LWF partners and leadership meet in Geneva
(LWI) - “We are stronger when we address global challenges together.” That was the sentiment when LWF leadership met with some of its key partner agencies earlier this month. There was a strong affirmation of partnership in addressing global and local challenges.
"The purpose of this meeting is to bring our longstanding partners together as we are heading towards the 13th LWF Assembly and the development of the next LWF Strategy. Together with them, we want to analyze current trends in the global context and discuss common priorities for the years to come," said Julia Brümmer, LWF PMER coordinator.
“As the LWF works on its upcoming strategy, we want to make sure we have good discussions with our partners with a particular focus on where we see strategic alignment that can strengthen our collaboration,” added Szabolcs Lörincz, director of planning and coordination for the LWF.
Peace and conflict resolution
In opening remarks, LWF General Secretary Rev Dr. Anne Burghardt, spoke of the global and local contexts as well as trends observed by the LWF and its member churches. These include the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic, growth and decline in churches in different regions, the effects of climate change on local communities and whole regions, and the role of churches as peace builders, working for reconciliation.
"There is a call for further reflection on peace, looking specifically into theological and ethical implications. Many churches are looking for how the LWF could support them with methodologies and materials relating to conflict resolution. These requests come particularly from churches that serve in societies which are strongly polarized," said the general secretary.
Keynote speaker Ignacio Packer, Executive Director of Initiatives for Change, encouraged LWF and its partners to collaborate to maximize impact, and to think long-term, for the sake of a sustainable future for all generations. Packer encouraged LWF and partners to support youth movements for climate change, to collaborate with other organizations to maximize impact, and to think long-term.
Lively discussions followed, where partners related agencies discussed challenges they see in national contexts and identified possibilities for further collaboration. If aid is used as a geopolitical buffer, how can that self-interest be turned into a way to improve people’s lives? Participants also raised the question of how churches can counter-balance nationalistic, self-focused tendencies that are emerging among politicians in many countries around the world.
Tomi Järvinen, Executive Director of FinnChurch Aid, named the overwhelming solidarity in response to the war in Ukraine as example. “The goodness of people is there”, he said. “How do we take it out and make it visible?”