A study process on what ‘Being Lutheran’ means in a global and local context
What does ‘Being Lutheran’ mean in the wide variety of cultures and national contexts that make up our global communion of 149 member churches?
Throughout its history, the LWF has guided study processes to deepen our shared understanding of the theological identity of member churches, through which we continue to recognize and support each other.
In the lead-up to the Thirteenth LWF Assembly in 2023, we are engaging in a four-year study of contemporary Lutheran identities, as they are expressed by people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds.
As Lutherans, we are united in our shared profession of faith: we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ and called to love and serve our neighbor.
We believe that these foundational Lutheran values of freedom, love and service to neighbor are increasingly needed as a counter-witness to societies’ growing narratives of discrimination, exclusion and injustice.
But being Lutheran is not a static identity. Rather, as this study process shows, it is always being developed and expressed in new and creative ways, as we seek to respond to the challenges of our day.
As we listen to each other’s experiences, we are able to step back and see that diversity does not create confusion, but rather a rich harmony of voices, a great human tapestry.
Lutheran Identities Study Process
Phase 1 of this journey of discovery began as participants from across the communion gathered for a consultation on the theme ‘We Believe in the Holy Spirit: global perspectives on Lutheran identity,’ hosted by the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) in Addis Ababa in October 2019.
Phase 2 took place in 2020-2021 by deepening theological reflection on key issues raised at the Addis Ababa consultation. It included a series of monthly ‘Being Lutheran’ webinars which brought together participants from all regions to share insights from their different cultural contexts.
- Webinar series
- Webinar 1 | 1 July 2020
Theme: How we can perceive God's work in the world around us, and experience that presence of the Holy Spirit as a gift and a promise
- Professor Niels Henrik Gregersen, from the University of Copenhagen
- Rev. Dr Beverly Wallace, Associate Professor of Congregational and Community Care, Luther Seminary
- Webinar 2 | 5 August 2020
Theme: Forming and Informing: We will explore the importance of a transformative relationship between theological education and the spirituality of life together, as we cultivate faith
- Rev. Marcia Blasi, Faculdades EST, Brazil
- Sister Nicole Grochowina, Communität Christusbruderschaft Selbitz
- Webinar 3 | 20 September 2020
Theme: Our Indigenous and Lutheran traditions
- Rev. Rebecca Maduli Kurubai, Maasai pastor and doctoral candidate at Tumaini University Makumira, Tanzania
- Ms Risten Turi Aleksandersen, General Secretary of the Sami Church Council
- Rev. Joann Conroy, President of the American Indian and Alaska Native Lutheran Association, Lakota Sioux Nation
- Webinar 4 | 7 October 2020
Theme: Spirituality: the real presence of God’s Spirit in word, sacraments, liturgy as performative theology and dialogical aesthetics, and a dive into mysticism as part of the Lutheran tradition
- Rev. Dr Kirsi Stjerna, California Lutheran University
- Webinar 5 (COMING SOON) | 4 November 2020
Theme: Every call is holy: we will reflect on the concept of the priesthood of all the baptized, and how this notion equips us to live out our faith in a divided world.
- Rev. Caroline Christopher, Arcot Lutheran Church
- Webinar 6 | 2 December 2020
Theme: Spiritual gifts and discernment: Discerning the spirits of our age: 1 Corinthians 12 and Love as the measure of charisms, and moral discernment
- Rev. Dr Simone Sinn, Professor of Ecumenical Theology, Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, WCC
- Rev. Atahualpa HERNANDEZ, Bishop President, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia
- Webinar 7 | 13 January 2021
Theme: The young theologians of the Addis consultation.
- Ms Novrianna Hutagalung, HKBP
- Rev. Kagiso Morudu, ELCSA
- Ms Sofie Halvarsson, Church of Sweden
- Mr Christopher MacDonald, ELCIC
- Mr Sebastian Madejski, Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession Poland
- Webinar 8 (COMING SOON) | 3 February 2021
Theme: The Real Presence: on virtuality and digital church in times of COVID-19.
- Deanna A Thompson, Director of the Lutheran Center for Faith, Values, and Community; Martin E. Marty Regents Chair in Religion and the Academy
- Dr Andreas Wohle, Evangelisch-Lutherse Synode in de Protestantse Kerk
- Webinar 1 | 1 July 2020
Phase 3 is building on that global conversation about Lutheran identities through a survey, sent to all member churches, to understand how baptism, belief and practices shape the ways Lutherans live and witness to their faith in their diverse contexts.