Informing the Assembly message and helping set priorities for LWF’s work
(LWI) - Four Regional Pre-Assemblies have been integral to the preparation of the member churches of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) for the upcoming Thirteenth Assembly in Krakow, Poland. Meeting in their regional contexts, participants at each pre-assembly formulated a message. These will be presented at the Assembly and will inform the Assembly message and help set priorities for LWF’s work in the coming years.
All four messages stress the need for theological training and formation for women, men and youth and call for continued efforts regarding the strengthening of gender justice and youth leadership. Other cross-cutting issues are responding to the climate crisis, advocating for peace and reconciliation, and standing up against fundamentalism in various forms.
In addition, the regions raise specific concerns highlighted during the Pre-Assemblies.
The three European regions (Central and Eastern Europe, Central and Western Europe, and Nordic region) identify searching for “credible and transformative hope” amid the war against Ukraine as key topics. In the context of declining church membership across the region, the delegates acknowledged their enormous challenges in remaining relevant, hopeful and responsive to people’s spiritual needs.
The message of the Pre-Assembly of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and North America highlighted how churches in the two regions are called to respond holistically to a variety of contextual challenges, including polarization, governmental corruption, false information in media and on social networks, and “the structural discrimination suffered by vulnerable groups, which we refer to as the cries of a people crying out for justice.”
The African member churches called on each other to “focus on what unites us, not what divides us” and committed themselves to cooperate with governments, ecumenical partners, civil society organizations and the global Lutheran communion to promote peace and reconciliation. In the message, they also urged the member churches to “work together for conflict resolution, peace, and reconciliation, to stand with churches exposed to violence and terrorism or internal challenges, always addressing the root causes of conflict and violence.”
The Asia Pre-Assembly highlighted the church’s role in the public space and freedom of religion in multi-ethnic and multi-religious contexts. With a “strong spirit of fellowship, commitment to diakonia and peace, our hearts come together for the future of our local and global communion.” The Asian church leaders express grave concern at the “different degrees of oppression” faced by many churches in the Asia region, including policies that “prevent us from living our faith freely and violate human rights,” the message states.