From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Lutherans Called to Be Healers and Peacemakers

From "Frank Imhoff" <>
Date Fri, 24 Jan 2003 13:38:30 -0600

LWF North America Pre-Assembly Consultation Under Way

DENVER, Colorado, United States of America/GENEVA, 24 January 2003
(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) North America
Pre-Assembly Consultation is about preparing to be healers in the
world, said the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). He welcomed some 70
voting delegates, staff and advisers at the consultation in
Denver, Colorado, January 23-26.

The consultation is intended as a planning and learning
opportunity for those who will be involved in the LWF Tenth
Assembly in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, July 21-31, under the
theme "For the Healing of the World."  It is the first of five
such regional consultations to be held throughout the world
leading up to the Assembly.

Delegates from North America include representatives of the ELCA
and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), as well as the
Lithuanian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Diaspora, Estonian
Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad, and Latvian Evangelical
Lutheran Church Abroad (based in Germany), each of which has
congregations in North America.

Hanson said that for him experiencing an Assembly had been a
life-changing experience. He encouraged the youngest present to go
to the Assembly to lead. He also expressed heartfelt thanks, on
behalf of the North American Lutheran churches, to the ELCIC and
its national bishop, Rev. Raymond L. Schultz, for the church's
hospitality and willingness to host the LWF Assembly.

At least two-thirds of the delegates will be attending an LWF
Assembly for the first time, said Rev. Peri Rasolondraibe,
director of the LWF Department for Mission and Development. He
reminded delegates that the Assembly is the LWF's highest
decision-making body, and that its activities would include
celebration of the Lutheran communion, as well as business
matters, such as elections and deliberation on resolutions and
policy matters.

Women and North American youth representatives to the Assembly
already have held consultations to discuss key issues, he said.
The Women's Consultation was held last November in Montreux,
Switzerland.   The North American youth representatives held a
preparatory meeting in Denver this week.

While in Denver, reports from those meetings will be presented. 
Delegates, staff and advisers also will meet in Village Groups,
which will be a central feature of the main Assembly. Bible study
and discussions related to the Assembly theme will take place in
these groups. Topics include justification, communion, healing
divisions, mission in multi-faith contexts, removing barriers that
exclude, the ministry of healing, justice and healing in families,
overcoming violence, transforming economic globalization and
healing creation. Ideas for Assembly consideration will emerge
from these discussions, Rasolondraibe said. The outcome will be
shared with the other Pre-Assembly Consultations.

In an opening worship service, Rev. Susan Johnson, an ELCIC
delegate from Kitchener, Ontario Canada, said the delegates do not
have to look far to see why healing is so urgent. In her sermon,
she cited the possibility of war with Iraq, and violence at home,
such as school shootings, recent sniper shootings in the
Washington, D.C. area, and child and spousal abuse.

Healing suggests curing sickness, she said, noting that
catastrophic diseases are not confined to specific geographic
areas. Much of the world's sickness has its roots in poverty, she
said. She urged the North America representatives to take small
steps in the communities in which they live to promote healing and
peace, such as feeding homeless people, supporting church appeals
that promote healing, and unceasing prayer that God can bring
peace to the world.

(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 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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English Editor: Pauline Mumia
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