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PRESS RELEASE NO.
LWF Tenth Assembly
Days Open with Bible Study
Come to Life in a Variety of Dramatic Presentations
WINNIPEG, Canada, 27 July
2003 - Before the
day’s business begins, the theme is sounded in Bible studies at
the Tenth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).
Each of the seven LWF
regions plus the youth delegates has responsibility for the eight
daily Bible study segments spelled out in the Assembly "Study
Book" that parses the meeting’s theme, "For the Healing
of the World."
The first bible study took
the day’s theme, "Oh God, the Healer, Liberator, Savior of
the World," based on Isaiah 42:1 – 12, and was presented
by the delegates from the Asia region. Led first in prayer by Bishop
Munib A. Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan, the
Asian delegates sang and included Assembly participants in a dance,
Wednesday, July 23.
On Thursday, July 24, participants
from the Central Western Europe region enacted in silence the story
of Jesus and the woman "who was a sinner" (Luke 7:36-50),
under the day’s theme "Forgive and Heal." The
dramatic pantomime depicted the meeting between Jesus and the woman
who washed Jesus’ feet with ointment and her own tears.
forgiveness and acceptance of the woman, in all of its intimacy and
openness, works its miracle. The woman, forgiven and healed, moves
from her position of subjection and lowliness at Jesus’ feet to
her full height, and begins to dance. Her dancing infects Jesus and
eventually the other guests at the table who had been so eager to
exclude her. Soon they all join in the dance.
The actors eventually
fanned out onto the Assembly floor where they included everyone in
the dance in celebration of life, forgiven and healed in Christ.
Youth delegates used the
story of Ruth (Ruth 4:13 – 17) as a metaphor for the theme for
Friday, July 25,
"Reorder Power." In a breathtakingly relevant
dramatization, they portrayed the exclusion that Ruth might have
felt by holding up a sign that read "VISA," in reference
to the 51 individuals who have been denied visas by the Canadian
government. They also portrayed other groups whom society and the
church often reject, those with HIV/AIDS, the poor, the disabled,
gay and lesbian persons, and others who experience the pain of
exclusion. They concluded with the message of "God’s radical
inclusion" that embraces the whole world.
was the Bible study theme for Saturday, July 26, taken from Paul’s letter
to the Ephesians 2:13 - 22 and presented by the churches of Central
Eastern Europe. In a moving portrayal of humanity’s deep
divisions, they used the metaphor of their own past divisions before
the collapse of communist rule. A video showed eastern European
churches, pockmarked by weapons’ fire and abandoned. Stacking up
cardboard boxes to represent a walls of division so familiar to
citizens of the region, the members read out a list of opposites, of
divisions: east-west, rich-poor, victim-perpetrator, Lutheran-non.
The message of reconciliation from Ephesians was read and
interpreted as the "new law of love" that removes
barriers. Then, in contrast to the opening video footage showing
churches in a state of decay, ran a video of Christians in eastern
Europe receiving communion in churches that are full. In a dramatic
conclusion, the delegates from the Central Eastern European churches
reassembled their cardboard boxes, this time building the now
familiar Assembly graphic portrayal of the theme, "For the
Healing of the World."
Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is taking place
21-31 July 2003 in Winnipeg, Canada, under the theme "For the
Healing of the World." It is being hosted by the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).
There are around 820 men, women and youth participants in the Tenth
Assembly including 380 delegates from the
133 churches with full membership and three associate members. The Assembly is the highest
decision-making body of the LWF, and meets normally every six years.
Between Assemblies, the LWF is governed by its Council that meets
annually, and by its Executive Committee.
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