Meeting in Bratislava Prepares Delegates for Eleventh Assembly

BRATISLAVA, Slovak Republic/GENEVA, 12 March 2010 (LWI) - The Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in the Slovak Republic (ECAC-SR) will host a regional meeting to prepare Lutheran churches in Europe for the July 2010 Eleventh Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). The Assembly will be held in Stuttgart, Germany, under the theme "Give Us Today Our Daily Bread."

Participants in the 13-17 March European region pre-Assembly consultation in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, will include 67 delegates, stewards and advisers from 35 LWF member churches in the region, as well as representatives from national committees, church networks, church-related agencies and LWF staff.

In addition to preparing delegates for the forthcoming LWF assembly, the meeting will also discuss some of the core issues to be deliberated at the Assembly, said Rev. Dr Eva-Sibylle Vogel-Mfato, LWF area secretary for Europe at the Department for Mission and Development (DMD). She pointed out that many of the delegates are newcomers to the LWF network, thus the consultation would constitute a sort of training exercise to prepare for full participation in the Assembly processes.

The Bratistlava consultation will take up such global issues as the environment, social engagement, diakonia and migration, seen from the perspective of the various regions of Europe, Vogel-Mfato explained. These are some of the challenges "with which we in an increasingly united Europe will be more frequently confronted."

Participants will also explore how the European member churches "can live in close fellowship with sister churches throughout the world." Europe, she noted, has a particularly important role to play on a "transcontinental level, for example, in the international diakonia carried out jointly with churches in the global South. Even in Europe we can learn a great deal from the South about how to overcome social ills, as well as in the area of ecumenical dialogue and bearing living witness in the midst of divisions within church and society," said the Europe area secretary.

Vogel-Mfato pointed out that it is particularly important for consultation participants to approach these discussions as a means "of deepening their involvement in the communion and of playing an active role in shaping and nurturing it. The sense of joint responsibility for the LWF as a tightly-knit fellowship must be strengthened, for in this way, we also strengthen ourselves, including beyond the Assembly."

The preparatory consultation provides a new opportunity to "pause and take stock of what has been achieved since the preceding 2003 Assembly in the Canadian city of Winnipeg, and to evaluate and identify new challenges and tasks for the future," Vogel-Mfato went on to say.

LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko will deliver the pre-assembly's opening address on Saturday evening, 13 March, on the topic "Expectations from the European Contribution to the Assembly, and to the Wider Lutheran Communion." The keynote address will be presented by Rev. Kilian Doerr from Sibiu/Hermannstadt, Romania on the topic "The Assembly Theme from the Perspective of Central and Eastern Europe in Transformation" on Sunday afternoon, 14 March. Feedback from the respective sub-regions will follow.

Welcoming the pre-assembly to Bratislava, Bishop Dr Milos Klatik said it was a great honor for the ECAC-SR to host the LWF gathering. "I believe that we all must be aware of our responsibility before God and before humanity. 'Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time' [Col 4:5]. As Christians, these words call upon us to proclaim the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ through our words and through our deeds," he added.

Prior to the preparatory consultation, youth and women’s meetings are also planned.

The LWF has 43 member churches in Europe representing around 37.2 million people. (626 words) The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund, Sweden, the LWF currently has 140 member churches in 79 countries all over the world, representing over 70 million Christians. The LWF acts on behalf of its member churches in areas of common interest such as ecumenical and interfaith relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human rights, communication, and the various aspects of mission and development work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Lutheran World Information  | 12.3.2010

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Grafické spracovanie:Ladislav Menyhart