75th anniversary book celebrates Lutheran witness and service

1 Nov 2022

A photo per year, marking seven and a half decades of witness and service. The LWF has launched a 75th anniversary book, dedicated to all those who have made the communion’s work possible. 

"In Communion" book

Photos: LWF Archives

"In Communion” presents LWF’s history through 75 photos   

(LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has launched an anniversary photo book as part of this year’s events to mark 75 years since the communion was founded.  

In Communion – The Lutheran World Federation 1947-2022 is the title of the book, which highlights moments from the communion’s rich history over seven and a half decades. LWF General Secretary Rev. Anne Burghardt presented the book on Reformation Day, 31 October, at the Ecumenical Center in Geneva. 

Speaking during the launch that was also streamed online, Burghardt emphasized that the four pillars on which the LWF was founded remain relevant to date and “it is our constant task to translate” them into the communion’s present life and work. The foundational principles—serving people in need, strengthening churches in mission, joint efforts in theology, and working for unity—she said, constantly invite questions about the tangible actions of LWF’s theological work, how churches are present in the public space, and share Christ’s love through service to the neighbor and advocacy for justice.”  

“With this book we are offering 75 glimpses from the work of the LWF around the world,” said Rev. Arni Danielsson, LWF Head of Communication, who co-edited the book with Ms. Pauline Mumia, LWF Publications Editor. “It shows clearly how LWF’s work has been carried out by people, coming together to make a difference for our world,” he added. “We are also happy to be able to offer it as an e-book initially and later in a printed format. For me that illustrates how communication has changed through these seven decades and how the LWF has always tried to be at the forefront.” 

Advocacy, serving people in need  

The publication features several photos from LWF’s international humanitarian response and development work, which Mr Bobby Waddell, the Global Funding Coordinator reflected on. He invited participants to “put yourself in the shoes” of a person fleeing conflict “not knowing what lies ahead.” Through World Service, he said, LWF has been providing shelter, food, water, sanitation, protection, education, health and many other services to hundreds of thousands if not millions of people in need throughout the world.  This remains a strong pillar of LWF’s work in 28 countries, with a commitment to uphold the rights of communities in some of the most insecure and inaccessible places in the world.  

Several activities on the vibrant work of LWF’s member churches are presented in the publication. Mr Isaiah Toroitich, Head of Global Advocacy said LWF adopts “a holistic approach to mission, keeping together proclamation, service and advocacy.” This can be seen in the response to the war in Ukraine, advocacy engagements in the United Nations (UN) including at the annual climate conferences and at the UN Human Rights Council, implementation of the LWF Gender Justice Policy and the work of youth in the Global Young Reformers Network, among other areas. 

Joint efforts in theology, working for unity   

LWF Program Executive for Capacity Building and Leadership Development Rev. Katariina Kiilunen referred to illustrations of LWF’s emphasis on doing theology by connecting people, churches and learning institutions to bring about transformation. Rather than merely seeking greater religious understanding, “our faith empowers us to think and act collectively for a just, peaceful and reconciled world.” How we live and do theology, she added, “leans on the centrality of Jesus Christ and on God’s unconditional grace.” 

Reformation Day is a time to remember Luther’s desire to engage the church of his time in reform, renewal and according to the gospel, noted Prof. Dr Dirk Lange, Assistant General Secretary for Ecumenical Relations, when he referred to milestone ecumenical moments in the publication and the traction that has grown out of LWF’s engagement with other Christian traditions. “Working for unity in the body of Christ means continually discovering the unity God has already given us, and joyfully working ever more intensely to deepen it not only among churches but in the human family and with all creation,” he said.   

Belonging to a global communion    

Though not representing a founding pillar, the past 12 LWF Assemblies are illustrated in the book, said Rev. Dr Ireneusz Lukas, Regional Secretary for Europe. They emphasize the significance of the joint face-to-face global gatherings of representatives from all the member churches, coming together every six to seven years to worship and make decisions about the direction of LWF’s work. Ahead of the Thirteenth Assembly in September 2023 in Krakow, Poland, “we can look forward to the one event that enables us to most fully experience belonging to a global communion of diverse contexts, countries, cultures and languages,” he concluded. 

The 75th anniversary book can be downloaded from this site.

It will be available in a printed format at the end of this year.  


LWF/P. Mumia
Watch the "In Communion" launch event

The Lutheran World Federation marks its 75th anniversary in 2022. It was founded in 1947 bringing together Lutheran churches that wanted to make a difference in our world. The anniversary will be marked with the launch of a photo book that illustrates LWF's work through the 75 years.