Young Lutherans around the world will tackle environmental justice through a new Lutheran World Federation (LWF) initiative “LWF together — the earth needs you,” beginning May 2011.

The young adult Lutherans will analyze the environmental challenges that they face in their own contexts — places as diverse as Sweden, Brazil, Tanzania, Indonesia and the United States.

Launched by LWF Youth at the Department for Mission and Development (DMD), “LWF together” combines a new method of global learning with renewed efforts for environmental justice. 

Coordinated by the LWF youth desk, local Lutheran youth groups around the world will team up with two other youth groups in different continents using the Internet to read relevant Bible passages together and develop an understanding of God’s creation and humanity’s responsibility toward it. 

Organizers hope the program will be an important learning experience for all young people involved. The youth groups are going to implement actions in their own contexts to address local and global environmental challenges and injustices. While the individual activities may be small, they will have the potential to be a powerful sign of the Lutheran communion’s commitment to environmental justice. 

“To my knowledge, this is the first time something like this has been attempted,” said the Rev. Roger Schmidt, secretary for LWF Youth. “There were several projects of groups in different countries reading the Bible together and sharing their insights. However, ‘LWF together’ combines reading of the Bible [and] advocacy efforts, alongside joint analysis and action,” he noted. 

“We also hope that through this program the Lutheran communion can be experienced by many young people around the world,” he added. 

“LWF together” will conclude in October 2011 around Reformation Day. The youth groups will present the work as well as their new connections with young Lutherans around the world to their local congregations. 

The program was developed in gatherings of young people around the LWF Eleventh Assembly held in July 2010 in Stuttgart, Germany. In their Pre-Assembly Youth Conference, more than 100 young representatives from LWF member churches agreed to prioritize issues of sustainability as well as the visibility of the LWF in their joint work. The idea was further developed in an online consultation and at a meeting of youth workers. 

“The program clearly affirms principles at the core of what it is to be in communion: talking with each other and praying together, understanding and sharing, reading the Word of God together and engaging in joint action for the healing of God’s creation,” said the Rev. Musa P. Filibus, DMD director. 

“‘LWF together’ uniquely combines all these traits that make communion a reality. I look forward to learning from young people in our churches and gaining from their inspiration for our common witness in the world,” Filibus added.