New Members on Dialogue Groups, New LWF Visual Identity
Council Press Release No. 12/2012 | BOGOTÁ, Colombia/GENEVA, 22 June 2012 (LWI)– At its meeting in Bogotá, Colombia, the Council of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) took important decisions for its work, based on recommendations from its committees. Besides public statements and resolutions (see other press releases) the focal themes included program work, finance, membership and communication.
Finance – Preliminary Assembly Budget Adopted
In its report, the Finance Committee presented the financial statements for 2011 and the budget for 2013, which were duly adopted. In addition a provisional budget amounting to approximately EUR 2 million was approved for the Twelfth Assembly of the LWF to be celebrated in 2017. The venue for the assembly, which coincides with the Reformation anniversary, was not under discussion in Bogotá.
The LWF budget for 2013 comprises income and expenditure of around EUR 76 million. Out of this amount, the Department for World Service projects EUR 63 million for its work; followed by the Department for Mission and Development (DMD) at EUR 9 million. Expenditure for the restructured Department for Theology and Public Witness is planned at around EUR 1.8 million; and EUR 2.2 million is foreseen for the work of the new Department for Planning and Operations, and the Office of the General Secretary.
Together with the 2013 budget planning, the Council adopted the Communion Office Operational Plan (COOP) for the period 2013 to 2014. With the aid of targets and indicators, the COOP links budgeting with the LWF Strategy 2012-2017 and enables improved planning, resources’ mobilization and allocation, and monitoring and reporting on performance.
Mission and Development – Previous Name is Retained
The Committee for Holistic Mission and Member Church Relations, besides approving 31 projects from the member churches worth EUR 4.3 million – also discussed other changes in DMD’s structure. The Council agreed to revert to the committee’s previous name—Committee for Mission and Development. At the same time, the department in the Communion Office would continue to be called “Department for Mission and Development” without this restricting the understanding of the department’s responsibilities. Furthermore, the Council established a sub-committee of the Committee for Mission and Development to replace the former “Project Committee.”
Theology and Ecumenism – New Members on Dialogue Groups
Receiving proposals from the Committee for Theology and Ecumenical Relations, the Council affirmed ongoing work on ecumenical dialogues, including support provided by the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Strasbourg, France.
The Council appointed Bishop emeritus Dr Christoph Klein from the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Romania as co-chairperson of the Lutheran-Orthodox Joint Commission. He succeeds retired Bishop Don McCoid (USA) who served from 2004 to 2012.
The Council also received the report of the Anglican-Lutheran International Commission “To Love and Serve the Lord” and recommended it to its members for study. As mandated in the report, the LWF governing body approved the establishment of an Anglican–Lutheran International Coordinating Committee, for which Lutheran members will be appointed by the next Meeting of Officers in 2012. The Council also appointed LWF representatives to the Lutheran–Roman Catholic–Mennonite Trilateral Dialogue Commission.
Membership – Germany’s Northern Church Welcomed, VELKD Is a Recognized Council
Receiving the report of the Standing Committee for Constitution and Membership, the Council warmly welcomed to the LWF the new Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany (Northern Church). Since it arose from the merger of three LWF member churches—Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mecklenburg, Evangelical Church of Pomerania and the North Elbian Evangelical Lutheran Church—only a unilateral declaration of intent on the part of the Northern Church was required for recognition as an LWF member church. With the Council’s affirmation, the LWF now has 143 churches in 79 countries with 70.5 million members.
The relationship between the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany (VELKD) and the LWF assumed a new status when the Council welcomed the association of Evangelical Lutheran churches as a “Recognized Council” of the LWF. With this recognition, the VELKD churches remain autonomous LWF members, exercising their respective rights and duties, while VELKD is accorded an official observer status—without voting rights and membership fee obligations in the LWF.
Communication – Strategic Direction and Visual Identity Development
The Council approved the strategic direction proposed for a new LWF communication strategy, upon recommendations by the Standing Committee for Communication and Fundraising, and mandated the next Meeting of Officers to adopt the final communications strategy, which includes a social media plan. A sub-committee was also appointed, with the mandate to guide the development of a new visual identity for the LWF, including a new logo.
World Service – Increased Contributions from the South
The Committee for World Service presented the Council with several items for information, based on current developments in the country programs. The DWS program in Colombia featured especially, but so did the expansion of World Service presence in Myanmar, and its work in Zambia.
In its report, the committee underlined the fact that the financial income of the department had been raised in the previous year thanks to fundraising. This was due to firm support from the Nordic countries but also to a pronounced increase in contributions for emergency and development aid from countries in the Global South. (872 words)