Colombia: Her name is Marta and she is six years old. She lives in war-torn Colombia in an internally displaced persons camp. Her family fled their home and whole way of life when their village erupted in gunfire. You, through The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), and in cooperation with the Lutheran Evangelical Church of Colombia, provide Marta and 500 other children with a healthy meal once a day, medical attention for 1100 families in the camp, clean drinking water, and seed money for her parents to begin a small business. Together we do make a difference! Because of the LWF, Marta and her family have hope.
Russia: There was no training in Russia for Lutheran pastors during the time of the Soviet Union. The seminary in Novosaratovka is doing its best to educate a whole new population of pastors, youth workers, church musicians, and catechists. With your support, the LWF is educating new leadership for the church. Together we do make a difference! Because of the LWF, eight men and women are able to begin seminary each year.
On behalf of the Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko, General Secretary of The Lutheran World Federation and the three other LWF member churches in North America (the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Lithuanian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Diaspora, and the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad), I bring you greetings and offer thanks for your ongoing support of the work of the LWF.
We are nearly 65 million members in 138 churches in 77 countries! We work together in emergency humanitarian assistance, sustainable development, evangelism, communication, Christian education, theological education, ministry with women and youth in church and society, studies and theological reflection, advocacy with international affairs and human rights and in continued attention to ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue. Together we do make a difference!
In July 2003 under the gracious hospitality and warmth of the ELCIC, the LWF gathered in assembly in Winnipeg, Manitoba for the Tenth Assembly with the theme “For the Healing of the World”. In the 56-year history of the LWF, this was only the second time an assembly has been held in North America. Hundreds of ELCIC members were able to participate as delegates, advisors, visitors and volunteers at the assembly. In the days just prior to the assembly, the ELCIC was privileged to host the Pre-Assembly Visitation Program in many locations across the church. The richness and depth of those visits and the assembly itself continue to shape lives individually, in synods and in congregations. There was great disappointment as visa issues prohibited many African and Asian delegates and visitors from attending the assembly and the whole assembly grieved the loss of those voices in the deliberations and fellowship.
The Assembly Message, which provides direction for the next seven years of the LWF’s work, was forwarded to each member church body with the commitments and recommendations to the churches. The full text of the assembly message can be accessed via the LWF web site: www.lutheranworld.org.
The following ELCIC members have accepted leadership roles in the LWF during the years of 2003–2010:
- Bishop Ray Schultz—Council Member
- Rev. Dr. David Pfrimmer—Council Member
- Rev. Susan Johnson—Council Advisor
- Ms. Ruth Jensen—Department for Mission and Development Project Committee
It is with gratitude that we acknowledge the gifts of ELCIC member Bob Granke, who serves the LWF in Geneva as the director of the Department for World Service.
LWF regional offices were initiated in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and North America to assist member churches in giving life to the vision of Lutheran communion. In 1997 the North America office was begun with funding from the LWF, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the ELCIC. A joint agreement between these three bodies continues to provide shape, oversight and financial resources for the office. Paul Johnson and Judy Baribeau serve as ELCIC members on the Advisory Board. Responsibilities of the office include interpretation and education about the LWF, building and nurturing relationships and communication between and among the four member churches in North America for the purpose of mission, facilitating the sharing of gifts of LWF members with the North America churches wherever possible, and assisting in fund raising related to the LWF Endowment Fund.
The ELCIC continues to make significant contributions to the mission and work of The Lutheran World Federation. We are a complex, multi-faceted Lutheran family who together, all 65 million strong, do make a difference! As Lutherans, our call is for the healing of the world. May our actions and the deep, vibrant faith of the people of this church help make it so!
In gratitude for your partnership,
Regional Officer for North America