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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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The LWF's greatest hits

Milestones in the history of the global organization

The 11th Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation took place July 20-27 in Stuttgart, Germany. Founded in 1947, the LWF is the worldwide communion of churches in the Lutheran tradition representing some 70 million members. What are some of the good things Lutherans have done together through the LWF?

J.P. van Heest, president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, signs the constitution to establish the Lutheran World Federation in July 1947. A representative of each church body was asked to sign the constitution.
J.P. van Heest, president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, signs the constitution to establish the Lutheran World Federation in July 1947. A representative of each church body was asked to sign the constitution. 
Service for refugees: In spring 1945, even before World War II was over and before the LWF was founded, the LWF-in-formation set up an office in Geneva, Switzerland, so Lutherans worldwide could provide relief for the millions of displaced people and for reconstruction of war-torn Europe. The first resolution adopted at the first LWF Assembly in 1947 was for service for refugees.

Promoting peace and reconciliation between recent enemies: The country with the largest number of Lutherans is Germany. After the end of World War II, the LWF helped rebuild contacts and partnerships between Lutheran churches whose nations had recently been at war. The LWF stood with the German churches as they went through the painful process of confession and repentance and de-Nazification.

Working with the U.N.: The LWF provides a vehicle through which Lutherans worldwide can relate to the U.N. This takes practical form, such as LWF serving as a major implementing partner for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. It also involves policy engagement. For example, Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, relating to freedom of religion, was drafted by a Lutheran.


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December issue

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