Martin Junge, general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, greeted the Churchwide Assembly with gratitude for the ELCA's partnership.
As the ELCA meets, he said, it embraces and embodies 70 million Lutherans and 145 member churches around the world.
|Martin Junge, general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation.
"You are not alone, for we journey together with other churches, grounded on foundations of Lutheran theology, joining together to give witness to the gospel in our world," he said. "This awareness of being part of the global church is deep in the bones of the ELCA. Simply said, we would not have the Lutheran World Federation without the leadership of American Lutherans."
Junge, a pastor from Chile, had just returned from the Horn of Africa, where 12 million suffer from famine. He visited the Dadaab Camp in Kenya, the largest refugee camp in the world, which is managed by LWF. Being the church means to see the world's pain and get involved, he said.
He invited the assembly to look with him toward 2017, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Churches "from Siberia to Sumatra" will celebrate the meaning of Lutheran insights into the gospel, he said, calling Lutherans to not only celebrate but be self-critical about the church's witness. "We are churches in an ongoing process of reforming," he said.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers