From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Lutheran Women, Youth Offer Vision for LWF Assembly

From News News <NEWS@ELCA.ORG>
Date Thu, 6 Feb 2003 14:39:20 -0600


February 6, 2003


     DENVER, Colo. (ELCA) -- Women and youth of the North American
region of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) met here separately in
consultations preparing for the July 21-31 LWF Assembly.  Both groups
laid out a series of social and political concerns, and strategies to
address their concerns.
     The LWF is a global communion of 136 Lutheran churches in 76
countries.  LWF membership includes 61.7 million of the world's 65.4
million Lutherans.  The LWF Assembly, held every six years, will take
place July 21-31 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
     About 38 women from North America met here Jan. 22-23, just before
the start of a Jan. 23-26 LWF Pre-Assembly Consultation involving all
North American assembly delegates, staff and advisors.	Twelve young
Lutherans met here Jan. 18-21.
     The women included members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America (ELCA), Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), Latvian
Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad and the Lituanian Evangelical
Lutheran Church in Diaspora.  The youth included members of the ELCA,
ELCIC and Latvian Church Abroad.
     Both groups were joined by LWF staff and advisors from the LWF-
member churches.

     In a written report, the Women's Consultation confessed that, "as
Lutheran Christian women of North America," they have failed to live up
to their baptismal calling to strive for peace and justice throughout
the earth; failed to love their neighbors as themselves; failed to
understand that as Christ's body they are in an interdependent global
community; failed to hear brothers' and sisters' calls for peace and
justice; and failed to trust God and instead trusted in their own
efforts for security.
     They expressed particular concerns 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.
     They made many action pledges, such as to increase advocacy to end
world hunger, to provide education and training against racism and
"internalized oppression," and to advocate for "generous" funding from
the U.S. and Canadian governments for HIV/AIDS treatment and research,
and to challenge pharmaceutical companies to lower costs.
     A key suggestion for LWF assembly voting procedures resulted in
some discussion by all the delegates to the North American Pre-Assembly
     "In particular, we urge that the LWF adopt the procedure of
written balloting at all assemblies," the women wrote in their report.
     Apparently, women delegates from some countries are not allowed to
vote as they wish, but are expected or required to vote as their
delegation votes, explained the Rev. Gladys Moore, ELCA delegate to the
LWF Assembly from Jersey City, N.J.  Women may vote differently than men
on certain issues, she added.  Presently, voting is done informally
without the use of voting machines or written ballots.
     Participants in the North American Pre-Assembly Consultation
agreed by consensus to seek an amendment in the assembly rules when the
rules are considered.	North American delegates will ask that voting on
LWF "public statements" -- which require a two-thirds vote to approve --
be done by written ballot, said the Rev. Susan Tjornehoj, LWF delegate
from St. Paul, Minn.
     She also explained that at some point during the assembly, the
North American delegates hope to propose that LWF voting policies be

     Twelve young representatives of the ELCIC, ELCA and Latvian Church
Abroad met to consider issues of significance 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," the youth said in a written report.  "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, Minn., and Jakob
Rinderknecht, Chelan, Wash.  Both are ELCA delegates to the LWF Assembly
in Winnipeg.
     The young Lutherans 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 asked for prayer, a coordinator of young adult
ministries for Lutherans in North America, education and information
sharing, working to move people to passion and urgency to solve social
problems, reforming the "culture of violence" and equipping young adults
for action.
     They committed to daily prayer for peace and reconciliation,
political advocacy for the "voiceless," 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 corresponding with one LWF youth liaison from the
Southern Hemisphere.
     "The most important part of our work together has been coming
together for confession,"  Rinderknecht told the Pre-Assembly Consultation.

For example, he said the Youth Consultation asked if there could be a place

at the Winnipeg assembly where people could confess, in writing, how each
contributes to a "broken" world.
-- -- --
     Information about the LWF Tenth Assembly can be found at on the Web.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG

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