From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Alternatives to War Against Iraq Must Be Pursued

From "Frank Imhoff" <>
Date Thu, 27 Feb 2003 13:08:28 -0600

Europe: LWF Pre-Assembly Consultation Participants Fear
Destabilization of Middle East

VIENNA, Austria/GENEVA, 27 February 2003 (LWI) - Opposition to a
possible war against Iraq has been expressed by participants,
representing over 20 countries, in the Lutheran World Federation
(LWF) European Pre-Assembly Consultation (PAC) held 23-26 February
in Vienna. In a February 26 letter to delegates who will attend
the LWF Asian PAC scheduled for 2-6 March in Medan, Indonesia, the
European PAC participants emphasize that Lutheran churches
Europe-wide stand with those "who through massive protests demand
that alternatives to war be pursued."

It is unacceptable that the lives of others are put at risk in
order to achieve a sense of security for people in Europe and
North America, the letter continues. "Rather, issues of security
must be approached through recognition of the vulnerability that
we all share." Vulnerability is an inescapable human condition,
states the letter.

The European PAC participants share the concern of the churches in
the Middle East that war could adversely affect the situation of
Christians in the region, "While we condemn the oppressive
practices of the dictatorship in Iraq, we fear that armed conflict
will further destabilize the region," they continue.

On economic globalization, one of the LWF Tenth Assembly's central
themes, the participants say that globalization opens up
possibilities for exchanging experiences and bringing people
together. But it also serves to further the interests of those
"already in power at the expense of the majority." The European
PAC delegates write that they too experience marginalization of
groups and countries following processes involving neo-liberal
concepts. Such processes are often portrayed as if there were no
alternative, say the European church representatives. They say
they want to proclaim that there certainly are alternatives,
explore some of them and affirm their commitment toward just,
sustainable and life-affirming economies.

The Vienna PAC delegates explain that they find it hard to define
their Christian mission within the diversity of religions and
cultures that has always been a reality in Europe. Within the LWF
member churches themselves there are diverse ethnic groups,
languages, cultures, family structures and lifestyles. This
diversity must be embraced without abandoning justice and
equality, they write. They affirm their belief that Christian
faith and values should continue to play a central role in Europe.

The LWF European PAC was the second of five regional preparatory
meetings being held in the run-up to the LWF Tenth Assembly. Some
80 participants attended the European consultation, including over
60 European LWF member church delegates to the Assembly. The
Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Austria hosted
the event.

About 1,000 participants, including 436 delegates from the 136 LWF
member churches are expected at the LWF Tenth Assembly in
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 21-31 July to be held under the theme
"For the Healing of the World." The Evangelical Lutheran Church in
Canada will host the gathering. The Assembly is the LWF's highest
decision-making body, and is normally held every six years.

[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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