Two agendas

The eleventh Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation ended in Stuttgart with a worship service and a final declaration. In addition to a commitment to table prayer and a demand for the inclusion of the topic of gender justice in theology studies, the meeting also dealt with political ies.

Lutherans want to get more involved in the fight against climate change, hunger and AIDS. But at the meeting of delegates from around 70 million Christians worldwide, there were two agendas. For in the background were other ies: On the one hand, the ie of women's ordination, with which some of the now 145 LWF member churches have their problems, but above all the ie of homosexuals. While there are already professing gay and lesbian bishops in Scandinavia and the U.S., for example, and a church blessing for same-sex couples is also not an ie, the Lutheran Church in the Baltic States and Africa are still far from such liberalizations. But those problems have been almost entirely glossed over, according to observers in Stuttgart. One reason this succeeded was that member churches had agreed in 2007 to reflect on these ies by 2012. A game for time with an uncertain outcome. For it is not to be expected that these processes of reflection will lead to a change in thinking. Rather, experts believe that both sides are making their respective points of view into a kind of creed, which is likely to make a solution even more difficult. Some see it as a success that the differences did not lead to open conflicts among the delegates. It will now be the task of Munib Junan (59) to prevent a split in the LWF similar to that in the Anglican Church. On Saturday, the bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan was elected as the new LWF president. The Palestinian succeeds the US-American Mark Hanson, who had held the primarily representative office since 2003. Junan is considered theologically conservative, he seems mediative and ecumenically interested, but with regard to the Middle East conflict, the LWF may not have done itself any favors with the election.

Historic admission of guilt Without ifs and buts, the chief shepherd of about 2.The LWF and its member churches in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahur, Ramallah and Amman are campaigning for a two-state solution in the Holy Land. Repeatedly criticized the policy of the Israeli government. On the other hand, he acknowledges the Holocaust as an event that traumatized the Jewish people. Surprisingly, Junan did not appear at the final press conference at noon Tuesday, leaving Hanson to take stock alone. He spoke of a "prayerful assembly" in which every day an ever deeper sense of unity could be experienced. The spirit and commitment of the LWF have been renewed. Ecumenically, the Lutherans' confession of guilt for their historical crimes against the Mennonites was the focus of the meeting. Lutherans expressed "deep regret" over persecution of Anabaptist movement in 16. Century. Mennonite World Conference President Danisa Ndlovu publicly accepted the request for forgiveness. Lutherans won't have 500 years to sort out their current problems.

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Christina Cherry
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