In Brazil, LWF President Younan Urges Church to Proclaim Equality and Dignity for All

LWF President Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan, with members of the EST Gender Research group in São Leopoldo. Photo: EST/ Adriana Gastellu
LWF President Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan, with members of the EST Gender Research group in São Leopoldo. Photo: EST/ Adriana Gastellu

Bishop Younan Visits Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil

(LWI) - The President of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan has pointed to the “good news” of Latin American liberation theology in urging the Church to remain prophetic in the midst of oppression.

Addressing the 29th General Council of the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil (IECLB), Younan said the voice of liberation theology in Latin America never ceased because the Church believed in the God of justice.

“From Brazil, I call on the Church of God to be prophetic. The power of the Church is never in its prosperity, the numbers of its membership, its bank account or good works. The power of the Church is in transmitting the will of God and the love of Christ to its people and to the world,” he said in his sermon based on Jeremiah 29:7.

“The power of the Church is prophetic when it proclaims equality, dignity and abundant life to all,” said Younan, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL).

The theme of the General Council, 15 -19 October, was “Lives in Communion.” IECLB President Rev. Dr Nestor Friedrich told the 500 delegates that the aim was to ensure unity and common action in the church.

“By confessional and ecclesial unity, I understand the harmony and understanding of the commitment by grace and freedom of all members in the Church’s mission. It is basic to express faith and affirm identity coming from the Scriptures and the confessional writings,” Friedrich said.

Education and Peace Building

In an address on “Faith, Gender Justice, and Peacebuilding in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict” at the Lutheran School of Theology [Faculdades EST] in São Leopoldo, Younan urged faculty and students to counter religiously-sanctioned political extremism.

“The best way to counteract extremism is to persist in proclaiming the core of our faith: God’s love extends to every human being, regardless of gender, ethnic identity, or creed. No matter who you are, you are loved by God and loved by us,” he said.

Palestinians and Israelis inhabit each other’s lives but that does not mean they need to be in conflict. Jews, Christians and Muslims are all part of the fabric of the Middle East and they must not remain silent in the face of oppression.

He noted that the ELCJHL schools have educated girls alongside boys for decades, demonstrating in the daily lives of Muslim and Christian Palestinians that there is no difference between the genders nor limit in any one’s capability.

“We must together build a peaceful coexistence in the land Holy to all of us,” Younan said. He challenged the students to greater commitment in understanding the real causes of the conflict, to pray for Palestinian Christians and to engage in peace building efforts.

In conversations with the EST Gender Research Group, Younan heard that the faculty is in the process of developing its own gender justice policy based on the one by the LWF, which has been well received by the Women and Gender Justice Network of the churches in Latin America.