Peace and reconciliation in the Middle East was
a key emphasis for the Lutheran World Federation Council at its Aug.
31-Sept. 6 meeting in Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
The 49 council members represent LWF member churches, including the ELCA. They govern the 66-million member communion between assemblies, which are held every six years. ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson, who serves as LWF president, chaired the meeting, most of which was held at the International Center of Bethlehem.
Justice and forgiveness
For true reconciliation to take place people must be willing to hear the truth about each other and forgive, said Munib A. Younan in his sermon at the opening worship service.
There can be “no peace without justice and no justice without forgiveness,” said Younan, LWF vice president and bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.
In his report, Hanson called council members to a new “Christian discernment” that would allow them to perceive and describe the world in a different way. Hoping participants would re-describe the reality of suffering in the Middle East, he called “an independent, viable Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace with a secure Israeli state” imperative.
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