Dear Rev Anne Burghardt, LWF General Secretary,
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
It is with great joy that I’m addressing the LWF Council on behalf of the 352 member churches of the World Council of Churches. Meeting under the theme “In Christ, all things hold together” (Colossians 1:9-20), the LWF Council strongly affirms that in Christ we are one human family. It resonates with the coming WCC Assembly theme “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity”, which also affirms that the love of God fully manifested in Christs incarnation has the purpose and goal of bringing “ta panta”, the whole cosmos and humanity to reconciliation and unity.
The recent tragic events that confronted us have showed us that only together we can confront and overcome the powers of destruction and divisions, which create so much suffering in our common oikos.
The truth that we owe each other is what we have received from God in Jesus Christ. This is the account we give as our hope in our troubled world. In the face of wars and conflicts, global food emergency, climatic change, economic, social and spiritual challenges, which are great concerns to your communion and our fellowship, we reaffirm our shared and continued prophetic mission and vocation to be transforming signs and agents of justice, healing, and reconciliation.
WCC condemned the war and the Russian invasion of Ukraine as well as all injustices, discriminations, and oppressions in the world that bring suffering, death hopelessness and despair to millions of people. At the same time, we fervently pray and work for creating spaces for dialogue in order to work for just peace and reconciliation. We initiated and organized hearings and roundtables attended by representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church and Church leaders from the neighboring countries of Ukraine, in their great majority belonging to the Lutheran Churches. We witnessed again, how vulnerable peace processes can be. Peace building requires prevention, protection, patience to listen attentively and with respect to one another and mediation, and over all a culture committed to fostering peace.
The experience of terror and wars reminds us to strengthen our shared commitment to peace building through prophetic witness and actions. We speak out prophetically for justice and peace while still proclaiming God’s unconditional love for and acceptance of all people, and promoting unity and love among people and nations. Things are not easy but as long as we stay together and are open to dialogue we have glimpses of signs of hope for the future.
Speaking together for those who have been left out of social-economic and political decision-making, we become a stronger voice for marginalized and vulnerable communities in urging those in power to find sustainable answers to the many problems of our world and to promote a culture that can transform egoism into solidarity and one-sidedness into equitable solutions.
We are grateful for our sustained companionship in God’s vineyard. It is in togetherness that we experience God’s grace and love – even during the long period of pandemic and in times of conflicts and wars.
In this spirit of love and hope, I wish you God’s blessing and inspiration in all your endeavours to discern the right course of action for our times. May your gathering bring a vision of hope, encouragement, and inspiration for the world of today and tomorrow. And we look forward to meet your representatives and work together at the coming WCC Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany in the first week of September this year.
Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca
acting general secretary of the World Council of Churches