The preacher at the Opening Worship is Rev. Danielle Dokman, a pastor from Suriname who was elected to the LWF Council as a youth delegate in 2010. She served as an LWF Council member for the Latin America and Caribbean region from 2010 to 2017. Dokman is currently studying for a doctorate at Luther Seminary in St Paul, Minnesota, specializing in biblical prophecy in the Old Testament.

Our General Secretary, Rev. Dr Anne Burghardt, is the first woman and first person from Central Eastern Europe to hold this office.

She was elected by the LWF Council at its 2021 meeting and assumed office on 1 November 2021. 

Rev. Dr Burghardt was previously working as Head of Development for the EELC’s Institute of Theology in Tallinn, as well as advisor to the church for international and ecumenical relations. 

Among her previous positions at the LWF Communion Office, Burghardt has served as Study Secretary for Ecumenical Relations, as well as coordinator for the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and content coordinator for the Twelfth LWF Assembly in Namibia in 2017.

Speakers, Respondents, and Moderators

Keynote Address

The Keynote speaker on Thursday 14 September, is Tomáš Halík is a Czech Catholic priest, philosopher, and theologian. He is a professor of sociology at the Charles University in Prague, in the Department of the Religious Studies. He is a pastor of the Academic Parish of Prague, and president of the Czech Christian Academy since 1990.

During the communist period, he was banned from university teaching and persecuted by the secret police as "an enemy of the regime." He worked as a psychotherapist with people struggling with drug addiction. Clandestinely ordained priest in Erfurt, Germany, in 1978, he worked in the Czech “underground Church” where he was one of Cardinal Tomášek's closest associates. He closely co-operated with the future president of the county, Václav Havel and became one of his advisors after the end of communism in 1989.

Since 1989, Halík has lectured at universities and international scientific conferences in Europe, the United States, Asia, Australia, Canada, and Southern Africa. He was also a visiting professor at Oxford University, Cambridge University and Harvard University. He is an author of several books on religion and spirituality and a recipient of numerous awards and prizes including the Templeton Prize, Romano Guardini Prize and an honorary degree from Oxford University. In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI granted him the title of Monsignor Honorary Prelate of His Holiness.

One of the Keynote respondents on Thursday 14 September, is Kathryn Lohre, an Assistant to the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Executive for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations & Theological Discernment1. From 2012-2013, she served as president of the National Council of Churches USA, the first Lutheran and youngest woman to serve in that office. She is currently co-chair of the Shoulder-to-Shoulder Campaign: Standing with American Muslims, Upholding American Values, a US-based, inter-religious coalition to end anti-Muslim bigotry.  

One of the Keynote respondents on Thursday 14 September, is Frederick Onael Shoo, the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT). He is also bishop of the ELCT Northern Diocese, and chairperson of the Christian Council of Tanzania. Shoo is known for his pioneering work to combat climate change and is often referred to as “the tree bishop” for his efforts in mobilizing local communities to plant trees on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. In October 2021, he joined Pope Francis and other faith leaders from around the globe in signing an appeal to governments and decision makers, urging them to take more ambitious action and cooperate more effectively to reduce global warming.  

The Keynote moderator on Thursday 14 September, is Astrid Kleist a German Evangelical Lutheran pastor. Since 2013, she has been the senior pastor at the main church of St Jacobi in Hamburg and Pröpstin (provost) in the East Hamburg district of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany. In 2017, she was elected LWF Vice-President for Central Western Europe. In June 2023, she was appointed General Secretary of the German National Committee of the LWF, and she will assume office in 2024.

The Thematic speaker on "One Body" on Friday 15 September, is Benny Sinaga is the current head of the Protestant Christian Batak Church (HKBP) Bible School (Sekolah Tinggi Bibelvrouw) in Laguboti, North Sumatra, Indonesia. She has served as a pastor in several HKBP congregations, and as a full-time lecturer at the HKBP theological institute, STT HKBP Pematangsiantar (2007-2015). She has been a member of the Interreligious Understanding and Peacebuilding Initiatives (IUPI) since 2011 and a member of the Indonesian Theological Association since 2017. 

One of the Thematic respondents on "One Body" on Friday 15 September, is Bishop Naledzani Sikhwari, Bishop of the Northern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (ELCSA). She is the first female Lutheran bishop in Africa. Prior to her consecration as bishop in 2021, she had served for two terms as Dean of ELCSA’s Northern Diocesan Synod.  

One of the Thematic respondents on "One Body" on Friday 15 September, is Bernd Oberdorfer, a German professor of Systematic Theology and Ecumenism at the University of Augsburg. He has been a member of the Ecumenical Study Committee of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany (VELKD) and a member of the German National Committee of the LWF since 2004. He is also a co-editor of the journal Evangelische Theologie and the book series Kontexte. Neue Beiträge zur historischen und systematischen Theologie.

The Thematic moderator on "One Body" on Friday 15 September, is Johannes Zeiler, an Ordained pastor in Church of Sweden. He holds a PhD in World Christianity and Interreligious Studies from Uppsala University, Sweden. He currently serves as Canon Chancellor at Linköping Cathedral, Sweden. His research interests include global Christianity, ecumenical theology, and mission. He is a member of the International Lutheran-Pentecostal Dialogue Commission.

The Thematic speaker on "One Spirit" on Saturday 16 September, is Bruk Ayele Asale is the President of Mekane Yesus Seminary in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Mekane Yesus Seminary (MYS) in Addis Ababa is the primary seminary for the largest Protestant denomination in Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s Evangelical Church has continued to grow even as the nation faces ongoing political and economic upheaval. Bruk leads MYS with a deep conviction that the Evangelical Church will shape the future of Ethiopia, and that theological education can help to transform the nation. 

Marian Turski, is a Polish historian and journalist, who will offer his testimony at the Plenary "One Spirit" on Saturday 16 September. He served as the editor-in-chief of Sztandar Młodych, a nationwide daily newspaper of the Union of Polish Youth in 1956–1957 and from 1958 onwards, a columnist for the moderately critical weekly Polityka as the head of the weekly’s historical department. He is also a Holocaust survivor, having been imprisoned in the Łódź Ghetto since 1942 and later in Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp from 1944-1945. Turski is a prominent figure in Polish society and has received numerous honors and awards for his contributions to journalism, history, and Holocaust remembrance.

One of the Thematic respondents on "One Spirit" on Saturday 16 September, is Izani Bruch, known for her active participation in the ecumenical movement and human rights advocacy. On April 21, 2022, she was appointed as the chaplain of the Palacio de La Moneda of Chile, the national headquarters of governmental affairs and ministries. As chaplain, Bruch will be responsible for worship services and pastoral care for palace staff and employees who are members of various denominations, including Lutherans, evangelicals, and Pentecostals.  

One of the Thematic respondents on "One Spirit" on Saturday 16 September, is Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, a Finnish theologian and Professor of Systematic Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is an ordained Lutheran minister (ELCA - Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) and an expert on Pentecostal-Charismatic theologies. He also holds a teaching position at the University of Helsinki as Docent of Ecumenics.

The Thematic moderator on "One Spirit" on Saturday 16 September, is Colleen Cunningham, from the Moravian Church in South Africa.

The Thematic speaker on "One Hope" on Monday 18 September, is Antje Jackelén, a Swedish theologian and the Archbishop Emerita of Uppsala, the highest-ranking bishop in the Church of Sweden. She was elected as the 70th Archbishop of Uppsala on 15 October 2013 and formally received through a service in Uppsala Cathedral on 15 June 2014, making her Sweden’s first foreign-born archbishop since the 12th century, and the first female archbishop. Jackelén was ordained a priest in the Church of Sweden in 1980 and became Doctor of Theology at Lund University in 1999. She is also the Vice President of the Nordic Region of the LWF.

One of the Thematic respondents on "One Hope" on Monday 18 September, is Pavlo Shvarts, the Bishop of the German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine. In 2005, he finished Bible School in Dzingelov (Poland), where he also did a year (2005-2006) of voluntary service with the Center of Mission and Evangelism (Evangelical (Lutheran) Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland).  He has called on churches in Europe to shelter refugees from Ukraine, advocate against the war, and offer support for basic and medical necessities.  

One of the Thematic respondents on "One Hope" on Monday 18 September, is Katarina Kuhnert, a non-Indigenous Canadian from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).  She is an early career climate scientist living in Inuvik, Northwest Territories on the traditional Indigenous territories of the Inuvialuit, Gwich’in, and Northern Metis peoples. She is also the ELCIC representative on the Partnership and Rights Circle of KAIROS. Kuhnert was one of 30 young people representing the LWF at the UN climate conference COP26 in November 2021. In October of 2021, she had the opportunity to serve as one of four representatives from the Lutheran World Federation at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Thematic moderator on "One Hope" on Monday 18 September, is Sally Azar, a Palestinian pastor who was ordained on January 22, 2023, by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land in a ceremony at the Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem. This made her the first female Palestinian pastor in the Holy Land.  

Bible Study

The Lead for the Bible study on Wednesday 13 September is Kenneth Tsang Ho Yin, an Associate Professor of Diakonia and Practical Theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Hong Kong. He is also the President of the seminary. He has also been involved with the Hong Kong Christian Council and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hong Kong. 

The Lead for the Bible study on Friday 15 September, Kalina Wojciechowska, a professor in the Department of New Testament Studies and Greek Language of the Christian Theological Academy in Warsaw, Poland, and a lecturer at the Evangelical School of Theology (EST) in Wroclaw and the Warsaw University. She is co-chairperson of the Committee on Theological Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The Lead for the Bible study on Saturday 16 September is Barbara Rossing, a Professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, where she has taught since 1994. The ordained pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is an avid environmentalist and directs the ELCA seminary’s Environmental Ministry emphasis2. She teaches with colleagues in diverse fields through the Zygon Center for Religion and Science. She has also served on several denomination-wide groups including the church’s Executive Committee. As a member of the LWF Council (2003-2010), she served as chairperson of the Committee for Theology and Studies.   

The Lead for the Bible study on Monday 18 September is Rev. Gerson Acker, from the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil.

Ecumenical Panelists

Worship with Common Word

Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) representative, Cardinal Kurt Koch, Prefect, Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, Roman Catholic Church

Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) representative, Bishop Ivan Abrahams, General Secretary, World Methodist Council

Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) representative, Bishop Anthony Poggo, Secretary General, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Communion

Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) representative, Rev. Dr Hanns Lessing, Acting General Secretary, World Communion of Reformed Churches

Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) representative, Rev. Dr Anne Burghardt, General Secretary, Lutheran World Federation

Respondent, Metropolitan Kyrillos of Krini, Patriarchal Exarch of Malta, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

Respondent, Dr William Wilson, Chair Pentecostal World Fellowship

Moderator, Prof Dr Friederike Nüssel, University of Heidelberg  

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