SWITZERLAND – On January 14, representatives of the International Lutheran Council (ILC) met with representatives of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Geneva for regular meetings.
As is customary with these meetings, the ILC and LWF took time to highlight important work taking place in each of their organizations. How each intends to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation was a key topic for discussion, given that the anniversary will take place in 2017. The ILC noted its appreciation for the document From Conflict to Communion (prepared by the LWF and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity), indicating that the ILC intends to engage in further study of the document.
The meeting also addressed areas that continue to be challenges between the two groups. In particular, differing understandings of the theology of mission and disagreements over the concept of the unity of the church were frankly addressed, with plans to follow up on these topics in the future.
Representing the ILC were Chairman Hans-Jörg Voigt, Bishop of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany); ILC Secretary, Rev. Dr. Albert Collver; ILC Representative for Africa, Archbishop Christian Ekong of Nigeria; and ILC Secretary Gijsbertus van Hattem, President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Belgium. Representing the LWF were General Secretary, Rev. Martin Junge; Assistant General Secretary for Ecumenical Relations/Director for the Department for Theology and Public Witness, Rev. Dr. Kaisamari Hintikka; Director for the Department for Mission and Development, Dr. Carlos Gilberto Bock; and Area Secretary for Africa, Rev. Dr. Elieshi Mungure.
The LWF and ILC signed a memorandum of understanding in 2005 which has led to regular meetings between the two bodies since then. This was the fourth regular meeting since 2011. The ILC and LWF agreed at their most recent meeting to continue holding annual meetings in the future.
The next meeting will be hosted by the ILC and will be held February 25-26, 2016.
Download the communiqué from the meeting here.