The Assembly "Message" to member churches

Started by Charles_Austin, July 27, 2010, 12:09:52 PM

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"Give us today our daily bread:" Words to God,
Now Words from Lutherans to each other

When Christians pray "give us today our daily bread," the words are obviously addressed to God. But Lutherans attending the Eleventh Assembly of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) here turned those words towards themselves in a message to the 145 churches around the world that are members of the Lutheran communion.
      "True humanity" is found in receiving and giving, said the Assembly message approved in Stuttgart. While the whole of creation is a gift from God, neighbors depend upon the gifts they give each other. The message reminded Christians that they should give thanks to God, give the Gospel message to others, give their knowledge and material goods to those in need, and give a world where they "may enjoy the fruits of creation and lead wholesome lives."
     Lutherans are part of a world-wide community with other Christians and people of other faiths or people who have no faith, said the section of the message focusing on the word, "us." While religious and social differences can fracture the community, the message urged Lutherans seek the "reconciliation that is possible in Christ," citing the Assembly's repentance for past injustices committed by Lutherans against Mennonites as an example. The statement urged continuing dialogue with Mennonites, Protestants who were once denounced by Lutherans.
     Acknowledging the world-wide community means seeking "gender justice" for men and women, opposing commercialization of the human body and trafficking in human beings and acknowledging the needs and rights of children and those with disabilities, the message said. Churches should give more visibility to women pastors and women in lay leadership, and commit themselves to seeking equal rights for women in society. Welfare of children should also be a "priority for future theology and action," the message said. "When we put the rights needs and welfare of children at the centre," the message said, "we have a future much brighter than we can imagine."
     The issues of "today" – the next word in the petition from the Lord's prayer -  include concern for the world's food supply, global climate change, the plight of indigenous people, and the effects of HIV/AIDS, the LWF message said. Lutherans should also welcome into their countries migrants who left their countries for "political, economic or climate reasons," the statement said. 
     Several resolutions on those issues had been approved earlier by delegates to the assembly.
     "Daily" concern for the environment, sustainable development, "illegitimate debts, incurred by unscrupulous lenders and borrowers" and greed should impel Christians to work for ethical economic policies and ecologically responsible activities, the message said. It called upon the LWF and its member churches advocate the cancellation of "illegitimate debts" burdening some countries in the world, promote development that is "sustainable" and to raise awareness of environmental issues. Today, the Lutheran message said, "We anticipate a time when we no longer need to speak about such issues each day."
     The "bread" sought in the petition of the Lord's prayer is "everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body," the message said, quoting from the Small Catechism of Martin Luther. This includes such things as shoes, health, devout children, good government, a good reputation and good friends, Luther's catechism declares. Lutherans provide "bread" for the world, therefore, by preaching the Gospel, providing education and social development and advocating for the needs of others, the message continued.
     In today's complex world, this means working together across the entire human community, the statement said. The message encouraged Lutherans to steep themselves in their own faith. "Being well-grounded in our faith tradition enables us to be open, receptive and hospitable to others," the message said.
     The LWF Eleventh Assembly closed with a festival celebration of Holy Communion in Stuttgart's Stiftskirche.


The APC report provided recommendations to the LWF Council members regarding a modification of the allocation process used at the 2003 LWF Assembly in Winnipeg, Canada. Committee member Ms Abigail Zang noted that there were two primary reasons why the committee recommended the change. First, due to "financial reasons," and, secondly, in order to "help to readdress gender and youth balances."

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