LWF Must Increase Visibility, Youth Say

Youth at the Lutheran World Federation are offering their assistance to aid the group in increasing its visibility to its member churches. Some 80 youth will be participating in the LWF’s 11th Assembly, which will be held from July 20-27 in Stuttgart, Germany. (Photo: LWF/D.-M. Grötzsch)

Young adults preparing to participate in the Lutheran World Federation's (LWF) 11th Assembly say that they want to help the organization increase its visibility to its member churches.

Calling visibility an "essential" issue for the LWF, the youth noted that they are particularly well positioned to help spread communication about the group, and made a call for an increase of opportunities, resources and information to better understand the LWF's structures and processes.

"We young people offer our enthusiasm, energy and networking skills, to assist in raising the
profile and visibility of the LWF. We want to be part of a better two-way communication
between the LWF and the churches, the congregations and the wider society," reads a statement from 120 Lutheran youth, who met at a July 10-17 pre-assembly gathering in Dresden, Germany.

The youth also pointed out some roadblocks hampering the flow of communication, including the lack of diversity in the translation of LWF documents.

Acknowledging budgetary constraints for translation, the youth suggested the formation of regional committees for translating all documents into official languages.

"Therefore the LWF shall implement official and volunteer translators chosen by regions," they said.

LWF youth have had an increased presence in the organization since 2003 when a resolution was passed to ensure that all assemblies and gatherings have a minimum of 20 percent youth participation.

The pre-assembly gathering said that they appreciate the new opportunities given to them while adding that they would like to see a more democratic and transparent process for choosing their delegates.

"We do not wish to be mere numbers in a quota, but to be valuable and valued contributors to the life and work of this church family," they said.

"Member churches should provide their designated representatives with the information and perspectives necessary to enable them to truly represent their churches in LWF contexts, and afford them the opportunity to provide feedback to the church governance structures and congregations," they added.

The group further asked the LWF to help create regional or sub-regional youth committees to assist in strengthening the denomination's youth constituency.

"Youth represent the most important potential for change in society," they said. "Young people are generally the first ones to challenge injustice and oppression and to envisage a different future," they added, noting that Jesus was only about 30 years old.

"Let us take the leadership that we are capable of taking, not only in the future, but
here and now. Let us be the gifts to this communion that we know we can be."

The LWF's 11th Assembly will be held in Stuttgart, Germany from on July 20-27. Around 400 delegates are expected to attend, of whom 20 percent will be youth and 50 percent will be women.

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