From the Worldwide Faith News archives

North American Churches in First LWF Pre-Assembly Gathering

From "Frank Imhoff" <>
Date Thu, 23 Jan 2003 09:42:07 -0600

Focus on Understanding and Practice of Communion and Hospitality

GENEVA, 23 January 2003 (LWI) - A region by region focus of the
July 2003 Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Tenth Assembly starts
today, with the North America Pre-Assembly Consultation (PAC) in
Denver, Colorado, USA.

"The main purpose of PACs in general is to prepare delegates for
active participation in and effective contribution to the life and
work of the Assembly. This is very important for the smooth
running of the Assembly since about two thirds of the participants
will be new," says Rev. Dr Peri Rasolondraibe, director of the LWF
Department for Mission and Development (DMD). DMD is responsible
for coordinating all the pre-assemblies and for a program that
includes visits to congregations and ministries of churches in the
Assembly host region.

The January 23-26 gathering will be the first in a series of five
LWF regional PACs in which representatives of LWF member churches
will reflect on the Assembly theme and content. The 21-31 July
Assembly will take place in Winnipeg, Canada, hosted by the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC). Its theme is "For
the Healing of the World."

The Tenth Assembly discussion will take place in ten "Village
Groups." Rasolondraibe noted that the PACs, for instance, will
focus on the different village group issues from a regional
perspective, prepare the regional Bible study presentation and
establish a regional nominations slate of Council members - LWF's
governing body between Assemblies- to be elected in Winnipeg.
Delegates will also be familiarized with the LWF structure and

Rasolondraibe sees the North America PAC as very significant as
this is the region hosting the forthcoming Assembly. The
participants at this consultation, representing the four member
churches in the region, namely the ELCIC, Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America (ELCA), Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church
Abroad and Lithuanian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Diaspora will
also prepare for the pre and post- assembly visitation programs.
It is hoped that through these programs, the rest of the Lutheran
communion will appreciate the depth of these churches'
understanding and practice of communion and hospitality.

The January meeting is unique in that this is the first time that
the regional office, created in 1998, will be preparing a
pre-Assembly. According to Rasolondraibe, the office has to date
facilitated, among others, discussion and practice of communion
between the member churches in North America and has strengthened
LWF's presence among Lutheran churches in the region. The regional
officer is based at the ELCA Chicago headquarters.

The Assembly Coordinator, Rev. Arthur Leichnitz, expects the first
regional pre-assembly meeting to raise many questions about the
Assembly content, procedures and logistics that will need to be
taken into account before the Assembly itself. The LWF secretariat
also has expectations of the meeting in terms of insightful
discussion of the issues and churches' readiness to receive the
Assembly. It is hoped that a solid understanding of the Assembly
theme, "For the Healing of the World" in the North American
context, would have an impact on subsequent regional PACs.

The North America Pre-Assembly will bring together over 70
participants, including 22 church delegates. About 1,000 people
including 436 delegates from the 136 LWF member churches are
expected in Winnipeg for the Tenth Assembly. The Assembly is the
LWF's highest governing body, meeting every six years.

The remaining LWF regional meetings will take place in Europe -
February 23-26, Vienna, Austria; Asia - March 2-6, Medan,
Indonesia; Africa: March 23-26, Nairobi, Kenya and Latin America
and the Caribbean, April 6-9 in San Salvador, El Salvador. The
first preparatory meeting toward the Tenth Assembly was the 14-19
November Women's Pre-Assembly Consultation in Montreux,
Switzerland. A global youth conference will be held near Toronto,
Canada, prior to the July Assembly.

(The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the
Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund (Sweden), the LWF now
has 136 member churches in 76 countries representing over 61.7
million of the 65.4 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 LWF's information
service.Unless specifically noted, material preented 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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PO Box 2100, CH-1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
English Editor: Pauline Mumia
Tel: (41.22) 791.63.54
Fax: (41.22) 791.66.30

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