LWF President Calls on Worldwide Communion to be Prophetic

LWF President Younan preaches at the installation of Rev. Martin Junge as General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation

GENEVA, 26 November 2010 (LWI) – The worldwide family of Lutherans must work together to serve and heal the broken world, Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan, president of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) said in a 25 November address in Geneva.

“We are called to work to eradicate poverty, to be prophetic against injustice, to be bridge builders between South and North and East and West, to strengthen our sisters and brothers who suffer or find discrimination because of their faith, and to be responsible for the integrity of creation,” Younan said.

The head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) was speaking at the installation of LWF’s new general secretary Rev. Martin Junge during a eucharistic service at the Ecumenical Center chapel.

Elected in October 2009, Junge previously served as LWF area secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Department for Mission and Development (DMD). A former president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile, he assumed his new position on 1 November.

Younan said the election of Junge, the first Latin American LWF general secretary, marked a significant moment in the life of the worldwide communion.

“When the LWF elects a general secretary and a president from two of the smallest churches in the LWF, that means that in the communion there is no East or West; there is no affluent or less affluent. It means that our communion is healthy because it is ready to elect people to serve the Lord and the people of the church on the basis of their gifts that Christ bestowed on them,” remarked the LWF president, referring to his acceptance speech at the July 2010 Eleventh Assembly in Stuttgart, Germany.

Reflecting on the gospel text from Luke chosen for the occasion, Younan also spoke of accompaniment, highlighting the essentiality “that this theology of accompaniment pertains not only to those who have the same mind and share the same confession, but also to those who may be different in theology or culture, so that we may come to the realization that we are called to serve together a broken and wounded world.”

“This theology of accompaniment asks us to walk alongside one another with humility, carrying the cross and denying ourselves, bearing one another’s burdens and celebrating together the Eucharist, while finding Christ in the other, whose diversity we joyfully accept for the sake of the advancement of Christ’s kingdom in the world,” Younan concluded.

At the installation, Younan presented the new LWF general secretary with a cross made out of spent bullet casings from Liberia’s civil war. He said the cross was “a sign that we are called to make peace and that healing is possible in our broken, globalized world.”

Official greetings were offered by Bishop Medardo E. Gómez Soto (Salvadoran Lutheran Church) on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean region; Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, World Council of Churches general secretary; and Ms Simangaliso Hove, DMD secretary for project implementation on behalf of LWF staff.

For more coverage of the installation of Rev. Martin Junge as General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) visit the Lutheran World Federation Website.