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PRESS RELEASE NO. 25
‘Sister’ Lutheran Bodies Call
for Continued Dialogue to Overcome Differences
A Commitment to Work
WINNIPEG, Canada, 28 July
2003 – Messages
to the LWF Tenth Assembly from "sister" Lutheran churches
and organizations called for continued dialogue to remove
differences and to work together in their response to human
The Executive Secretary of
the International Lutheran Council (ILC), Rev. Dr Samuel H.
Nafzger, said the LWF and ILC had "much in common,"
including the name and their Lutheran confessions. But there were
differences in their "understanding of the authority of
Scripture." For these reasons, he said, it is "critical to
keep the lines of communication open and make every effort to
resolve those issues which impede the accomplishment of the work
Christ has given to bring healing to the broken world."
A first meeting between
representatives of the LWF and ILC took place 30 July-1 August 2002
in Geneva. The
next talks will be held in Helsinki, Finland, in November 2003.
A message from the Lutheran
Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) expressed regret that divisions and
schisms "continue to impede our witness to this Gospel message
we are committed to bring to the world." LCMS President Rev. Dr
Gerald B. Kieschnick pledged his church’s commitment "to work
together with our brothers and sisters in Christ to resolve these
He said God calls the
Church to respond to the varied and widespread needs for healing,
"ranging from illness and disease to human suffering and
violence to hunger and poverty." Through the common
organization, the Lutheran World Relief, he hoped God will
"cause us to see the pain and fear in the eyes of those whom we
serve." There is no better healing than "that the lives of
many are transformed through Christ’s love," he added.
The Rev. Ralph Mayan President of the Lutheran
Church - Canada, stressed the need for open communication between
member churches. "It is important for us as it is for you to
keep the lines of communication open, to be able to discuss those
issues that separate us, and seek to find resolutions to anything
that impedes the free course of the proclamation of the Gospel in
our world," he said.
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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