Gettysburg Group Attends 12th LWF Assembly in Windhoek, Namibia
May 11, 2017
Group Experiencing Global Lutheranism
(May 12, 2017 Windhoek, Namibia) Nine students, a staff and a faculty member from Gettysburg Seminary have traveled to Windhoek, Namibia in Southwest Africa, for the 12th Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation, the global Communion of Lutheran Churches.
The Twelfth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation, is meeting in Windhoek, Namibia, 10-16 May 2017, under the theme "Liberated by God's Grace", bringing together some 800 delegates and participants from 145 member churches in 98 countries.
The trip is an intensive course of study for nine members of the group led by the Rev. Dr. Maria Erling, to deepen the seminarians' appreciation for the church in global culture and contexts, as well as the opportunity to meet with church leaders from all around the 74 million member Lutheran Communion.
Students have met with LWF Council member (and former Seminary Dean) Robin Steinke, members of the LWF staff, and leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), including Presiding Bishop Eaton, Ms Kathryn Lohre, Bishop William Gafkjen, Bishop Donald Kreiss, the Rev. Raphael Malpica Padeia, ELCA Global Mission, and others. Comments from three students in the third day of the assembly follow:
"Every moment here, from keynote speakers to worship to coffee breaks, widens the perspective on what it means to be Lutheran together in the world." -- Jennifer DeValue (Seminarian)
"My childhood congregation in the Metro DC Synod was partnered with the Onaanda parish, shortly after Namibia's independence in the early 1990's. Our congregation's relationship was built on shared prayers, visits, and support. More than two decades later, in Windhoek for the LWF Twelfth Assembly, I am meeting peers and friends who were also children of that relationship: God's grace is still bringing us and regathering us together." Joel Neubauer (STM stuent)
Seminarian Harold Hofstad added, "I was especially struck by a statement made by General Secretary Martin Junge in his keynote speech on Thursday. He said that climate change is a spiritual expression of how we (humans) have responded and lived with the resources provided by God."
The student group will also participate in a special commemorative event marking the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation with an open air festival worship service in a Namibian stadium on Sunday, May 14th, returning to Gettysburg on May 17th.