In September I had a wonderful opportunity to travel to Geneva and Wittenberg to meet with global leaders from Lutheran World Federation (LWF) churches.
Each day began with worship, followed by presentations and conversation. We heard from three of our colleagues about their ministry sites: Chile, Finland, and Papua New Guinea. Lutheran churches ranging in size from 3,000 members and 12 pastors (Chile), to 1.5M members (PNG) in a developing country, to almost 4M and 75% of the population (Finland). While different, the challenges we found in catechesis, leader formation, and stewardship were similar.
In addition we received reports on the LWF structure, its work on the UN sustainable development goals, and work with women’s rights issues. Amazing on the ground work and advocacy being done in our communities around the world. We also worshiped with the Lutherans of Switzerland celebrating 500th anniversary of the reformation on Sunday morning in Geneva. A city full of global history, cooperation, and also religious fervor. This is of course the town of Calvin.
After our time in Geneva, we traveled to Wittenberg where we learned about the Luther Center at Wittenberg and opportunities for pastors and lay leaders to visit and spend time in study and conversation in the town of Luther. It was another intense couple days, but on our last afternoon, we had some time off and were able to visit the Castle Church, climb the spire, and also enjoy a pint from the beer tap in Wittenberg’s city hall square. This picture is of myself and Bishop Barb Collins of Upper Susquehanna Synod.
As NT-NL we are part of something much bigger than our local congregations or synod. We are part of a global network of churches working to proclaim the gospel, plant churches, and work for justice and peace. As I was leaving the building today I noticed the plaque attached. The ELCA, we, are noted along with governmental and other church bodies for helping renovate the WCC and LWF facilities. We are connected across borders and we are #InMissionTogether #NTNL #LWF