the ELCA Church in Society
program unit and the LWF. Click here to read more about the LWF work in holding governments accountable. Read "A Call for Churches Critically to Engage with Governments" for a more in-depth analysis.
The work of the Lutheran Office for World Community grows out of the conviction that the nations of the world belong to God (Psalm 82:8). They are the objects of God's redeeming purposes of justice, mercy, and peace. The Church, scattered throughout the nations yet one people by faith, works to bless the nations with what Jesus promised-"life in all its fullness" (John 10:10). Through the Lutheran Office for World Community, the ELCA seeks to serve "in response to God's love to meet human needs" by "advocating dignity and justice for all people" and "working for peace and reconciliation among the nations..." (ELCA Constitution 4.02.c).
The primary task of the Lutheran Office for World Community is to gather information of interest and concern to Lutheran churches worldwide, including the ELCA, and utilize it in the church's social ministry response. This information can range from what the UN is doing to help refugees, children in need, preserve the environment, etc., to what the UN is doing to help countries proceed with elections or protect and defend human rights. Thus the office follows events, including preparations for world conferences, in a rather wide range of geographical areas and topics. The agenda fluctuates with the international one to a large degree.
The information gathered helps the churches -- the LWF and the ELCA -- determine their humanitarian aid response as well as their public policy statements. The office helps the Federation and the ELCA formulate letters, statements and the like. Discussions are held with the governmental missions to the UN and the staff in the UN secretariat, as well as with other churches and non-governmental organizations. The office collects and reads UN documents of varying kinds -- statements, resolutions, news releases, brochures, to name just a few.
Lutheran Office for World Community
777 UN Plaza
New York, NY 10017
, Assistant to the Director