Stuttgart, Germany (July 26, 2010) The Rev. Dr. Robin Steinke, Dean of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, was elected to serve on the 48 member Council of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). The election took place during the Eleventh Assembly of the LWF, which meets every seven years.
The Council serves as the global Lutheran Communion’s governing body between assemblies, and meets once every 12 to 18 months. It consists of the President, who is elected by the Assembly, the Treasurer, who can be elected from among the membership or from outside, and 48 persons elected by the Assembly.
Steinke is one of five persons elected to the Council from North America. The Rev. Donald McCoid, Executive for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said that Steinke was the right nominee for this role. “The LWF had identified the need for a female theologian to serve on the Council,” he said. “Dr. Steinke has the right combination of theological gifts and global knowledge for the work of this Council.”
The Council meets every 18 months to consider the important work of world service, ecumenical dialogs, ministry of care, interfaith relationships, and theology, and to address concerns and issues in the world. An executive committee meets between meetings of the Council.
Gettysburg Seminary’s involvement with the LWF is not new, but was instrumental in the formation of the communion of churches in 1947 through the work of Abdel Ross Wentz, Seminary president (1940-1951). Wentz was the chief author of the LWF’s inaugural constitution, shaped its parliamentary life, and chaired the American section of its predecessor body.
This year marks significant changes for the LWF. By action of the Assembly, the LWF Council will be face a new structure, some challenging ongoing planning, and new leadership. As of the conclusion of the assembly, the newly elected Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land will fill the post of the LWF president. In October, a new General Secretary will lead overall operations for the Geneva based organization.
An advisor to the LWF also said that with diversity of opinions on moral and ethical decisions and maintaining unity within the LWF Communion of Churches, the Council will tend to relationships as well as issues. Among the priority issues are global warming, gender justice, peace, hunger, poverty, disease -- malaria and HIV/AIDS, illegitimate debt, disaster response, and other concerns and needs that develop.