Passion for unity

Rev. Martin Junge. Photo: LWF/H. Putsman-Penet
Rev. Martin Junge. Photo: LWF/H. Putsman-Penet

By Klaus Rieth

"Both, Walter Altmann, the WCC Moderator and Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of WCC, show their passion for unity," said Martin Junge at the confessional meeting during the WCC assembly in Busan. Junge said that "to be Lutheran is to be ecumenical." Junge mentioned that the LWF, founded in 1947, is one year older than WCC. "There were four major calls to establish the LWF," he said 1: The suffering of the people after World War II, with joint efforts to serve the neighbor with diaconal activities. 2: The call of being together in God´s mission, which brought churches together. 3: Church on its own is a risk. Therefore we need dialogue and interaction. Let us do theological work together. 4: The call towards unity.

"The reason why we are in the WCC," Junge said, "is that ours is the history within the ecumenical movement. We are committed to the WCC and to the ACT family."

Junge mentioned the new theme of the next LWF assembly saying, "Liberated by God´s grace" means freedom is central and an additional concept for Christians. "Communio," Junge said, "is a learning experience to live and to work together.” “We have to understand the differences between our churches, we have to be autonomous and we have to be accountable in the wider ecumenical movement. That means, church must be contextual and needs catholicity, women’s and youth participation. Not in the mood of self-preservation but with diaconal efforts for the marginalized and suffering people."

Looking forward to the next assembly and the 500 years anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, Junge said, "we need three main topics: "Global citizenship, ecumenical accountability and that church is in an ongoing process of reform." Junge recalled the Mennonite action during the Eleventh LWF Assembly in Stuttgart, Germany in 2010: "we have recognized our role and we have apologized." "This means also for the ongoing ecumenical process, that we have moved on, the Roman Catholic Church has moved on and the world has moved on."

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Reflections of a Lutheran participant at the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan, Republic of Korea, from 30 October to 8 November 2013.

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