Appreciation, sustainability and plans for the future
Day two of the LWF Council 2015 began with spiritual food for thought. Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata read from Romans 7: 14-25, reminding participants that “Hope Does Not Disappoint” a text that put them in good stead for the business of the day .
A number of ecumenical guests are attending the Council, among them Monsignor Matthias Türk from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who greeted the Council with a reminder that it is because of hope that “ecumenical dialogue cannot be separated from our faith life”.
The General Secretary of the Mennonite World Conference, Dr Henk Stenvers, greeted the Council and called on the LWF to keep addressing present day challenges by collaborating and working together for mutual benefit and concrete outcomes.
In presenting her report on the 2014 financial year, Finance Committee chair, Christina Jackson-Skelton commended the LWF leadership and Communion Office staff for their commitment shown increasing financial stability, strong performance and maintaining staff discipline during this period. See the chair’s full report here.
The morning’s first session ended with a presentation by the General Secretary Martin Junge on the sustainability of the LWF. In January 2015, the Swiss National Bank removed the cap on the exchange rate between the Euro and the Swiss Franc, causing a substantial financial challenge to the LWF, which receives most of its income in currencies other than the Swiss Franc.
Although the LWF Communion Office has already taken steps to mitigate the SNB decision, long-term steps must include not only mitigation of financial risk but decisions that are based on a more comprehensive vision of sustainability that will enable the LWF to uphold its vocation in years to come.
The General Secretary reminded the Council that what it does today shapes tomorrow. It is a visible expression of LWF's inter-generational responsibility that ensures justice for future generations.
The Council will discuss sustainability proposals in more detail on 22 June.
In 2017, the LWF will celebrate its 12th Assembly in Namibia. Preparations are underway and chair of the local assembly planning committee, Dr Emma Nongolo, addressed the Council and expressed her hope and joy for the up-coming Assembly.
Dr Kjell Nordstokke presented the report of the Assembly Planning Committee. As chair, he reiterated that the theme “Liberated by God’s Grace” and the location of the Assembly in Namibia reminds us that grace is a gift that ensures humans, creation and salvation are not for sale. Members of the floor hoped for full participation of youth and women delegates in the forthcoming Assembly. As well as expressing appreciation of the report, they described preparatory work of the committee was “thoughtful, balanced and composed”.
The morning session ended with the announcement that the ecumenical commemoration co-hosted by Catholics and Lutherans in 2016 will take place in Lund, Sweden, on 31 October, 2016. See more on this here.
Council 2015: more information