LWF Thirteenth Assembly worship life begins to take shape

28 Jan 2022
Mr Tom Witt, LWF Assembly Worship Coordinator. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Mr Tom Witt, LWF Assembly Worship Coordinator. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

An integral expression of the journey from conflict to communion

(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has begun preparations for worship life at its Thirteenth Assembly in 2023, in Krakow, Poland, under the theme “One Body, One Spirit, One Hope.”  

Closely linked with thematic Bible studies, daily worship life at the highest decision-making body of the Lutheran communion “will explore and celebrate the deep and powerful ways in which the Spirit creates, reconciles, and renews, in the midst of a fragmented world,” said Mr Tom Witt, LWF Assembly Worship Coordinator.   

In anticipation of the next meeting of the International Worship Planning Committee (IWPC) in March, Witt said “worship promises to be an integral expression of the journey from conflict to communion for the global communion of churches.” At its first meeting, held online last November, the IWPC explored key symbols, visuals images and additional biblical texts that might compliment and “deepen our understanding of the assembly theme and our call to participate in God’s vision of unity and renewal of the world,” he noted.

At the forthcoming meeting, to be held in Krakow, the IWPC will explore various possibilities for worship spaces, and begin fleshing out a pattern for prayer during the assembly. A visit to the Museum and memorial of Auschwitz-Birkenau is planned, to give the committee a chance to reflect on how assembly participants might engage in prayers of lament and hope. “The camp remains a stark reminder of the negation of the theme of unity, and a symbol of the potential of evil forces that act against God’s movement toward reconciliation,” Witt added.   

The IWPC is made up of eight liturgists and musicians from member churches in the communion’s seven regions, and LWF staff. Chaired by Ms Kinga Marjatta Pap, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary, it is responsible for incorporating times of prayer and reflection throughout the assembly, 13-19 September 2023.   

Other members of the IWPC are: Rev. Michelle Chiu (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hong Kong); Rev. Brooklynn Lane (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada); Bishop Dr Msafiri Mbilu (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania); Mr Carl Petter Opsahl (Church of Norway); Ms Pauline Roeder Siqueira (Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil); Mr Uwe Steinmetz (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saxony, Germany); and Rev. Piotr Sztwiertnia (Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland.   

Witt provides LWF staff support together with Rev. Dr Dirk Lange, the Assistant General Secretary for Ecumenical Relations. Further meetings are planned this year and next, to continue shaping the assembly worship life.   

By LWF/P. Mumia