Celebration of ecumenical milestone, Thirteenth Assembly, to feature at 2019 LWF Council

5 Jun 2019
LWF Council members in the Ecumenical Center Chapel, during the opening worship service of the 2018 meeting. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

LWF Council members in the Ecumenical Center Chapel, during the opening worship service of the 2018 meeting. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Theme: “Because we know God’s voice”

(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) annual governing body convenes from 13 to 18 June at the Ecumenical Center in Geneva, under the theme “Because we know God’s voice” (John 10:4).

Highlights on the 2019 agenda include an ecumenical celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ). This year’s Council will also discuss and decide the venue and host church of the Thirteenth Assembly of the LWF in 2023, authorize a new structure for the Communion Office (CO), and receive a report by a task force on the CO location.

“Because we know God’s voice” (John 10:4)
Theme of the 2019 LWF Council meeting

There will also be presentations and discussions on the address of the President, reports of the LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge and Chairperson of the Finance Committee Oberkirchenrat Olaf Johannes Mirgeler, which give an overview of the communion’s work and key issues for its member churches.

The 48-member Council comprises representatives of the 148 LWF member churches in the communion’s seven regions. It is chaired by LWF President Archbishop Dr Panti Filibus Musa from the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria.

Worship is an important aspect of Council meetings, starting this year with an opening service in the Ecumenical Center chapel, and daily morning Bible studies and evening prayers. The St Pierre Cathedral in Geneva will be the venue of the special worship service for the anniversary of the JDDJ, the ecumenical agreement which was signed originally by the LWF and the Roman Catholic Church in 1999, and has since been affirmed by the Anglicans, Methodists and the Reformed. Representatives of the five Christian World Communions that have affirmed the JDDJ will jointly lead the liturgy prepared for the service, to which local congregations from the five Christian traditions have been invited, to pray together for unity and common witness.

The agenda also includes the launch of an online tool to help churches assess the connection between their ongoing diaconal work and the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The LWF supports the SDGs’ implementation by churches through the “Waking the Giant” initiative, which was launched last October.

Prior to the Council on 12 June, women and youth delegates will meet to prepare for the governing body. Also meeting on the same day is the Executive Committee, made up of the LWF President, Vice-Presidents and chairpersons of the Council working committees.

This year’s meeting will conclude on 18 June with actions on key agenda issues, including a decision on the venue for the forthcoming meetings.

The Council is the principle authority of the LWF between Assemblies, and the current governing body was constituted at the May 2017 Twelfth Assembly in Windhoek, Namibia. Its members comprise ordained or lay women, men and youth who are proposed by the churches themselves. Perspectives from their respective churches and regions provide valuable input to discussions, actions and decisions of the governing body.

The 2019 LWF Council meeting takes place in Geneva from 13 to 18 June. The theme of the Council is “Because we know God’s voice” (John 10:4). The LWF Council meets yearly and 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.