The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Why LWF matters

Communion of churches shares identity and calling

The ELCA is one of 140 member churches in 78 countries that comprise the Lutheran World Federation, a global communion of churches. Of the 69.7 million Lutherans worldwide, 66.2 million belong to LWF member churches. Ishmael Noko, general secretary, leads the Geneva-based organization. I serve as its president, and thus my part in events marking 300 years of Protestant ministry in India (see "A missionary for today").

What does it mean to be a “communion of churches?” The phrase is rooted in the New Testament image of the church as koinonia (communion). By God’s action in Jesus that comes to us through word and sacrament, we are joined to one another in a relationship of mutuality and interdependence.

What began in 1947 as a free association of churches became by action of the 1990 Curitiba, Brazil, assembly “a communion of churches which confess the Triune God, agree in the proclamation of the word of God and are united in pulpit and altar fellowship.”

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February issue


Embracing diversity