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A Welcome from the LWF President
Bishop em. Dr Christian Krause

"Affirming our Global Solidarity"

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

The theme which we have chosen for our Tenth Assembly, "For the Healing of the World," is a signal for Christians, pointing to "something more" and pointing beyond ourselves. The concept of "healing" brings out different aspects such as saving the creation, resolving conflicts among nations, between different ethnic groups and between rich and poor, and engaging the challenge of globalization. It brings out images of hope in the midst of suffering, health where there is sickness, service where there is need and reconciliation where there is brokenness. The Assembly gives us the opportunity to affirm a global solidarity which, for us, is firmly rooted in our Christian faith and our Lutheran confession. In so many ways, the theme connects with the work we do together within the Federation.

As President of the LWF, in my visits with the member churches, I have seen how this theme has particular meaning and promise in different contexts. For example, the Malagasy Lutheran Church has integrated the inter-confessional Malagasy "Shepherd" revival movement to establish an identity whose purpose is the healing of society. In Papua New Guinea, meetings with church leaders and the Prime Minister highlighted the great need for reconciliation when the country is faced with instability associated with many conflicts, as well as social and environmental problems. It is clear that the church has a leading role to play in bringing healing to a troubled world. More than ever, this calls for a global solidarity, especially in the face of globalizationís negative forces.

Global solidarity is necessary to face the human tragedy of HIV/AIDS which has grown to horrible proportions in Africa and spreads rapidly in Asia, and which destroys the fabric of families and society itself. In response, the LWF has taken bold steps so that the member churches and LWF programs can work with urgency and strong cooperation to bring hope and healing. In another critical area, our communion of churches has stated unequivocally that churches say "No" to violence against women. We are working strongly to make this commitment a living reality in all settings where the LWF has a presence. In the setting of the Assembly, we will review our work together and make decisions for the future.

An Assembly is also the occasion to hear one another as Lutherans from different regions of the world, expressing opinions in the context of our different cultures and understanding of the Lutheran Confession. Reconciling this diversity and integrating the various streams of Lutherans is a major task for the LWF, at the same time as we are seeking to strengthen ecumenical togetherness and openness. Within the communion, we are able to respect our own identity and roots while recognizing we are part of a whole and not a whole unto ourselves.

With such a rich history, and a provocative theme, it is my hope and prayer that the voices of Assembly delegates and participants will speak with boldness and compassion when we gather in Winnipeg. If we speak now about pointing beyond ourselves, then it reflects the grace of God which has been given to us in Jesus Christ, whose spirit and love are indeed "for the healing of the world."

Bishop em. Dr Christian Krause
The Lutheran World Federation

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