Eleventh LWF Assembly - Mennonite action

Lutheran – Mennonite dialogue

Relations between the LWF and the Mennonite World Conference

Official reconciliation between Lutherans and Mennonites began during the 450th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession in 1980. It led to a process of working through the painful legacy of persecution of Anabaptists, whom Mennonites regard as their predecessors, in the 16th century.

In 2009 Lutherans and Mennonites jointly wrote a description of this common history and during the LWF Eleventh Assembly in Stuttgart in 2010, Lutherans asked Mennonites for forgiveness for their ancestors’ actions. The “Mennonite Action” at this Assembly included commitments for further reconciliation and marked a key moment in relations between the two communions.

Lutherans and Mennonites continue to build on the process of reconciliation which began in the 1980s and resulted in the 2010 action of Lutherans asking forgiveness for the persecution of Anabaptists by their ancestors in the 16th century.

Key Questions

  • What is the meaning of the 16th century Lutheran confessional writings in a 21st century context? How should they be interpreted today - especially those which express the historical hostility towards Anabaptists?
  • What is the background of the historical intolerance towards Anabaptists? How can mutual reconciliation be achieved and implemented in light of teachings about Mennonites, especially in confessional writings?

Activities (UPDATE)

  • Reconciliation process continues, including involving seminaries and theological faculties about the outcomes of the dialogue


Rev. Dr Martin Junge addresses the Mennonite World Conference, saying the forgiveness of Mennonites brought Lutherans and Mennonites closer together to serve the world. Photo: Jon Carlson for Mennonite World Conference
  • 2008 - The LWF Council agrees to explore whether Lutherans might apologize for their ancestors’ actions against Anabaptists, whom the Mennonites regard as their predecessors
  • 2010 - LWF Task Force on “Mennonite Action” is formed
  • 2010 - LWF Eleventh Assembly in Stuttgart asks Mennonites for forgiveness and commits itself to look at ways of implementing a reconciliation process (Report of the Lutheran–Mennonite International Study Commission)
  • 2012 - LWF Task Force holds first meeting in Tutzing, Germany

Photo: LWF/Erick Coll | Photo: Jon Carlson for Mennonite World Conference