Lund’s ecumenical commemoration inspired local initiatives
LWF and Lund Diocese leaders reflect on joint efforts for peace and reconciliation
(LWI) – Almost five years after the historic commemoration of 500 years of the Reformation in Sweden, there is a growing spirit of ecumenism and commitment among Catholics and Lutherans to work for peace and reconciliation, not only in the host city of the event, Lund, but also in many other places around the world.
Bishop of the Diocese of Lund Johan Tyrberg and a delegation of pastors and deans visited the Communion office of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Geneva on September 22 and discussed initiatives resulting from the 2016 commemoration. During the meeting hosted by LWF General Secretary Pastor Martin Junge, examples from communion work were also shared.
The joint commemoration five years ago paved the way for a new celebration of ecumenism and peace in Lund.
Tyrberg, who has served as Bishop of Lund since 2014, reflected on the importance of joint common prayer co-hosted by then LWF President Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan, General Secretary Junge and Pope Francis in Lund Cathedral on October 31, Reformation Day. He said the joint commemoration five years ago paved the way for a new “celebration of ecumenism and peace in Lund” and collaboration. âIt gave me something new about being a Lutheran, new strength and a new identity as a bishop of the Lutheran Church,â he said, referring to ecumenical vespers and other meetings that Lutherans and Catholics have been organizing since 2016.
âWe need to keep this memory and give it to the next generation of pastors and parishes,â Tyrberg said. He spoke of the potential for ecumenical collaboration in 2022 to celebrate 500 years of Luther’s translation of the Bible.
Commitment to a solid foundation
In his speech, LWF General Secretary Pastor Martin Junge spoke about the founding of the LWF in 1947 in Lund and how the 2016 commemoration reinforced the commitment to continue working for justice, peace and justice. reconciliation. âWe cannot speak of ourselves in splendid isolation. Conflict to fellowship will always take place when we engage with others as we reflect on how to embrace reconciliation as a gift from Christ. “
Referring to the four pillars on which LWF was founded: serving those in need, engaging in common mission initiatives; joint efforts in theology; and ecumenical engagement â Junge spoke of the need to continue dialogue with other Christians and with other religious communities. âComing around the table is one of the traditional marks of the church.
New grassroots initiatives
The joint commemoration helped define LWF’s own ecumenical priorities, providing a basis for dialogues and conversations with other Church bodies in the common goal of Christian unity, said Professor Dr Dirk Lange, Deputy Secretary General for Ecumenical Relations. The Commitments on the ecumenical journey towards ecclesial communion focus on greater interaction between local and global ecumenical initiatives as well as on welcoming and crucial engagement of all in pastoral ecumenism.
Two main Lund commitments – the Joint Declaration on Collaboration at the Parish Level and the Declaration of Intent on Closer Cooperation in Humanitarian Response and Sustainable Development – have also inspired initiatives at the local level. Ms. Eva Christina Nilsson, Director of the LWF Theology, Mission and Justice Department and Reverend Dr. Ireneusz Lukas, Regional Secretary for Europe shared some examples.
In Nepal, LWF World Service signed a national memorandum of understanding with the Catholic relief agency Caritas Internationalis in 2017. The aim is to institutionalize their long-standing partnership and deepen collaboration in the service of refugees. , internally displaced people and other marginalized communities.
In predominantly Muslim countries like Indonesia, the global agreement between LWF and Islamic Relief Worldwide has made Lutheran Christians more respected by Muslims.
Inspiration towards building peace was cited in the case of the Central African Republic, where a Catholic church leader works closely with Protestant pastors and local imams to show how dialogue and mutual listening can transforming a painful civil conflict into a peaceful one.
Starting from the point of unity
The central issue of baptism was also discussed, and reference was made to the LWF Nordic region initiative, Churches in Times of Change. Churches in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden started the project in early 2021 to understand why there is a decline in infant baptism and at the same time an increase in youth and infant baptisms. adults.
In conclusion, Bishop Tyrberg said that one of the lessons of Lund’s remembrance and the journey from conflict to communion is the importance of engaging with each other based on what Lutherans and Catholics have in common. “It’s about starting in unity and then going where we don’t agree.”
FLM / P. Mumia
The founding and first Assembly of the LWF in 1947 took place in Lund, Sweden. The Diocese of Lund is one of the 13 dioceses of the Church of Sweden, the third member church of the LWF with almost 6 million members.