Kraków welcomes delegates on LWF Assembly opening day

14 Sep 2023

Polish group Śląsk pictured performing on stage as a welcome reception takes place at the Old Tram Depot in the Jewish Quarter of Kraków for the Lutheran World Federation Thirteenth Assembly. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Church and civic authorities host reception for over 1,000 participants in 13 -19 September Thirteenth Assembly

(LWI) - Polish religious and civic authorities have been welcoming international guests to Kraków for over 650 years, since the city hosted a famous Kraków Convention for European royalty back in the 1360s. On Wednesday, the City Council joined with the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland (ECACP) to welcome delegates from across the globe who are attending the 13 to 19 September Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Assembly.

In welcoming remarks, ECACP Presiding Bishop Jerzy Samiec noted that his church has been preparing for the Assembly for well over a year by praying for and discovering more about each one of the 150 churches that make up the global communion of Lutheran churches. “We are happy to have representatives of each of them in Krakow,” he said. “We want to build true communion in Christ, one that is filled with love, respect and understanding.”

Second Assembly in Central Eastern European region

Greeting participants on behalf of the mayor and the city of Kraków, deputy mayor Anna Korfel-Jazinska said it is “a great honor for Krakow” to host the LWF’s Thirteenth Assembly, especially since it is “only the second-ever meeting of the highest decision-making body in Central and Eastern Europe and almost forty years have passed since the previous one,” held in Budapest in 1984. She noted that the ECACP, one of the LWF’s founding members, “has a special significance for our city,” while the Lutheran parish in Krakow, founded in the 1550s, is located “in the heart of the historic metropolis, on the Royal Route.”

In response, LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Anne Burghardt thanked both the civic authorities and the local church for their enthusiastic welcome. Throughout preparations for the Assembly by the ECACP, she said, “we have experienced your warm hospitality and eagerness to welcome guests from the global communion, recalling the Biblical instruction not to neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that, some have entertained angels without knowing it.”

Be messengers to each other, sharing stories of joys, struggles and hope.

Rev. Dr Anne Burghardt, LWF General Secretary

The LWF leader noted that the original Greek word for angel means “messenger” and she urged all Assembly participants to be “messengers to each other, sharing stories of joys, struggles and hope.” When sharing stories, she added, “let us always keep Christ and Christ’s uniting Spirit at the center.” She concluded by encouraging delegates, during the week-long meeting, to greet and get to know “at least two people who don’t come from the same LWF region as you do.”


LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Anne Burghardt shares words of greeting as a welcome reception takes place at the Old Tram Depot in the Jewish Quarter of Kraków. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Over 1,000 participants attended the opening day of the Assembly, including a large delegation of Lutherans from the local church, as well as many ecumenical guests, representing over a dozen different Christian world communions and organizations

LWF/P. Hitchen