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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 182,077 baptized members in 624 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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From the Office of the Bishop


Winnipeg, May 20, 2003 (ELCIC)--The Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko, general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), will visit Winnipeg May 22-25 to promote the Tenth LWF Assembly, being held at the Winnipeg Convention Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba July 21-31. It will be one of the largest religious gatherings ever held in the western Canadian city.

Dr. Noko will be available to the media Thursday, May 22, 10:30 a.m. at the ELCIC National Office, 302-393 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg.

With regard to the impact of SARS on travel to Canada and the hosting of international gatherings, the LWF has been closely monitoring the situation with the host church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC). The LWF general secretary noted, "that the Canadian authorities had taken effective measures to control the spread of the disease." Based on the World Health Organization's (WHO) latest report on the situation in Canada he said: "I am convinced that there is no reason for the LWF to consider shifting the Assembly venue from Canada." He added, that the Assembly theme, "For the Healing of the World", is very timely for our world today.

During his stay in Winnipeg Dr. Noko will also address the issue of forgotten emergencies. "There are humanitarian crisis situations with immense consequences, which are not receiving the kind of public attention that SARS has received. Taking the Assembly theme seriously means to listen to the cries for healing, wherever there is deep need in the world."

The event is hosted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), with head offices in Winnipeg. This is the first time the LWF assembly will be in Canada. Held every six years, it was last staged in Hong Kong in 1997. The assembly, which elects a president and a 48-member council, is the LWF’s ultimate decision-making body and will enable participants to worship, witness, celebrate and confer on matters common to the global community.

The theme of the assembly, "For the Healing of the World," will focus on the relationship of the church to key social and religious issues. Important discussion topics will include violence, economic globalization, AIDS, exclusion and injustice, interfaith relations, divisions in church and society, reconciliation and healing. Conclusions and challenges resulting from these discussions will direct the work of the LWF over the next six years.

Besides journalists, translators, visitors and volunteers, the assembly will attract over 430 delegates from the 136 LWF member churches in 76 countries. The LWF, founded in Sweden in 1947, represents nearly 95 per cent of the 65.4 million Lutherans throughout the world.

Dr. Noko is no stranger to Canada, having studied at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon in the early 1970s. He served briefly as an interim Lutheran pastor in the small community of Brunkild, Manitoba in 1975.

An LWF Assembly fact sheet is attached. For further information, contact the people named in the fact sheet. More information is also available on the LWF Assembly website at http://www.lwf-assembly.org. To apply for media accreditation to the assembly and thereby insure that you receive the advance documentation package, contact Janet Bond-Nash, in the Office for Communication Services at jbn@lutheranworld.org by May 31, 2003.

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