GENEVA - Women representatives from the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) member churches worldwide will begin a three-day "Pre-Assembly Women's Gathering", starting Nov. 14, in Montreux, Switzerland, with focus on the LWF Tenth Assembly theme "For the Healing of the World."
The 58 participants mainly include regional coordinators of the Department for Mission and Development (DMD) Women in Church and Society (WICAS) desk and women leaders, as well as some Assembly delegate representatives from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America. Observers are drawn from the Geneva Ecumenical Center-based World Council of Churches, World Alliance of Reformed Churches and Conference of European Churches, and from the Southern African Development Community.
During the 14-17 November gathering, the women representatives, who are currently active in the life and witness of the church, will share their witnesses, faith concerns and visions for the Lutheran communion. In both plenary and group sessions, participants will consider reflections on the Assembly theme including issues to be reflected on in the ten Assembly Village Groups, and deliberate to effect formulation of policies and affirmative actions at the Assembly. Their combined input will be shared and multiplied at the regional Pre-Assemblies where women will gather one day before the main event.
Keynote presenters during the Pre-Assembly Women's Gathering will include Rev. Dr Isabelle Graessle, Moderator, Protestant Church of Geneva, and Dr Musimbi Kanyoro, General Secretary, World Young Women's Christian Association.
LWF General Secretary, Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko and DMD Director, Rev. Dr Peri Rasolondraibe will address the gathering. The consultation is sponsored by DMD/WICAS.
Resolutions and commitments made at the 1984 LWF Seventh Assembly in Budapest, Hungary and the 1990 Eighth Assembly in Curitiba, Brazil have paved the way for women's full involvement in shaping the profile and living expressions of the Lutheran communion. This is the first time before an LWF Assembly that a women's consultation has taken the shape of a Pre-Assembly Women's Gathering. Such strategy aims to bring women's experience in concerted focus on to the Assembly theme, and to hold leadership accountable.
The Assembly is the LWF's highest decision-making body, meeting every six years. Regional Pre-Assemblies for the 2003 Tenth Assembly will take place in: North America - January 23-26 - Denver, USA; Europe - February 23-26, in Vienna, Austria; Asia - March 2-6 in Medan, Indonesia; Africa - March 23-26 in Nairobi, Kenya; and Latin America and the Caribbean - 6-9 April in San Salvador, El Salvador.
(The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund (Sweden), the LWF now has 136 member churches in 76 countries representing over 61.7 million of the 65.4 mllion Lutherans worldwide. The LWF acts on behalf of its member churches in areas of common interest such as ecumenical relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human rights, communication, and the various aspects of mission and development work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.)
By Albert H. Lee