ELCA NEWS SERVICE
July 21, 2010
Lutheran World Federation Meets In 'Confident Hope,' Says President
STUTTGART, Germany (ELCA) -- Lutherans are meeting in Stuttgart, Germany, for their international assembly at a time when "the world is in pain," said the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, according to a July 21 news release from Lutheran World Information (LWI). Hanson made the comment in his address here to the LWF Eleventh Assembly.
The LWF Assembly is the organization's highest legislative body. It is meeting here July 20-27. The LWF is 140 member churches in 79 countries, representing more than 70 million Christians worldwide.
"Wars rage, the creation groans under the weight of our consumption, refugees wander in search of shelter, illness and death come to those who lack access to clean water and health care," said Hanson.
"You bring to this assembly the cries of the people in your communities," the LWF president said to the more than 400 delegates and hundreds of other participants attending the meeting hosted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Württemberg, the LWI release said. The assembly theme is "Give Us Today Our Daily Bread."
Referring to the theme of the meeting, Hanson said that although many in the world lack their daily bread, "we gather for this assembly in confident hope, for God has neither abandoned God's people nor forsaken God's creation."
Lutherans from around the world are creating a "communion" of churches, he said, where Lutheran churches working together celebrate their common heritage, but do not become "preoccupied with our own identity and survival."
"Rather, I believe our self-understanding is for the sake of being turned outward toward the world God so loves," Hanson said in the release.
The LWF president commented on three issues that the LWF should address, LWI reported:
+ Leadership: "We have made progress in our commitment to encourage member churches to support the ordination of women. Yet we have much work to do in holding one another accountable for that commitment," he said.
+ Decision-making: Hanson said there should be a "healthy tension" among some LWF member churches because of the way decisions made in one church impact churches in other parts of the world.
+ Sustainability: Hanson said that is furthering trust in and support for the Lutheran communion as developed in the LWF.
Touching on his seven years as LWF president, Hanson reiterated the identity of Lutheran churches as:
+ "Evangelical," stressing the good news that Jesus Christ frees people from bondage to sin
+ "Sacramental," focusing on the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion
+ "Contextual," adapting their mission and service to specific social situations
+ "Communal," living in communion with one another and with concern for the entire human community
+ "Diaconal," giving service to others in God's name
+ "Ecumenical," seeking unity among the world's Christians
About 1,000 people, including 418 delegates from member churches, are participating in the assembly in Stuttgart. Participants also include invited ecumenical observers, official visitors, interpreters and translators, stewards, members of the LWF staff and other staff, accredited journalists and volunteers.
The text of the LWF President Mark Hanson's report is at http://www.lwf-assembly.org on the Web.
Follow news and commentary about the LWF assembly at http://sites.google.com/site/communiogarden/ and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Communio-Garden-EN/142406455776020
on the Web.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or firstname.lastname@example.org