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LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge said the Asia Pre-Assembly is an opportunity for church representatives to meet, share their work and exchange ideas. Photo: LWF/A. Danielsson
LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge said the Asia Pre-Assembly is an opportunity for church representatives to meet, share their work and exchange ideas. Photo: LWF/A. Danielsson

LWF General Secretary Junge shares a vision for the LWF at Asia Pre-Assembly

(LWI) - Addressing The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Asia Pre-Assembly, General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge gave an introduction to the history and identity of the LWF before presenting the main topics with which the organization is working today and its vision as a communion of churches.

Founded to alleviate suffering and work together

He told the Pre-Assembly delegates meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, how the LWF was founded in 1947 to bring the churches together to alleviate suffering and serve displaced people. "The LWF was founded in response to a call of faith to address the suffering of people."

He added that in the wake of the Second World War the "Lutheran churches wanted to be more than a church in a single country, but come together in order to jointly witness to the transforming love of God. The first call of the LWF was to jointly serve people."

Junge reminded the participants of the four foundational commitments of LWF’s work:

Diakonia – alleviating suffering and pain among people. Today the LWF is serving 2.3 million refugees.

Standing together in God’s mission - overall there is growing membership in the LWF churches.

Engaging in theology - substantial work is currently being done on biblical hermeneutics, self-understanding of the communion and theology in the public space.

Ecumenical dialogues - dialogues with other Christian World Communions recently led to important achievements, including the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, the Mennonite Action and the upcoming Joint Ecumenical Commemoration of the Reformation, based on the report From Conflict to Communion.

Relationships in the LWF are deep and mature enough to take this next step.
Rev. Dr Martin Junge, LWF General Secretary

Junge also recalled the story of how the LWF underwent a transformation from a federation to a communion of churches, underlining how as a communion it is able to grow in a dynamic and vibrant way. Today the LWF consists of 145 churches from 98 countries that witness to the liberating grace of God. Communion as a gift of God calls LWF member churches to ongoing stewardship, cultivating and deepening relationships towards greater mutuality and being in solidarity with one another.

A joyous exchange

He also quoted the late Tanzanian Bishop Josiah Kibira, LWF President from 1977-1984, who laid out a vision for the LWF when he said, “There is no church, so big and so rich, that it wouldn’t depend on the gifts of others; there is no church so small and so poor it wouldn’t be able to enrich others."

The general secretary aid Kibira’s words were still relevant. "He had a vision which is still pertinent for us. We move in that direction, knowing of existing asymmetries, histories that still hinder. Relationships in the LWF are deep and mature enough to take this next step. This is the vision we have for the LWF.”

The Asia Pre-Assembly provides an opportunity for representatives of churches in the region to meet, share their work and exchange ideas for furthering their work as LWF member churches and deepening the communion relationships in anticipation of the Twelfth Assembly next year. Asian member churches will offer their perspectives on the Assembly theme “Liberated by God’s Grace” and sub-themes and provide input into the ongoing study process on the self-understanding of the LWF.

 

The Twelfth Assembly will be held in Windhoek, Namibia, 10-16 May 2017. Around 800 participants are expected at the event that will include a commemoration of the 500 years of the Reformation. The Assembly is LWF’s highest-decision making body, convening delegates from all the member churches every six to seven years. The Eleventh Assembly was held in July 2010 in Württemberg, Germany. Prior to the Assembly four regional Pre-Assemblies will be held in Bangkok, Thailand; Paramaribo, Suriname; Malmö, Sweden; and in Johannesburg, South Africa.

 

 

Assembly website

Asia Pre-Assembly photos

Asia Pre-Assembly information

LWF News

1 September 2016
PARAMARIBO, Suriname/GENEVA
19 August 2016
BANGKOK, Thailand/GENEVA
16 August 2016
BANGKOK, Thailand/GENEVA