North American Lutherans Prepare for Regional LWF Pre-Assembly; Event Provides Opportunity for Contextualized Response to Local and Global Challenges

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) Eastern Synod will host the North American region’s preparatory meeting for the July 2010 Eleventh Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). The assembly will take place in Stuttgart, Germany, under the theme "Give Us Today Our Daily Bread."

The North America Pre-Assembly Consultation (NAPAC) to be held from January 29 to 31 in Kitchener, Ontario, will bring together around 40 delegates, youth stewards and advisers from the three LWF member churches in the region as well as staff.

"The LWF Eleventh Assembly theme ‘Give Us Today Our Daily Bread,’ is an important opportunity for a contextualized reflection and envisioning of new ways to respond as members of a global communion to challenges such as world hunger, eradication of poverty and other related global issues amid the current financial crisis and high unemployment rate, while also responding to great calamities and disasters," says Rev. Teresita Valeriano, the LWF Regional Officer for North America. "It is also important to be prepared as a region to engage in other global communion matters such as the election of new leaders, ecumenical relations and diakonia."

Welcoming the NAPAC to Kitchener, ELCIC Eastern Synod Bishop Michael J. Pryse says the LWF event coincides with significant preparations in the church. "I am delighted that our synod has been granted the opportunity to host this important event in the life of the global Lutheran communion, particularly as we prepare to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of our predecessor body, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Canada in 2011."

"I trust that the delegates to the pre-assembly gathering will experience many blessings during their time in our midst and be further strengthened and prepared for their important work at the Stuttgart Assembly later this year," he added.

The three LWF member churches in North America – Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and ELCIC – comprise an estimated 4.9 million members.

In preparation for the LWF Eleventh Assembly, the NAPAC will discuss issues related to the "Proposed Guidelines and Processes for Respectful Dialogue on Marriage, Family and Human Sexuality," presented to the 2007 LWF Council meeting in Lund, Sweden. It will also prepare a regional response on economic and climate justice titled "Witness to Hope Amidst Today’s Crises," focus on communication-related issues and study the LWF Report "From Winnipeg to Stuttgart," which gives an account of the organization’s work since the July 2003 Tenth Assembly in Winnipeg, Canada.

LWF President Bishop Mark S. Hanson, who is the ELCA presiding bishop, and LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko will address the NAPAC participants.

"’Give us today our daily bread’ connects us to all of humanity and to all of God’s creation," observed Hanson. "It causes us to ask, ‘Who are those who are hungry in our community?’ And, ‘Why is there still hunger in a world of such abundance?’"

Women and youth events will precede the NAPAC meeting.

Read more about the Pre-Assemblies under the "Journey" section of the LWF Assembly Web site at:

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, with a total membership of 68.9 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 162,100 baptized members in 611 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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