“Together for a just, peaceful and reconciled world” is the theme of the 2012 meeting of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Council to be hosted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia (IELCO) June 15-20 here.
The Colombian church is very pleased to have the opportunity to welcome the Council, said IELCO Bishop Eduardo Martínez in a letter to the LWF governing body.
“We consider that our main strength is to be part of a confessional family which is so extensive, diverse and wonderful, as is the Lutheran Communion in the world. Meetings such as the Council’s are tangible signs of communion among Lutheran men and women from around the world,” he stated.
The Council is the LWF’s governing body between Assemblies. It consists of 50 persons plus advisers to Council Committees who provide expertise for specific areas of work. The council includes ordained and lay members, women, men and youth.
The Bogotá meeting will mark the first time an LWF governing body has met in Latin America since 1990, when the Eighth Assembly was held at Curitiba, Brazil.
Pre-Council exposure tours on June 12-14 will allow council members to experience the life and witness of the IELCO, which is active in ministries such as work among people with disabilities and internally displaced persons; ecumenical accompaniment in conflict regions; peace and justice; education; inclusion of women and youth; and human rights of persons affected by HIV and AIDS.
The LWF meeting of officers and the Committee for Holistic Mission and Church Relations will meet prior to the council sessions, as will pre-council women and youth gatherings.
The council agenda includes the president’s address, and reports from the general secretary and the chair of the Finance Committee.
On June 17, participants will worship in local churches.
Members of the Committee for World Service will visit projects of the LWF’s Department for World Service (DWS) prior to and following the council meeting. DWS has been active in Colombia since 2001 with humanitarian, human rights and sustainable development programs that address root causes of poverty, and promote just, peaceful responses to armed conflict.
LWF General Secretary the Rev. Martin Junge, a Chilean theologian, said that the Colombian context, still characterized by situations of conflict, violence and injustice, offers an excellent opportunity to explore the dimensions of what it means to be a communion that commits to live and work together for a just, peaceful and reconciled world.
“The LWF understands its Council meeting in Colombia as a concrete contribution to the Program of Ecumenical Accompaniment in Colombia launched by the Latin American Council of Churches [CLAI] and the World Council of Churches in October 2011,” he noted.
The IELCO joined the LWF in 1966 and has 1,998 members. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is in full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a member of the LWF.