"Melting Snow on Mount Kilimanjaro: Christian Witness Amidst the Suffering Creation" is the theme of the 2008 meeting of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Council to be hosted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT).
The Council meets from 25 June to 1 July 2008 in Arusha, Tanzania, dates agreed by the LWF governing body at its March 2007 meeting in Lund, Sweden. The theme is developed in consultation with the Council host church.
The LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko conveys the Council theme and venue in a December 2007 letter addressed to the member churches, and invites them to concerted action in view of the theme and current global environmental challenges. "This theme connects well with our concerns related to ecology and global warming, pointing to some stark realities and injustices," Noko writes. He invites the churches to observe 29 June 2008 as a "Sunday on Climate Change" reflecting and worshipping together as they focus on the theme. "I urge you … to sensitize the pastors and congregations on the urgent issues related to God’s suffering creation," he adds.
LWF Work in the Region
Noko says the meeting in Arusha will offer possibilities to experience some aspects of the life and work of the ELCT congregations in the northeastern dioceses of Meru and Arusha. The Council participants would have the chance to visit some of the LWF Departments for World Service (DWS) and Mission and Development (DMD) projects and programs implemented in collaboration with the ELCT and other member churches in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
The general secretary notes the Arusha location of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) would serve as a reminder "of the ongoing search for justice on the continent and the continuing challenge of impunity."
In accepting the ELCT invitation to host the Council meeting, "we are deeply aware that this pilgrimage will expose us to and help us to understand the unique challenges faced by the LWF
communion and its expressions in the United Republic of Tanzania," he writes. Gathering in Arusha would be an opportunity to learn more about the "House of Africa," Noko says, and points
to the "House of Europe" focus at the 2007 Council meeting and LWF 60th anniversary celebrations in Lund, Sweden. (More about the ELCT at http://www.elct.or.tz/)
The Council, LWF’s governing body between Assemblies, meets once every 12 to 18 months. It consists of the President, who is elected by the Assembly, the Treasurer, who can be elected from
among the membership or from outside, and 48 persons elected by the Assembly.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is represented by two members on the LWF’s Council, National Bishop Susan C. Johnson and David Pfrimmer, principle dean, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary.
The general secretary’s letter also informs the churches about the second meeting of the 11th Assembly Planning Committee (APC) to be held 28-30 January 2008 in Stuttgart, Germany. The APC will, in addition to its deliberations, have orientation to the conference center facilities, and to opportunities for worship and interaction with the Assembly host church – the Evangelical Church in Wuerttemberg. The APC comprises 14 persons drawn from the LWF member churches worldwide, and is chaired by Ms Angelene Swart, president of the Moravian Church in South Africa.
The Assembly is the LWF’s highest governing body, meeting every six years. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada hosted the July 2003 Tenth Assembly, held in Winnipeg, Canada. The 11th Assembly will be held 20-27 July 2010 in Stuttgart, Germany.
The general secretary’s letter highlights the LWF Executive Committee meeting, 30 November-2 December near Geneva, during which the Strategic Plan implementation was discussed among other issues. Members of the committee also provided information regarding the life of the churches in the regions, while paying particular attention to efforts for reconciliation in internal
church conflicts, he notes.
Noko invites the LWF churches to join in the 18-25 January 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, also marking the 100th anniversary of the ecumenical week of prayer.
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 78 countries all over the world, with a total membership of nearly 66.7 million. 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.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 174,555 baptized members in 620 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.
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