LUTHERAN WORLD INFORMATION
LWI news online: www.lutheranworld.org/News/Welcome.EN.html
- Communication Networks Like KALME Preserve the Community of Churches - LWF Launches Blog for Young Adults - USD 76.6 Million for LWF Projects and Programs in 2006 - Germany: Mutual Recognition of Baptism - Michael Buenker Is New Lutheran Bishop in Austria - Malasusa Elected Presiding Bishop of Tanzanian Church - Union Says Danish Pastors Are Leaving Because of Stress - Canadian Lutherans and Anglicans Celebrate Six Years of Full Communion - Lutherans in Canada Participates in Ceremony to Reaffirm Aboriginal Covenant - Pastor John Nunes Is New President of Lutheran World Relief
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Communication Networks Like KALME Preserve the Community of Churches
Firmly establishing communication as a strategic element in church boards at the national and European levels is an important goal of the Communication Committee of Lutheran Minority Churches in Europe (KALME), said the new KALME president, Ms Praxedis Bouwman.
The 39 year-old Dutch journalist was elected to her new office at the KALME plenary meeting, held 19 to 22 April in Utrecht, Netherlands. Bouwman explained that after 30 years of KALME, the organizationâs proven work in training and seminars for media professionals from European Lutheran minority churches would be continued. She pointed to the strong interest attested to by the high numbers of participants in these courses.
Commenting on the organization's 30 years of existence, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), area secretary for Europe Rev. Dr Eva-Sibylle Vogel-Mfato, said that KALME had played an important role as a communications network among Lutheran churches by providing space for further education in media work over the past 30 years.
"[Thirty] years in the life of a communication network is very unique and special. Your motivation and focus to build bridges with the power of the small numbers manifests your significant and excellent work," said Rev. Chandran Paul Martin, LWF deputy general secretary. "Networks like KALME keep the communion as a community through communication."
Ms Marina Chudenko from Russia was elected as the new KALME vice president. The four-member KALME presidium also includes Rev. Marco Uschmann of Austria as treasurer and Rev. Roland Kauffmann of France as secretary. The assembly delegates also elected to the eight-member KALME board of directors Ms Phoebe Luk of Great Britain, Bishop Pavlis Bruvers of Latvia, Mr Meelis Sueld of Estonia, and Rev. Sebastian Zebe of Italy.
KALME is an association of media experts from Lutheran minority churches in Europe with the objective of improving communications. Founded in Guestrow, Germany, in 1977 as a means of bridging a divided Europe, it encompasses 23 member churches. The communication committee continues to foster ties between big and small churches in Europe, and to present a forum for media professionals and church leaders to meet. (344 words)
For further information on KALME, please refer to: www.kalme.net
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LWF Launches Blog for Young Adults
By introducing a blog (or web log), a kind of collective Internet diary, LWF Youth is now providing a means of intensifying interaction among young people from throughout the global church communion. LWF Youth is the youth desk of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Department for Mission and Development (DMD). At www.lwfyouth.org seven young adults from around the world are now beginning to write about their lives, their faith, their churches, and the social problems that concern them.
"It is something like a global youth group," said LWF/DMD youth secretary Rev. Roger Schmidt. He added that the youth blog is there for the young adults to talk about their own lives.
"Alexandra from Colombia, for instance, talks about her difficulties in finding a job," Schmidt explained. "Benny from Indonesia shares with the ot hers his experience in preparing for seminary teaching." The youth secretary himself will write about the international ecumenical world. Blog participation is, however, not limited to these seven young people. Schmidt encouraged others to join in as "anyone can react to articles by submitting comments on the blog, or can send in requests for topics."
The youth blog can be accessed at: www.lwfyouth.org
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USD 76.6 Million for LWF Projects and Programs in 2006 Total income for the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in 2006 amounted to USD 91.4 million compared to USD 93 million the previous year. Out of this amount, USD 14.8 million was allocated for coordination and USD 76.6 million for the LWF programs and projects, according to the recently published LWF Annual Report. Last year, LWF member churches and their related agencies provided financial support amounting to USD 59.4 million toward the organizationâs administrative support and programs, together with USD 3 million by way of membership fees. USD 8.7 million was received from different governments, and United Nationsâ agencies gave USD 5.8 million. The remainder includes local income in the field programs, as well as interest earned on short-term deposits etc. Total expenditure in 2006 was around USD 88.1 million, compared to USD 92.1 million in 2005. Out of this amount, USD 10 million was used for the Geneva Coordination budget, which primarily includes staff and operational costs of the Geneva-based LWF Secretariat, as well as USD 1.47 million for coordination of non-project activities in the Department for World Service (DWS) field offices. In 2006 USD 76.6 million went to LWF programs and projects. The General Secretariat spent a total of USD 3.6 million; Department for Theology and Studies, USD 0.9 million; and Department for Mission and Development (DMD), USD 12.8 million. The Department for World Service (DWS) expended USD 70.8 million for its work in 36 countries. The Geneva Coordination in 2006 showed a surplus of USD 1.45 million. Some USD 283,000 was spent on project write-offs, resulting in a total surplus of USD 1.17 million. By the end of 2006, the LWFâs reserves amounted to USD 17.3 million.
The LWF Foundation - Endowment Fund had an amount of CHF 10.5 million by the end of 2006. Formally established in 1999 to supplement financial support for LWFâs work, the fundâs long-term goal is to build its retained assets to CHF 50 million by the year 2017. (337 words) A breakdown of the LWF finances is available in the LWF Annual Report 2006, which can be downloaded from the LWF Web site at: www.lutheranworld.org/LWF_Documents/LWF-Annual_Report_2006-low.pdf
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Germany: Mutual Recognition of Baptism
In late April, the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), the German Bishopsâ Conference, Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, and national free churches in Germany, signed for the first time a formal declaration of mutual baptism recognition. The agreement was signed at an ecumenical worship service in the Magdeburg Cathedral on 29 April.
There have been individual regional agreements between EKD member churches and Roman-Catholic dioceses for the mutual recognition of baptism for over 30 years. There had, however, not yet been an agreement at the national level, as represented by the EKD and German Bishops' Conference. In May 2002, Walter Cardinal Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, launched an initiative to work within the bishops' conferences on the topic of baptism and the ecumenical significance of the mutual recognition of baptism, and to sign relevant agreements between churches. The German Bishopsâ Conference has followed up on the initiative from the Vatican, suggesting as its goal the mutual recognition of baptism for the entire region represented by the German Bishops' Conference and EKD.
A text was developed by a working group including representatives of the Commission of the Orthodox Ch urch in Germany (KOKiD), the Evangelical-Methodist Church (along with other free churches), and the Old Catholics (along with the Anglican Church). The Council of the EKD and the Permanent Council of the German Bishops' Conference have accepted the text.
The following churches signed the declaration of mutual recognition of baptism: Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Germany Council of Anglican Episcopal Churches in Germany Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church in Germany Evangelical Old-Reformed Church in Lower Saxony European Continental Province of the Moravian Church Evangelical Church in Germany Evangelical Methodist Church Catholic Diocese of the Old Catholics in Germany Orthodox Church in Germany Roman Catholic Church Independent Evangelical-Lutheran Church (314 words)
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Michael Buenker Is New Lutheran Bishop in Austria Oberkirchenrat Prof. Michael Buenker, 53, has been elected bishop of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Austria. At its meeting in Eisenstadt, Austria, the church's synod elected the theologian to succeed Bishop Herwig Sturm, who will retire at the end of the year. Buenker was elected in the seventh round of voting, receiving 38 of 55 valid votes, the necessary two-thirds majority. The new bishop will take office on 1 January 2008. In the run-up to the election, Buenker declared his intention to work toward an "open and reform-minded church." He said that numerous church areas of endeavor were only made possible through the commitment of individuals "who were not theologians." He also expressed his support for measures to be taken to encourage and enable women to participate in all types of decision-making structures within the church. Buenker was born in Leoben, Austria. After studying Protestant theology in Vienna, Austria, he taught religion and trained for the ministry, attaining his doctorate in Protestant theology in 1981. He served as pastor in the Floridsdorf district of Vienna, and began his tenure as the director of Viennaâs Protestant Religious Education Academy in 1991. Eight years later, Buenker was elected Oberkirchenrat for spiritual matters. He has been active as an adjunct professor at Viennaâs Faculty for Protestant Theology since 2003. The Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE) elected him general secretary in autumn 2006. Buenker is married with two children and one grandchild. The Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Austria has some 314,300 members in its dioceses of Burgenland, Carinthia/East Tyrol, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg/Tyrol, Styria, and Vienna. The church has been a member of the Lutheran World Federation since 1947. (292 words)
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Malasusa Elected Presiding Bishop of Tanzanian Church At its meeting on 18 July, the Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) elected Bishop Alex Gehaz Malasusa to a four-year term as ELCT Presiding Bishop. Malasusa, 47, was among the three contestants presented by the ELCT Executive Council to the assembly, the church's highest decision-making body. He received 132 out of 184 votes cast. Malasusa succeeds retired Bishop Dr Samson Mushemba, 72, whose term as presiding bishop expires this July. His tenure ended in July last year but was extended to July 2007. Mushemba has served as presiding bishop since 1992, and as chairperson of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) National Committee in Tanzania. He was a member of the LWF Council and Executive Committee from 1997 to 2003, serving as chairperson of the Program Committee for World Service. Born on 18 June 1960, Malasusa is the youngest person to be elected to the ELCT's highest position. He holds a bachelor of divinity from the ELCT's Makumira University College, and is currently pursuing his master of theology by distance education. He is married, and has three children. With some 3.5 million members, the ELCT is the second largest church in Tanzania after the Roman Catholic Church with a membership of 10 million
in a population of about 35 million people. The ELCT joined the LWF in 1964. (228 words) (ELCT Communication Office)
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Union Says Danish Pastors Are Leaving Because of Stress The 2,000-strong Danish Pastors Union is concerned at the number of pastors leaving their posts for other work because of stress-related symptoms, with 30 departures recorded in one year alone. According to the June 2007 edition of Church News from Denmark, the information bulletin of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, the unionâs chairperson Sabine Bech-Hansen, has expressed frustration at the lack of serious effort to remedy the situation despite a report five years ago, revealing that one in five pastors suffered from stress. The minister responsible, Bertel Haarder, set up a committee three years ago to study the problem, but so far little had happened. "It's lamentable that nothing has happened five years on," says Prof. Finn Gyntelberg, of the Clinic for Work-related Illnesses in Copenhagen. "We met a large number of pastors with serious problems all over the country. And the numbers are certainly not lower now." Bech-Hansen said the committee's recommendations were often blocked at the highest level. "The church is not a particularly good working environment at the moment," she told Danish newspaper Christian Daily. "I have never known my colleagues to complain so much. If something isn't done soon, it will be difficult to hold on to the pastors we have, and even harder to attract new ones." Around 87 percent of the Danish population belong to the 4.5-million member Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, an LWF member church since 1947. (245 words) * * * Canadian Lutherans and Anglicans Celebrate Six Years of Full Communion A "day-long Eucharist" on 21 June marked the celebrations of six years of full communion between the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC). Nearly 1,000 members of both churches gathered for the joint event at the Winnipeg Convention Center and, the venue of the ELCIC's Eleventh Biennial Convention and the ACC's 38th General Synod . "The river of life, the everlasting wellspring, the fountain of resurrection," was the theme of the worship service, planned by the Joint Anglican - Lutheran Commission. ELCIC National Bishop Raymond Schultz and ACC Archbishop Andrew Hutchinson presided at the event, which included so-called table discussions on the meaning of full communion relations. Also discussed was a "Water Declaration" of the Canadian ecumenical organization KAIROS, which advocates water as human right and common good. In June 2001 the ACC and ELCIC entered into full communion under "The Waterloo Declaration." It is not a merger but a union of mutual recognition of each other's rites. The ELCIC is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination with over 174,500 members in five synods, comprising 624 congregations. The ACC includes nearly 642,000 members in 30 dioceses with some 1,790 parishes. (204 words) (ELCIC NEWS) * * * Lutherans in Canada Participate in Ceremony to Reaffirm Aboriginal Covenant The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), along with representatives of eight other Canadian church denominations reaffirmed a covenant recognizing the rights of the nationâs Aboriginal peoples during a ceremony which took place at the June ELCIC National Convention and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) General Synod in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Titled, "Towards the Constitutional Recognition and Protection of Aboriginal Self-Government in Canada," the covenant reaffirmed a previous statement by the leaders of Canadian Christian Churches on Aboriginal Rights and the Canadian Constitution, signed 20 years ago. During the ceremony church leaders repeated a pledge committing to "the vision of a new relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples based on sharing, respect and the recognition of rights and responsibilities." The 1987 covenant marked a major step forward in reconciliation between Canada's Aboriginal peoples and the church, and recognizes Aboriginals' rights to be distinct peoples, to an adequate land base and to self-determination. ELCIC National Bishop Raymond Schultz said his church urges an early resolution to native land claims, many of which have dragged on for years. ACC Archbishop Andrew Hutchinson said progress had been made since the 1987 covenant was issued. The Anglican church has formally apologized for its role in residential schools and reached a financial agreement on compensation to those affected. (221 words) (ELCIC News) * * * Rev. John Nunes Is New President of Lutheran World Relief Effective 1 July, Rev. John Arthur Nunes is the new president of Lutheran World Relief (LWR), the international relief and development agency of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. He was elected by the LWR board of directors elected on 21 May. The 44-year-old succeeds Ms Kathryn Wolford, who left LWR in October 2006 to become president of the McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Nunes has worked as a management consultant, pastor, teacher, youth director, and parish musician. He held the post of assistant professor of theology at Concordia University, River Forest (Chicago, Illinois), and served as a pastor for Bethany Lutheran Church, Chicago. He was director for church resource development at Concordia Publishing House (St Louis, Missouri). He is a doctor of philosophy candidate from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, Illinois. Nunes earned a Master of Theology degree from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in 2006. He received a BA from Concordia College, Ann Arbor, Michigan; a Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary in St. Catharines, ON, Canada; and an honorary doctorate from Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Michigan. John Nunes and his wife Monique are the parents of five children. LWR works to end poverty and injustice by empowering some of the worldâs most impoverished communities to help themselves. Its headquarters are in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. (234 words)
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(The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund, Sweden, the LWF currently has 140 member churches in 78 countries all over the world, with a total membership of nearly 66.7 million. 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.)
[Lutheran World Information (LWI) is the 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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