From the Worldwide Faith News archives

North American Vision for LWF Tenth Assembly

From "Frank Imhoff" <>
Date Thu, 06 Feb 2003 14:08:57 -0600

Women Call for Written Balloting, Youth Commit to Concrete Social

DENVER, Colorado, United States of America/GENEVA, 6 February 2003
(LWI) - Women and youth of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF)
North America region have met in separate consultations and laid
out a series of social and political concerns, and strategies to
address them, in preparation for the LWF Tenth Assembly. The
Assembly will be held July 21-31 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

A group of 38 women met for the North American Women's
Consultation, January 22-23, prior to the January 23-26 LWF North
American Pre-Assembly Consultation. The women included members of
the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Latvian Evangelical Lutheran
Church Abroad (LELCA) [based in Germany] and Lithuanian
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Diaspora.

In a written report to the Pre-Assembly Consultation, among many
action strategies, the North American women particularly urged
"that the LWF adopt the procedure of written balloting at all
assemblies." The suggestion for LWF Assembly voting procedures
resulted in discussion by all the Pre-Assembly Consultation
delegates. They agreed by consensus to seek an amendment in the
Assembly rules. North American delegates will ask that voting on
LWF "public statements"-which require a two-thirds vote for
approval-be done by written ballot, said Rev. Susan Tjornehoj from
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, ELCA delegate to the LWF Assembly. "She
also explained that at the Assembly, the North American delegates
hope to propose that LWF voting policies be reviewed.

The women further expressed concern, and suggested strategies, for
issues related to: nationalism and civil religion; affluence and
economic globalization; race, gender and sexuality; and HIV/AIDS.
For healing, they pledged to acknowledge and confess their fallen
humanity, denounce idolatries and pray for forgiveness; reaffirm
their baptismal calling to strive for justice and peace throughout
the earth; and work "cooperatively and collectively" with people
of faith and others to bring about peace, justice, reconciliation,
protection of human rights and healing to the world.

Action also was pledged to increase advocacy to end world hunger,
provide education and training against racism and "internalized
oppression," advocate for "generous" funding from the US and
Canadian governments for HIV/AIDS treatment and research, and
challenge pharmaceutical companies to lower costs.

North American Youth Consultation

The 12 Lutheran youth, aged under 30 years, who met for the North
American Youth Consultation, held January 18-21, included members
of the ELCIC, ELCA, and LELC. They considered issues pertinent to
young people in North America. Through prayer and conversation,
"we found that the problems of individual and systematic violence
are of primary concern to many young adults of North America,"
they wrote in their report to the Pre-Assembly Consultation. "We
have agreed to support each other and work together to oppose this
violence in our places of ministry."

Presenting the report to the Pre-Assembly Consultation were
Lindsay Mack, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, and Jakob Rinderknecht,
Chelan, Washington, USA. Both are ELCA delegates to the LWF
Assembly. They said violence and the concept that war is "an
acceptable political tool" were systems that contradict the Gospel
of Jesus Christ. They identified economic globalization,
exclusion, poverty, and portrayals of sexuality and body image as
"subtle forms of violence wrapped in our lives."

The youth called for a coordinator of young adult ministries for
Lutherans in North America, education and information sharing,
working to move people toward expedient solutions to social
problems, reforming the "culture of violence," equipping young
adults for action, and prayer.

They also committed to: political advocacy for the "voiceless" and
"unheard"; daily prayer for peace and reconciliation; buying less
and buying responsibly; educating themselves about global systems;
sharing what they learn; working toward a North American young
adult gathering; creating community, and each corresponding with
one LWF youth liaison from the Southern Hemisphere.

LWF staff and advisers from the LWF member churches joined the
consultation for women, and the consultation for youth.

Information about the LWF Tenth Assembly can be found at
the LWF Assembly Web site.

(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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