From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Lutheran Churches Seek Dialogue with Politicians

From "Frank Imhoff" <>
Date Wed, 05 Feb 2003 09:25:09 -0600

World Social Forum: Lutheran Churches Seek Dialogue with
LWF Delegation Talks with German Parliament Member

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil/GENEVA, 5 February 2003 (LWI) - Issues such
as foreign debt and existing economic models formed talks between
the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) delegation and German
parliament member Thilo Hoppe (Buendnis 90/Green Party) during the
World Social Forum (WSF).  The Forum took place in Porto Alegre
from January 23-28, where some 100,000 people took part in the WSF
focusing on debate and discussion on concrete strategies and
alternatives to current social and economic policies worldwide.

The LWF delegation included representatives of LWF member churches
in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica and India, and some LWF staff. Its
members explained to Hoppe their view that the foreign debt of
developing countries is illegitimate. They also spoke of their
decision to further ally with public sectors interested in social
and economic themes that specifically affect Southern Hemisphere
countries, and of their intention to seek alternative channels.

Hoppe, a journalist and deacon, showed great interest in the
position of the Lutheran churches and the LWF. He also
demonstrated willingness to initiate collective solutions. On
possible solutions to the debt issue, he said there are two paths:
the multilateral one, which implies the monitoring of financial
organizations, and the definition, for example, of how to declare
insolvency; and the bilateral one, which implies finding more
flexible approaches to specific situations. Overall, he emphasized
the need for creating nongovernmental (NGO) networks that would
include participation of different sectors such as churches,
political sources, and development agencies.

For future meetings, the participants suggested using the
opportunity of the next LWF Tenth Assembly, to be held 21-31 July
in Winnipeg, Canada. They also raised the possibility--through
church initiative--of holding a seminar in Argentina with the
participation of both German and Argentinean parliament members.

(Reported by Walter Parraguez, Brazil)

(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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