A more just world includes care for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers

Affirming global solidarity with asylum seekers, migrants and the poor, from left: Bishop Gerhard Ulrich, United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany (VELKD); LWF President Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan; Nordkirche’s Synodpräses Dr Andreas Tietze; and Tanzania’s Presiding Bishop Dr Alex G. Malasusa, LWF Vice-President for Africa. Photo: Nordkirche/Eberhard von der Heyde
Affirming global solidarity with asylum seekers, migrants and the poor, from left: Bishop Gerhard Ulrich, United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany (VELKD); LWF President Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan; Nordkirche’s Synodpräses Dr Andreas Tietze; and Tanzania’s Presiding Bishop Dr Alex G. Malasusa, LWF Vice-President for Africa. Photo: Nordkirche/Eberhard von der Heyde

German and global partner churches affirm “the way of justice”

(LWI) – Solidarity with people who have been displaced and marginalized by conflict and poverty is part of the church’s calling to create a more just world, participants at a global consultation in Germany said.

“We are called to stand alongside those who are vulnerable, to foster in our communities a culture of welcome, and to encourage political solutions and systems, which enable people to live life in dignity, peace, and harmony,” delegates attending the 12-20 September consultation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany (Nordkirche) and its global partner churches stated in a communiqué.

“Walking together the way of justice” was the theme of the gathering of 60 representatives from 32 churches that are in partnership with Nordkirche, a member church of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF). Their reflections focused on a fresh articulation of the biblical vision of justice and the Christian calling to promote reconciliation and healing in order to transform unjust situations and structures in society.

The consultation included exposure visits to witness the challenges that churches across northern Germany face, as well as the sharing of experiences from the different continents. “Meeting refugees and listening to the stories and experiences of asylum seekers has been a heartbreaking experience for us,” the participants said.

The communiqué gathered the experiences and concerns “that we have shared in the last ten days. Now each church has to find ways of putting the proposals into practice,” remarked Dr Klaus Schäfer, director of Nordkirche’s Center for Global Ministries and Ecumenical Relations.

Global solidarity and responsibility

“We all share responsibility in this matter. Every church can contribute something to the solution in its own context. It is not a question of money,” said Bishop Zacharia W. Kahuthu of the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church (KELC).

Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, who is also LWF President, emphasized that “The main reason for poverty is economic injustice.”

Rev. Luke Mwololo, KELC general secretary, noted that “poverty has different dimensions in every society” and “we must fight it as a church.”

“We affirm that the notion of justice embedded in the scriptures seeks the wellbeing of all, and particularly for those regarded as the most vulnerable—the widow, the orphan, the stranger, the captive,” the communiqué stated.

Commitment to climate justice

Delegates also addressed churches’ commitment to human rights and climate justice, including the disproportionate impact of climate change on the poor, developing countries and future generations. “We affirm responsibility of people living in western industrialized countries for unsustainable patterns of consumption, production and lifestyle and the need of a radical transformation,” they said.

A similar consultation was last organized in 2005 by the then North Elbian Evangelical Lutheran Church, which merged in 2012 with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mecklenburg and the Pomeranian Evangelical Church to form Nordkirche.

(Adapted from a press release of the North Elbian Evangelical Lutheran Church)

Read the statement