WINDHOEK, Namibia, 10 May 2017 - Young Lutherans are not taking the future for granted in their changing world, they want to be active participants. This they told the Twelfth Assembly of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Windhoek, Namibia.
120 Lutheran youth from 61 LWF member churches met in the northern Namibian town of Ondangwa prior to the LWF assembly from 3 - 9 May, for the LWF Youth Pre-Assembly under the theme “Freed by God’s Grace to Change the World.” They discussed their current context and how they envision the future.
“The world today is ever and fast changing, and we, the Lutheran youth, members of a global and varied community, take our responsibility,” they said in their message.
“Our three key commitments to reviving churches, striving for equity, and education are our call to action for all. We are happy and proud to share, participate, in this ongoing reformation and strive to carry this commitment into the next 500 years,” they said.
Globalization and cultural exchange
“This future should be open, honoring of cultural context, ever changing and cognizant of the impact of globalization and cultural exchange,” they said in their message.
“We commemorate the 500 years since Martin Luther’s reformation and see our communion as one that is ever reforming,” they stated.
“We know that things we might take for granted now might not be taken for granted in the future. As we look forward to the Twelfth LWF Assembly in Windhoek, Namibia, we are liberated by God’s grace and are called to embrace our neighbor as Christ embraces us,” the youth said.
The youth delegates affirmed the current efforts for climate justice through activities, such as the #fastfortheclimate movement and the work done toward increased youth participation within the communion.
They cited three key priorities to shape the next phase of LWF Youth work: the revival of churches, equity, and education.
Revival of churches
“To be a thriving church, we must have an active and strong membership in both church and society. We are grounded in the gospel, centered in worship, gathered at the table, and sent to serve in mission,” they said.
“We must be bold, flexible and proud of our Lutheran identity in the face of ever-present change. We are not limited by the divisions of our past and affirm the LWF statement, The Church in the Public Space,” they added.
The youth expressed their firm belief that equity is for every human being, based on the underlying foundation of human dignity. “To achieve justice, we must first strive for equity. Equity is fairness; ensuring that all people have the same access to opportunities while taking into consideration barriers that some might face.”
The youth affirmed LWF’s gender justice work including the Gender Justice Policy and proposed continued attention at the grassroots level.
Education, which they said serves as the foundation for all communities and the communion, is key in addressing a variety of challenges such as poverty and hunger, climate change, conflict, and lack of empowerment.
They advocated for basic education and proper theological education, exchange programs, and dialogue opportunities between Lutheran churches and interfaith communities as part of their transformation.
“Following in the footsteps of Martin Luther, Lutherans have promoted education for 500 years and must take responsibility to continue this legacy,” the Youth Message stated.