From the Worldwide Faith News archives

LWF Post-Assembly Visits Affected By Visa Denials

Date Fri, 8 Aug 2003 10:41:59 -0500


August 8, 2003

LWF Post-Assembly Visits Affected By Visa Denials

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Post-assembly visits were hindered after
the Canadian and United States governments declined to issue
visas to some 50 participants of the Lutheran World Federation
(LWF) Tenth Assembly in Winnipeg, Manitoba, July 21-31.
     The post-assembly visits, extensions of the LWF assembly,
were to take place in 22 sites in the United States and Caribbean
with 107 international participants, according to Kathy Magnus,
North America regional officer for the LWF.  There were only 55
registered participants destined for 21 sites as of July 25,
Magnus said.
     The denial of visas to 50 assembly participants was the
subject of considerable discussion and concern at the Winnipeg
     "The one event that was totally cancelled was the
Northwestern Minnesota Synod event," Magnus said.  She said that
of the six international guests scheduled for that event, all
were denied visas.
     Another event in Wisconsin was sharply downsized after only
one of the five international participants received a visa,
Magnus said.
     Magnus said she had no idea why visas were denied to some
LWF participants, but she did say that all of the participants
who were denied visas are from Asia and Africa.
     Manitoba Premier Gary Doer, who addressed the LWF assembly
July 23, said in an interview that the Canadian government was
exploring the visa problems.
     "We're going to follow this up with the federal government
and the group here to make sure that whatever went wrong won't go
wrong again," Doer said.
     Of the LWF participants who had registered to attend the
post-assembly visits, 35 people were unable to obtain Canadian
visas, Magnus said.  Another 14 participants had received
Canadian visas but were unable to obtain U.S. visas, primarily
because the visas had not been requested with enough advance
notice and because there is no consulate in Winnipeg, she said.
     Though the post-assembly visits had setbacks, Magnus said
participants attending the visits are enjoying their experiences.
     One international guest from Tanzania, Ipyana Mwamugobole,
said in an e-mail message to Magnus that he was enjoying his
experiences with the ELCA Sierra Pacific Synod, based in Oakland,
     "I'm learning a lot about people, church and church
activities," Mwamugobole said.	"I'm learning about how people
can think about others outside their world."
     Magnus said she expects to receive further positive feedback
as the events progress.  "We'll hope that the results will be
great," she said.
     LWF is a global communion of 136 churches in 76 countries
and represents almost 62 million Lutherans. The LWF provides
leadership training, theological education, medical care and
human rights advocacy.	The LWF assembly is held every six or
seven years.

*Jessica A. Crane is completing her bachelor of arts degree at
Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn.  This summer she is an intern
with ELCA News and Media Production.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or

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