Lutherans discuss ecumenical commemoration of the Reformation
LWF Wittenberg Pilgrimage started today
(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Wittenberg Pilgrimage was flagged off today with a brief prayer in the St Nicolai Church in Coswig, Germany, ahead of the annual LWF Council meeting.
Joachim Liebig, President of the Evangelical Church of Anhalt, and Doris Berlin Mayor of Coswig welcomed the pilgrims at the St Nicolai Church. Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Hubert Berenbrinker greeted the participants and LWF President Bishop Dr Munib Younan, and Joachim Liebig inaugurated he event with a blessing for the pilgrims.
More than 200 pilgrims from over 35 countries left the church on foot, walking towards Wittenberg along the Lutherweg pilgrimage way. Participants include LWF Council members attending their annual meeting in Wittenberg. They were joined by by local and international guests, including the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) and the general secretaries of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and The group also includes representatives of the German Bishops Conference, clergy from Germany, participants of the partnership meeting of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saxony, as well as local guests..
The pilgrims will discuss the themes of the 2017 Reformation anniversary, Liberated by God’s Grace and the three sub themes “Human beings – not for sale”, “Creation – not for sale” and “Salvation – not for sale”.
The first section of the pilgrimage took the pilgrims from Coswig to the district of Apollensdorf, which included a thematic station looking into the theme, Human beings – not for sale. The stop prepared by LWF World Service offered pilgrims a chance to get to know the experience, needs and challenges of refugees and displaced people.
The second pilgrim station, also in Apollensdorf, focused on Creation – not for sale, and was prepared by Bread for the World. The pilgrims examined their ecological footprint by answering a few questions on how their consumption patterns reflect what constitutes a sustainable lifestyle.
The Luther Garden in Wittenberg was the destination of the pilgrimage in the afternoon. Pilgrims examined the third theme, Salvation – not for sale, by dealing with questions related to the so-called prosperity gospel. In many developing countries, LWF member churches encounter this theological tradition which has an emphasis on merit and deeds rather than the grace of God. The station was designed jointly by the Evangelical Lutheran Mission in Lower Saxony and the Leipzig mission work.
The LWF German National Committee organized the Wittenberg Pilgrimage prior to the Council business session. It will continue with a discussion on 15 June that will have three working groups discussing the “not for sale” themes in the context of ecumenical relations. Participants will include PCPCU President Kurt Cardinal Koch, in a discussion on salvation; - WCC’s Rev. Dr Olav Fykse-Tveit, who will offer perspectives on creation and WCRC’s Chris Ferguson will talk about human beings - not for sale.
Meeting in the historic German town of Lutherstad Wittenberg, the 49 members of the LWF Council from member churches around the world are holding their annual governance meeting. The Council oversees the work of the LWF between Assemblies. This year’s meeting theme is Grounded in God’s love - discerning God’s future. It is the last of the present Council before the LWF Assembly next year, at which a new Council will be formed.