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"One Body, One Spirit, One Hope" is the theme of the Thirteenth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation in Krakow, Poland, Sept. 13-19, where Pastor Karen will serve as a delegate. She and Diego were recently in Bogotá, Colombia, to participate in the Pre-Assembly of the Americas (Latin America, the Caribbean and North America).
Diego participated in a workshop focused on youth and peace (as a Peace Messenger representative), advocating for dignified lives and methods to share techniques for conflict resolution and reconciliation. The Peace Messengers identified these three priorities: just communities, faith identity, and youth leadership:
Just Communities aim to realize climate, gender, and social justice holistically. "Taking into account the asymmetries between the global North and South and understanding that changes take time and young people are the engines of these changes, we invite our church to take action."
Community realities change depending on the socio-political context and the fluctuating number of people in our communities. "We believe that understanding our identity is a recurring topic for the younger generations that is connected to both faith and our sense of belonging to the Body of Christ."
Furthermore, they call for youth leadership to be perceived “the active engagement of young leaders today” rather than “as the development of leaders for the future.” (LWF Americas: Strengthening Communities through Justice, Inclusion and Hope)
Pastor Karen’s work began with the opening of the Pre-Assembly on Monday, April 17, as Dr. Anne Burghardt, general secretary of The Lutheran World Federation, spoke to the participants. She related the theme, One Body, One Spirit, One Hope, to a long-held LWF principle: “Unity as reconciled diversity.” As a world communion of Lutheran churches, Dr. Burghardt further explained, “In understanding what unity should look like between churches who live and witness in different contexts does not mean being indifferent to one another, but rather accepting differences that don’t affect the core of our faith.” (LWF Americas: Contextual perspectives on the Assembly Theme)
Throughout the week, participants identified
Pastor Karen, Natan (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil), Bishop Hernández (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia), and Cristina (U.S., ELCA) collected information from all presentations and group discussions, condensing ideas into a draft message for the Pre-Assembly participants. Members gave feedback, and the group immediately began reworking the report to include all voices, with a limit of 1,500 words.
Elena, LWF staff member, assisted the group to ensure the document would be impactful at the 13th Annual Assembly, an important global meeting. Committee members felt the weight of this responsibility, working long into the night. On Thursday, April 20, at 11:56 p.m. Pastor Karen and others in the picture above were still perfecting the final message to present for approval on Friday morning.
Morning quickly arrived. The committee presented the new draft, it was unanimously approved and will be presented to the 13th Assembly in Poland, “One Body, One Spirit, One Hope.” All the voices of youth, women, churches, presidents, bishops, and devotions are reflected; however, specific details cannot be disclosed until it is presented at the assembly.
Walking together with Pastor Karen and the ILAG on the journey to Krakow, Poland, is filled with hope.