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Day 6 - Saturday
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson,
presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA),
was elected president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), on Saturday, July 26. He was elected on the first round of a
secret-ballot vote, receiving a majority of 267 votes to 111 votes
the other candidate, the Rev. Susan C. Johnson,
vice-president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).
Out of a total of 379 registered delegates at the Assembly, 378 cast
Upon his election, Hanson
accepted the office "with a great spirit of humility." …
The task for me," he declared, "is to listen, to lead by
learning and accompanying you." He encouraged the
representatives of LWF member churches to "challenge,
encourage, correct me . . . I lead not apart but with you." He
concluded that he hopes he never forgets his 22 years as a parish
pastor where the centerpiece of ministry is Word and Sacrament, and
so it should continue to be for the LWF communion.
Also on Saturday, the
forty-eight nominees representing the seven LWF regions were elected
to the Council which is responsible for the business of the Federation between
Assemblies. The Council elects and directs the work of the general secretary, decides the structure of the LWF secretariat, sets the
budget of the Federation and presents an
annual report to the member churches.
here for complete story.
The LWF has called upon the United Nations
to send a stabilization force to Liberia to prevent government
forces and rebels from attacking each other, and to protect civilians.
Assembly resolution, the LWF "urges the United Nations Security Council to
immediately mandate the deployment of a multilateral stabilization
force to separate the warring sides, to protect civilians, and to
disarm and demobilize all fighting forces".
resolution came after a heart-rending briefing on the current
situation in Liberia by Bishop Sumoward
Harris and Comfort Freeman, delegates of the Lutheran Church in Liberia.
> Click here for complete story.
Divisions” was the theme of Saturday’s Bible study taken from St
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 2:13 - 22 and presented by the
churches of the Central and Eastern European Region of the LWF. 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
Then, stacking up cardboard boxes to represent walls of
division—so familiar to citizens of the region—the members read out
a list of opposites which represent current divisions: east and
west, rich and poor, victim and perpetrator, Lutheran and non-Lutheran. 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, a video was shown of Christians in
Eastern Europe receiving communion in churches that are full. In a
dramatic conclusion, the delegates from the Central and Eastern European
churches reassembled their cardboard boxes, this time showing the
now familiar Assembly logo which graphically portrays the theme, “For the
Healing of the World.”
Under the theme “For the Healing of the Earth,” an Aboriginal
healing liturgy took place on Saturday evening at Holy Trinity Anglican
Church. Sweet grass, sage,
cedar and tobacco were burnt for the traditional cleansing ceremony.
The liturgy accommodated both traditional and modern elements.
People meeting people. The richness of
the experience of the
Tenth Assembly is heightened through the relationships that develop
during these ten days. Delegates, representatives, observers, ecumenical guests—there are many different categories of
participants. Some speak; some vote; some do both. Advisors, guests,
and staff offer advice and support. Interpreters and journalists
provide invaluable service. During
plenary sessions, through worship, and more informally during breaks,
the 820 participants share ideas and form friendships. Communion is
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