Joyful worship as Lutherans in Asia begin LWF Pre-Assembly

In his semon, LWF President Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan told delegates they must increase the world’s awareness about contemporary forms of economic slavery. Photo: LWF/A. Daníelsson
In his semon, LWF President Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan told delegates they must increase the world’s awareness about contemporary forms of economic slavery. Photo: LWF/A. Daníelsson

Thai culture introduced through song and dance

(LWI) - Song, dance, story telling and prayers at a festive inaugural worship service launched The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Pre-Assembly in Asia on 15 August.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thailand (ELCT) is hosting delegates from the 54 LWF member churches and other participants meeting at the Camillian Pastoral Center in Thailand's capital to prepare for the Assembly next year.

Called to increase public awareness

In his sermon, LWF President Bishop Dr Munib A.  Younan elaborated the Twelfth Assembly theme "Liberated by God's Grace," and the three sub-themes articulating why salvation, human beings and creating being are "not for sale. "  He said they were relevant and connected each to the context and reality of the people and churches in Asia.

"It is a sad fact that humans are still considered to be commodities, whose only value is measured in terms of profit. Child labor, child marriage, and child soldiers are found in many places. Human trafficking and slavery still run many economies," Younan said, focusing on the sub-theme 'human beings not-for-sale.'

He said churches in Asia must not keep quiet about such violations, but must instead increase the world’s awareness about contemporary forms of economic slavery.

ELCT Bishop Banjob Kusawadee led the service assisted by Bishop Terry Kee, Lutheran Church in Singapore,  and Rev. Selma Chen, Lutheran Church of Taiwan.

Thai culture through song and dance

In a beautiful welcome ceremony that followed, the Pre-Assembly delegates were introduced to Thai culture through song and dance which ended with Pre-Assembly delegates joining in a traditional dance. The ceremony showed a variety of dance traditions from different regions of Thailand.

"The dancers and musicians came from the Luther seminary in Thailand, they come from different regions of Thailand, and are preparing for ministry in the ELCT. They were happy to share their talents and we are glad they got a chance to get to know the LWF," said Rev. Chanda Saiyotha, a pastor in an inner-city congregation in Bangkok.

Introducing the life and ministry of the ELCT,  Kusawadee said it is a growing church that is active in many regions of the country. Lutheran mission work began in Thailand in 1975, and the ELCT was established as an independent church body in 1994, the same year it joined the LWF. 

It has 5,000 baptized members across its 26 congregations and five preaching centers in Bangkok and several provinces in the north and north eastern parts of the country. 

 

The Twelfth Assembly will be held in Windhoek, Namibia, 10-16 May 2017. Around 800 participants are expected at the event that will include a commemoration of the 500 years of the Reformation. The Assembly is LWF’s highest-decision making body, convening delegates from all the member churches every six to seven years. The Eleventh Assembly was held in July 2010 in Württemberg, Germany. Prior to the Assembly four regional Pre-Assemblies will be held in Bangkok, Thailand; Paramaribo, Suriname; Malmö, Sweden; and in Johannesburg, South Africa.



Asia Pre-Assembly photos

Assembly website

Bishop Younan's sermon



LWF News

1 September 2016
PARAMARIBO, Suriname/GENEVA
19 August 2016
BANGKOK, Thailand/GENEVA
15 August 2016
BANGKOK, Thailand/GENEVA