The LWF Pays Scheduled Accompaniment Visit to the ELCA

Council 2013 evening prayer © LWF/M. Haas
Council 2013 evening prayer © LWF/M. Haas

Unity in Christ Is a “Precious Gift”

(LWI) – On 28 February 2014, The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) General Secretary Rev. Martin Junge accompanied by Bishop Cindy Halmarson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and Bishop Dr Ndanganeni Petrus Phaswana, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa, met with the Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

The visit with the ELCA is the first in a series of three following a decision by the LWF Council in June 2013. The Council asked the LWF Communion Office to offer an accompaniment process to the three LWF member churches who are affected by a rupture of relations over the issues of family, marriage and sexuality.  

“Our unity in Christ is a precious gift. It is precisely this gift of unity that makes it possible for members of the communion to have deep and even difficult conversations,” said ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton after the meeting. “The ELCA Conference of Bishops holds the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, the Church of Sweden and the Lutheran World Federation Communion Office in prayer during this accompaniment process.”

“As a global communion of churches we believe it is healthy and normal to respectfully engage with each other in discussing complex issues,” said Rev. Junge. “In the LWF we are grateful for being able to uphold the values of being a communion in a time characterized by fragmentation, withdrawal and communication breakdown. The accompaniment visits are an expression of these values in the LWF.”

Accompaniment visits have been scheduled with the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus and the Church of Sweden in the course of the coming months. The LWF Communion Office will offer an account of the accompaniment process to the LWF Council in June this year.