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Lutheran World Federation Tenth Assembly

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July 21 - 31, 2003
Winnipeg Manitoba Canada

Home » In Convention » LWF 2003 » Village Voices » Removing Barriers Send to a friend     print

Removing Barriers that Exclude

1. As you listened to the story on the discussion sheet, what did you think might be excluding the speaker from others?

Rules made by humans

Sexual Orientation and Alternative Lifestyles

  • gender issues
  • homosexuality
  • street person
  • prostitute

Physically/Mentally Challenged

  • mobility
  • hearing/visually impaired

Bodily Features

  • allergies
  • accent
  • colour/race
  • clothes
  • overweight
  • speech impediment

Self Perceptions

  • intelligence
  • fear
  • shame
  • low self esteem
  • inner guilt of sin
  • shy
  • prejudice


  • HEP C


  • lonely
  • non-Christian
  • too old
  • too young

2. What barriers are excluding certain people from your church or community?

Sexual orientation



  • homelessness


Attitudinal Differences

  • differences of view/opinion
  • judgement
  • low self-esteem
  • inability to forgive
  • pride
  • belief or prejudice
  • too many people do not wish to associate with people who are different


  • perfume


  • transportation
  • time of day
  • new in community
  • wheelchair access
  • dress expectations
  • people don't feel welcomed and accepted
  • parents with noisy children
  • fashionable congregation/ middle class
  • exclusive groups (ELW, men's groups)
  • physical structure of the church — accessible or not


  • liturgy
  • pile of different books
  • musical preferences
  • not enough Bible teaching
  • don't sing too many African hymns
  • worship practice that is different/tradition
  • not knowing the Power of the Lord


  • language
  • not feeling wanted
  • disinterest
  • work/career
  • difference in wants/needs
  • lack of communication
  • physical/mental disability/limitations
  • fear of cost in money and time

3. How could you, using the power and example of Christ, to break down those barriers?


  • conversation/communication/newsletters
  • education to reduce prejudices
  • speak out


  • pray for guidance


  • friendly welcome
  • sharing the peace
  • show interest in people
  • do not judge
  • accept people as they are
  • openness offer transportation
  • invite to your home
  • introduce to others
  • church open at all hours
  • invite others to church
  • coffee fellowship for socializing
  • treat others as we like to be treated
  • accommodate with dignity e.g. wheelchair through main part not back part
  • invite newcomers to stand and introduce themselves and share their stories


  • learn different hymns from other cultures
  • explain the liturgy/unfamiliar practices
  • simpler service

Bishop Ray asks:

As Lutherans in Canada prepare for the Tenth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation in Winnipeg, what are some examples of how the church has removed barriers that exclude people?

Inclusivity and Involvement

  • ordination of women
  • election of female Bishop, based on merit alone
  • men and women on councils
  • men and women hold offices
  • inclusive language
  • Reconciled in Christ adoption
  • men, women and young people assist in service
  • inviting people of different races, colour, sexual preference for worship
  • outreach to inner city

Physical Access to Churches

  • wheelchair accessibility
  • hearing assistance
  • chair lift
  • use of facilities to outside groups

Acceptance of Physical Differences

  • dress
  • more accepting of different appearances (long hair, long beard, tattoos, earrings)
  • accepting people openly

Anglican/Lutheran Full Communion and Worship

  • full communion between Anglicans and Lutherans
  • changing service times and adding weekday series
  • evolving service format, traditional/informal
  • communion for all baptized
  • welcome children at the Lord's Table and serve them
  • encourage discussion on issues e.g. homosexuality
  • music
  • preaching the Gospel


  • provide a forum for communication in Canada Lutheran
  • dialogue with other religious groups
  • use of humour to lower initial resistance and relate to those who may feel outside the gathering

In full communion with The Anglican Church of Canada
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