From the Worldwide Faith News archives

(LWF) LWF Tenth Assembly Concludes in Festive Closing Worship

From "Frank Imhoff" <>
Date Sat, 02 Aug 2003 15:49:03 -0500

LWF Tenth Assembly, Winnipeg, Canada, 21-31 July 2003


LWF Tenth Assembly Concludes in Festive Closing Worship
New LWF Council Members Presented

WINNIPEG, Canada, 2 August 2003 * Participants in the Tenth Assembly of the
Lutheran World Federation (LWF) celebrated the end of the meeting in a
Closing Eucharist July 31 at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church here.

During the July 21-31 meeting of the highest decision-making body of the LWF,
the 380 delegates attending the Assembly together with other participants
discussed issues of common concern in church and society under the theme "For
the Healing of the World." The main highlights are contained in the Assembly
Message in which the global LWF communion acknowledged the need for healing
in a world in which devastation, suffering, violence and exclusion of the
"other" are widespread.

One of the Assembly highlights was the July 26 election of a new LWF
President, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Presiding Bishop Mark S.
Hanson, who succeeds Bishop emeritus Dr Christian Krause, Evangelical
Lutheran Church in Brunswick, Germany.

During the closing worship service Hanson and the 48 other newly-elected
Council members drawn from the different LWF regions were installed. They
included 10 representatives each from Africa and Asia; eight from Central
Western Europe; six from the Nordic Countries; five each from Central Eastern
Europe and North America and four from the Latin American and Caribbean
region. But, not all the new members of the LWF annual governing body were
present as some were among the 50 Assembly participants who were denied visas
to enter Canada. 

In his seron based on Revelation 21: 1-6, Rev. Tore Johnsen, Church of
Norway, focused on the experiences of northern Europe's indigenous Sami
people. "I want to share with you some of our yearnings that reflect not only
our wounds and pains but also our experiences of wholeness and healing." For
Indigenous Peoples, the picture of a city is still an ambiguous symbol. Often
for them, a city means a hostile environment, oppression, alienation from
family ties, from the native language and culture, and the destruction of the
spiritual relation with creation.  

It is very difficult for Indigenous Peoples to visualize a city as a symbol
of healing. For Johnsen, the last two chapters of Revelation offer other
images for identification. The river of living waters, the tree of life and
the holy mountain of Zion * are portrayed as positive encounters. 

For Johnsen, the new Jerusalem should not only be seen as merely a city but
as a symbol of a new reconciled and healed humanity. "This city shall not be
a city of destruction. It will be God's city, a city of healing for the
creation; a city whose name Jerusalem will be reconciled as a city of peace
and healing wholeness." This healing is brought to the world through Jesus
Christ. "By receiving the broken body of Christ, we may be healed," said

The closing worship included prayers and songs in different languages from
all over the world. The Lord's Prayer, like during other worship services at
the Assembly, was said in as many languages as were spoken by the
participants there. Johnsen chanted the dismissal in the Sami language.

The Tenth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is taking place
21-31 July 2003 in Winnipeg, Canada, under the theme "For the Healing of the
World." It is being hosted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

There are around 820 men, women and youth participants in the Tenth Assembly
including 380 delegates from the 133 churches with full membership and three
associate members. The Assembly is the highet decision-making body of the
LWF, and meets normally every six years. Between Assemblies, the LWF is
governed by its Council that meets annually, and by its Executive Committee. 

Further information including photos, video and audio news, is posted on the
Assembly Web site

To order photographs, please contact

*	*	*

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 and interfaith relations, theology, humanitarian
assistance, human rights, communication, and the various aspects of mission
and development work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.

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