From the Worldwide Faith News archives

LWI News in Brief (1) June

From "Frank Imhoff" <>
Date Fri, 28 Jun 2002 09:05:08 -0500

Italian Protestant Churches' Delegation Meets with Jerusalem
Lutheran Bishop

A delegation from the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy
(FCEI) and some Catholic associations visiting Israel and the
Palestinian territories, June 7-13, met with Jerusalem Lutheran
Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan. The group was in the region to express
their ecumenical vocation for peace and justice, seek dialogue
with the suffering people and faith communities, and urge Israeli
and Palestinian leadership to start peace negotiations again "with
determination and courage." The FCEI members hoped to contribute
to the reconstruction of dialogue networks and fellowship against
the dangerous polarization of the conflict. The 7,000-member
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Italy, an LWF member church since
1949, belongs to the FCEI.
(NEV - FCEI news bulletin)
*       *       *

German Church Leaders Intervene in Row over Anti-Semitism

The leaders of Germany's main churches have intervened in a bitter
public controversy about anti-Semitism. Praeses Manfred Kock,
Council chairperson of the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD) and
Roman Catholic Karl Cardinal Lehmann called for an end to what
each described as a "harmful" debate that has pitted a senior
politician against the Central Council of Jews in Germany (ZJD).
Their intervention followed a demand by ZJD President Paul Spiegel
for a public statement from church leaders. Spiegel said that the
churches were not doing enough to combat anti-Semitism. The
controversy centered on Jurgen Mollemann, vice-chairperson of
Germany's small Free Democratic Party (FDP), who in May accused
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the ZJD, and its
vice-president, Michel Friedman, of being partly to blame for
anti-Semitism. In an apparent apology for the churches' initial
silence, Kock in a radio interview said: "Maybe we did not speak
out loudly or early enough, but there are no doubts about which
side we are on." He added that "we cannot afford a party that
seeks voters on the far right." Thomas Kruger, EKD spokesperson
said the EKD did not take sides in political discussions but had
"now spoken up because the debate is a danger to democratic
behavior and to Germany."
(Ecumenical News International)
*       *       *

British Church Leaders Mark Queen's Jubilee by Pledging Commitment
to Unity

Religion took center stage at festivities for Queen Elizabeth II's
golden jubilee when the leaders of Churches Together in England
signed an ecumenical covenant pledging to work toward the church's
visible unity. Endorsed after a service at Windsor with the queen
looking on, it was among highlights of the 50th anniversary
celebrations of her accession to the throne in 1952, marked by
Britons June 1-4. The Lutheran Church in Great Britain, an LWF
member church since 1988, is affiliated to Churches Together in
England, a body coordinating the work of 22 member churches and
councils of churches.(Ecumenical News International )
*       *       *

Tribute to Former LWF Staff Member Valdemar Toerner

LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko paid tribute to the
late Valdemar Toerner, from Sweden, who had served the Federation
for 23 years, in the Department for World Service (DWS). Toerner,
who died last March aged 85, joined the LWF in 1958 as
Administrative Secretary in the then Department of World service,
a position he held until 1967 when he was appointed Assistant
Director in the department. From 1973 until his retirement in
1981, Toerner served as DWS Associate Director for Finance and
Administration. Noko paid tribute to Toerner's dedicated service
and loyalty to the Federation particularly to DWS work throughout
the world. Through the LWF, he faithfully served the worldwide
church, Noko said.
*       *       *

Krause's Tribute to Australian Lutheran World Service

At a reception hosted by the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA),
visiting LWF President, Bishop emeritus Dr. Christian Krause paid
tribute to the foundational work of Australian Lutherans in the
establishment of Lutheran World Service (LWS). Reflecting on the
LWF's beginnings, Krause reminded guests that the refugee aid and
immigration services of Australian Lutherans, post-World War II,
were "one of the pillars of building international respect." The
roots of LWS lie in Australian soil, he said. He particularly
recognized the outstanding contribution of Dr. Bruno Muetzelfeldt
(deceased May 2002, see below) who was the LWS-Australia
representative until 1960. Muetzelfeldt, director of the then LWF
Department for World Service (DWS) in Geneva from 1961 until his
retirement in 1980, served the Federation for 30 years. Krause
also praised the contribution of another Australian, Dr. Brian
Neldner, who served the LWF for 40 years, beginning with
LWS-Australia in 1955, eventually becoming DWS Director in 1991
until 1995 when he retired.
*       *       *

LWF Mourns Australian Bruno Muetzelfeldt

Dr. Bruno Muetzelfeldt from Australia, former LWF/DWS director,
died May 20, aged 84. LWF General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko
wrote to the family: "In his entire work, Bruno was committed to a
better future for all. He sincerely believed in God's grace and
justice. He left imprints of his faith in the [LWF/DWS]. He was
blessed with a long life to see some of the changes he worked for
occur in many parts of the world such as Southern Africa and
Eastern Europe. He will be remembered by many around the world for
an unequalled contribution to the life and work of the LWF."
Muetzelfeldt began work with the LWF in 1950, when the service to
refugees established a field office at the Benogilla Migrant
Center near Albury, Australia. He joined the Geneva secretariat in
1960 as Secretary for Resettlement and Material Relief with DWS
until his appointment as departmental director in 1961. He served
in this position until his 1980 retirement.
*       *       *

Basel Christian Church of Malaysia Celebrates 120th Anniversary

The Basel Christian Church of Malaysia (BCCM) is commemorating its
120th anniversary throughout the six districts in the state of
Sabah and East Malaysia this year. Launched last March, the
celebrations will end with a mission conference and worship
service November 14-16 at Kota Kainabalu. Mission is highlighted
in the BCCM framework. A slogan "5555" means that within five
years, the Lutheran church will gain at least 5,000 new members,
500 so-called prayer warriors, 50 theological students and five
missionaries. The 45,000-member church joined the LWF in 1979.
(Asia Lutheran News)
*       *       *

Philippines Church Speaks Out on the Middle East Conflict

The Lutheran Church in the Philippines (LCP) has expressed deep
concern over the innocent victims of the conflict between Israel
and Palestine. "We join the Lutheran world community in denouncing
the unjust aggressions and illegal occupations of the Israelis
over Palestinian territories. We know that our voices are just
like whispers that can't be heard under the sounds of guns and
bombs. But we hope that they can be like an unseen cool breeze in
the desert that soothes the pain of those who are falling," LCP
Bishop Benjamin Lasegan said in a statement. The 27,000-member LCP
joined the LWF in 1973.
*       *       *

New Church Leaders in Japan, China

Rev. Yoshiaki Kashiki, 64,has been appointed president of the
Japan Lutheran Church (JLC) succeeding Rev. Kimio Takano who had
served two three-year terms. The JLC triennial assembly made
history by appointing a woman, Ms. Hiroko Kato, to serve on its
seven-member executive committee which includes three laypersons.
An associate LWF member church since 1999, the JLC has 2,805

The biennial general assembly of the Japan Evangelical Lutheran
Church (JELC) early May elected Rev. Masatoshi Yamanouchi as
president, succeeding Rev. Jun Koizumi. The 22,000-member church
joined the LWF in 1952.

Rev. Josephine Tso, the only woman president among the LWF member
churches in Asia has been re-elected for a third term as president
of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hong Kong (ELCHK). The ELCHK
has 12,800 members. It joined the LWF in 1957.
(Asia Lutheran News)
*       *       *

Finnish Catechism Translated into Russian, Chinese and Latin

Since May 30 the Finnish Lutheran catechism has been published in
Russian, Chinese and Latin. The catechism had previously been
translated into Swedish and English. Translations are aimed
especially at those interested in the faith of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF) but whose language skills are
not sufficient to enable them to read the Finnish Catechism. Also,
other Christian churches and denominations, and representatives of
other religions, are now more able to study the essential
doctrines of Lutheran faith. The Russian translation mainly
targets the ELCF's Russian-speaking members as well as those
belonging to the Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia. Besides the
Chinese parishioners in Finland, the Chinese translation has
raised interest among missionary workers and in Chinese
theological colleges around the world. The Latin translation is
especially important in the field of ecumenical work, for example
in the dialogue between Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches.
Translators Vladimir Blaginin and Semen Smirnov carried out the
Russian project, Prof. Paulos Huang, the Chinese, while Latin was
done by Prof. Tuomo Pekkane.
(ELCF Information Center)
*       *       *

Over 600 LWF-Reconstructed Houses in Gujarat, India

Families left homeless last year after the deadly earthquake that
struck the western Indian state of Gujarat continue to receive
assistance from church-based organizations working there. "We have
adopted six villages and the work is in advanced stages on 650
houses we are building," said Howard Jost, director of the LWF
Department for World Service (DWS) India program. DWS India is
also organizing self-help groups in the villages, focusing on
(Ecumenical News International )
*       *       *

First Women Pastoral Workers in India's Tamil Lutheran Church

For the first time in history, the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran
Church (TELC), south India, has decided to utilize the services of
theologically trained women in pastoral ministry. R. Cornelia
Gunaseeli, Jeevajyothi Martin, Susila Gnanabai, Dora Thilagavathai
and R. Valarlathy will be commissioned as candidates for pastoral
work on July 9. According to a statement from TELC Bishop Dr. T.
Aruldoss, "these women will be ordained as full fledged pastors
after a short period." Founded in 1706 by German missionaries
Barthlomew Ziegenbalg and Henrich Plutchau, the Tamil church
became independent in 1919. A United Evangelical Lutheran Church
in India member church, the 102,829-member TELC joined the LWF in
1947. It is the sixth LWF member church in India to ordain women.
Others are the Arcot Lutheran Church, Andhra, Jeypore and Northern
Evangelical Lutheran churches, and Gossner Evangelical Lutheran
Church in Chotanagpur and Assam.
*       *       *

Central African Republic Lutheran Church Ordains First Woman

For the first time in history, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of
the Central African Republic (EELRCA) has a woman pastor, Rev.
Rachel Wanguerem Doumbaye. Ordained at the church's 16th synod in
April, Doumbaye received her theological education from the Baboua
Theological College. The 55,000-member EELRCA joined the LWF in
1974. LWI will provide further information on the historic EELRCA
event as it becomes available.
*       *       *

Tveit Succeeds Utnem at Church of Norway Council

Next September Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit begins a six-year term as
general secretary of the Church of Norway Council on Ecumenical
and International Relations, succeeding Mr. Stig Utnem who will
have served in this position for eight years. Appointed June 10,
Tveit, 41, received his doctorate in May 2002 for a dissertation
on ecumenical theology. A parish pastor from 1988-1991, Tveit has
served as an executive staff member of the council for over 10
years. A press release from the council said Utnem will work as
adviser to preparations for the 2003 Conference of European
Churches 12th Assembly. The Church of Norway National Council, the
Sami Church Council and the Church of Norway Council on Ecumenical
and International Relations constitute the three national councils
for the church, elected by the Church of Norway General Synod, and
with a joint secretariat in Oslo. The 3.8 million member Church of
Norway has been an LWF member church since 1947.

(The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the
Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund (Sweden), the LWF now
has 133 member churches in 73 countries representing over 60.5
million of the 64.3 million Lutherans worldwide. The LWF acts on
behalf of its member churches in areas of common interest such as
ecumenical relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human
rights, communication, and the various aspects of mission and
development work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva,

[Lutheran World Information (LWI) is the information service of
the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). Unless specifically noted,
material presented does not represent positions or opinions of the
LWF or of its various units. Where the dateline of an article
contains the notation (LWI), the material may be freely reproduced
with acknowledgment.]

*       *       *
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