Invitation to Krakow: Launch of Assembly Study Guide

30 Mar 2023

Join us on an adventure leading up to the Thirteenth LWF Assembly in Krakow in September: that’s the invitation from the authors and editors of a new study guide which explores the Assembly theme ‘One Body, One Spirit, One Hope’ 

Assembly study guide launch

Delegates at the European Pre-Assembly in Oxford, England discuss the theme of the Thirteenth Assembly ‘One Body, One Spirit, One Hope’. Photo: LWF/A. Hillert 

Authors of the new publication reflect on its vision and goals in preparing for the LWF Assembly in Poland 

(LWI) - An invitation into an adventure that leads to Krakow, Poland, and beyond. That’s how the authors and editors of the study guide for the upcoming Thirteenth Assembly are describing this new publication which is designed for use in churches and congregations, by groups or individuals keen to discover more about the work of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and its member churches. 

The theme of the next LWF Assembly in Krakow is ‘One Body, One Spirit, One Hope, drawn from the letter to the Ephesians. Speaking during the launch of the study guide on 29 March, LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Anne Burghardt described it as “a theologically rich theme which calls us to reflect more deeply on our baptism and its implications.”

Assembly study guide launch - Anne

LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Anne Burghardt addressing delegates at the European Pre-Assembly in Oxford, England. Photo: LWF/A. Hillert 

She recommended the use of this study guide for anyone, whether Lutheran or not, seeking to understand more about the global communion of churches and its witness to the world. “As churches,” she said, “we carry out that witness in very different contexts and this is our strength.” The guide, Burghardt said, is a helpful tool “to enable us to become more effective messengers of peace, reconciliation and justice in a divided and suffering world.” 

Assembly Coordinator Maryssa Camaddo shared insights from the lengthy process of preparing the new publication, which was initiated prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and involved consultation with representatives of member churches in all of the LWF regions through the Assembly Reference Group. “A whole village was involved in this joyful birthing process,” she affirmed. 

Assistant General Secretary for Ecumenical Relations, Prof. Dirk Lange described the vision of the study guide which begins by describing “the human experience of yearning for wholeness,” while feeling simultaneously “constricted by the limitations of our bodies.” The words from Ephesians, he continued, “invite us into a unique adventure of life,” as we understand how God “took on the form of a human body” and how his Spirit “is continually active in this world, drawing us all into one hope and inviting us to be co-participants in a movement of reconciliation, drawing us ever-deeper into communion.”

Assembly study guide launch - Chad

Rev. Dr Chad Rimmer, Program Executive for Lutheran Identity, Communion and Formation addressing delegates at the European Pre-Assembly in Oxford, England. Photo: LWF/A. Hillert 

Rev. Dr Chad Rimmer, Program Executive for Lutheran Identity, Communion and Formation, described the structure of the new study guide, which draws on the ‘See, Judge, Act’ methodology developed by liberation theologians in Latin America. Each of the three parts of the publication, he explained, “listens first to the real-life cries of people across the communion” that afflict our bodies, our spirits and our hopes. 

Each part then continues with a biblical and theological reflection, entitled ‘Eyes to see,’ which “enables us to faithfully discern so that we can then be moved to act,” Rimmer said. This is followed by a series of ‘Thanksgivings’ offering “hope-filled stories” showcasing how churches and people across the different regions are already “sowing seeds of hope” in a wide variety of ways. The main chapters conclude with short questions, using a format that Luther developed in the Small Catechism, inspiring the reader to reflect on “how we can grow those seeds of hope in our own contexts.”

Assembly study guide launch - Savanna

Savanna Sullivan, LWF Program Executive for Youth addressing delegates at the European Pre-Assembly in Oxford, England. Photo: LWF/A. Hillert 

Savanna Sullivan, LWF’s Program Executive for Youth, shared reflections on the “rich language and content” of the study guide. Praising its “accessible” format, she noted that young Assembly delegates and others will be using the guide to create some “social media content, including infographics and reels” that can help to explore the Assembly theme. Sullivan said she was delighted that the guide includes stories of youth from across the communion who are modeling leadership in advancing theological reflection around advocacy, connecting young people within and across regions, as well as building reconciliation through the Peace Messenger training program. 

In concluding remarks, Regional Secretary for Europe Rev. Dr Ireneusz Lukas, noted that the study guide had already started to shape conversations during the recent European Pre-Assembly in Oxford. “The theme seems a familiar one, yet we need to ask what these familiar words really mean,” he said. Looking forward to the 13 to 19 September Assembly in his home country, he added: “I am hoping and praying that the guide will be read and used as an inspiring tool for all those coming to join us in Krakow!”

The Thirteenth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation takes place 13-19 September 2023 in Krakow, Poland. The theme of the Assembly will be "One Body, One Spirit, One Hope." It will be hosted by the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland.

LWF/P. Hitchen