(LWI) – The war in neighboring Ukraine changed the perspective on the upcoming Assembly, said the Presiding Bishop of the host church – the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland (ECACP) – Jerzy Samiec. It made the Assembly and its theme even more relevant for the country and the region. He addressed members of The Lutheran World Federation’s (LWF) Council receiving the report on preparations for the Thirteenth Assembly, scheduled to take place in Krakow, Poland, in September 2023.
“It is our task to be messengers of hope,” Samiec said, referring to the Assembly theme: One Body, One Spirit, One Hope. “Bringing hope requires a prayerful relationship with our Saviour,” he said. It also requires taking a firm stand and, “if necessary, to expose ourselves.”
The planned visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site as part of the Assembly program is now becoming particularly important in the face of the war, he added.
Welcoming the LWF communion to Poland
Despite the current dynamic situation, preparations are going on “with vigor”, said Anna Wrzesińska, Chairperson of the Local Assembly Planning Committee (LAPC), in her address to the Council. “We are excited and looking forward to welcoming you to Poland.”
Wrzesińska reported that preparations were proceeding well and that the LAPC collaborated closely with the LWF Communion Office in Geneva. She noted that “being able to work in a well-balanced group” was highly appreciated. All local committees and working groups preparing the Assembly comply with LWF’s quota system and have a balance of lay and ordained members.
“An essential goal of the LAPC is to increase and spread awareness about the LWF and its member churches to Polish congregations,” Wrzesińska said. The LAPC has proposed a prayer schedule for member churches of the LWF. Local congregations in Poland are invited to include them in Sunday services. This project will begin in September 2022 and last until the Assembly in September 2023.
“Praising God is a gift,” said Kinga Marjatta Pap, Chairperson of the International Worship Planning Committee (IWPC). She joined the Council session remotely. “Preparing to praise God in a global Lutheran setting is both a gift and a complex and delicate process.”
The IWPC has worked to acknowledge the richness of and give space to the variety of musical, hermeneutical, and liturgical traditions rooted in the colorful expressions of Lutheran identity. It aims to create a balanced and theologically sound worship experience at the Assembly.
LWF Assembly Coordinator Maryssa Camaddo reported on nominations of official delegates to the Assembly. Most member churches have already registered their official delegates. Camaddo appealed to the Council members to implement LWF’s quota system, including 40 percent women, 40 percent men, and 20 percent youth.
By LWF/A. Weyermüller
The LWF Council is the highest authority of the LWF between Assemblies. It consists of the President, the Chairperson of the Finance Committee, and 48 members from LWF member churches in seven regions. The current governing body was elected at the May 2017 Twelfth Assembly in Windhoek, Namibia. The 2022 meeting takes place, 9-14 June, at the Ecumenical Center in Geneva.