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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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LWF: A new vision after 60 years

Ishmael Noko, general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, said he was convinced current ecumenical relations will lead to visible signs of church unity in the future, including eucharistic sharing.

During the March 20-27 meeting of the LWF Council in Lund, Sweden, Noko said one wouldn’t have envisioned the current LWF communion of churches when the federation was founded in 1947. After World War II, the agenda focused on the place of the Lutheran church in the world. Today it’s on the LWF’s place in the ecumenical movement.

This year’s meeting included a Church Leadership Consultation and other events to celebrate the LWF’s 60th anniversary. Some 500 people, including more than 100 church leaders, attended the events, which were hosted by the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden and its Diocese of Lund.

Of the debate on marriage, family and sexuality, Church of Sweden Archbishop Anders Wejryd said this wasn’t an issue that should divide the Lutheran communion. He noted issues of cultural ethics, fidelity, moral responsibility and social identity have always been a challenge for the church. But, he said, church unity depends on agreement on the teaching of the gospel and the administration of sacraments.

These issues shouldn’t threaten church unity, Noko agreed, because Christ is the host [of the church] and the rest are simply guests invited to partake of the one communion. He likened this to people invited to a party, who may not like each other, but would tolerate each other for the sake of their host.


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