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PRESS RELEASE NO.
LWF Tenth Assembly
Concludes in Festive Closing Worship
Council Members Presented
2 August 2003 -
Participants in the Tenth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation
(LWF) celebrated the end of the meeting in a Closing Eucharist July
31 at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church here.
During the July 21-31 meeting of the highest decision-making body of
the LWF, the 380 delegates attending the Assembly together with
other participants discussed issues of common concern in church and
society under the theme “For the Healing of the World.” The main
highlights are contained in the Assembly Message in which the global
LWF communion acknowledged the need for healing in a world in which
devastation, suffering, violence and exclusion of the “other” are
One of the Assembly highlights was the July 26 election of a new LWF
President, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Presiding Bishop
Mark S. Hanson, who succeeds Bishop emeritus Dr Christian Krause,
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brunswick, Germany.
During the closing worship service Hanson and the 48 other
newly-elected Council members drawn from the different LWF regions
were installed. They included 10 representatives each from Africa
and Asia; eight from Central Western Europe; six from the Nordic
Countries; five each from Central Eastern Europe and North America
and four from the Latin American and Caribbean region. But, not all
the new members of the LWF annual governing body were present as
some were among the 50 Assembly participants who were denied visas
to enter Canada.
In his sermon based on Revelation 21: 1-6, Rev. Tore Johnsen, Church
of Norway, focused on the experiences of northern Europe’s
indigenous Sami people. “I want to share with you some of our
yearnings that reflect not only our wounds and pains but also our
experiences of wholeness and healing.” For Indigenous Peoples, the
picture of a city is still an ambiguous symbol. Often for them, a
city means a hostile environment, oppression, alienation from family
ties, from the native language and culture, and the destruction of
the spiritual relation with creation.
It is very difficult for Indigenous Peoples to visualize a city as a
symbol of healing. For Johnsen, the last two chapters of Revelation
offer other images for identification. The river of living waters,
the tree of life and the holy mountain of Zion – are portrayed as
For Johnsen, the new Jerusalem should not only be seen as merely a
city but as a symbol of a new reconciled and healed humanity. “This
city shall not be a city of destruction. It will be God’s city, a
city of healing for the creation; a city whose name Jerusalem will
be reconciled as a city of peace and healing wholeness.” This
healing is brought to the world through Jesus Christ. “By receiving
the broken body of Christ, we may be healed,” said Johnsen.
The closing worship included prayers and songs in different
languages from all over the world. The Lord’s Prayer, like during
other worship services at the Assembly, was said in as many
languages as were spoken by the participants there. Johnsen chanted
the dismissal in the Sami language.
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.
To order photographs, please contact
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