Churches offer “witness of hope and compassion”
(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) President Archbishop Dr Panti Filibus Musa and General Secretary, Rev. Dr Martin Junge have written to member church leaders offering thanks and support at the start of the Lenten season.
Noting the many challenges that congregations around the globe have been facing since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantine measures imposed by health authorities, the two Lutheran leaders say they “remain thankful and deeply encouraged” by ways in which churches have responded. “Please pass on our gratitude,” they say, “to all those in your church who are offering a witness of hope and compassion to the people they serve.”
Acknowledging “the many lives that the virus has taken” over the past year, they also urge people “to remain vigilant and attentive, following the advice offered by public authorities.” Noting the “many narratives of suspicion, if not conspiracy” surrounding the roll out of vaccines, they ask church leaders “to acknowledge these questions and anxieties and offer support so that people can find factual, accurate information.”
Until all are safe, no one is safe
In their letter, the two Lutheran leaders express “deep concern” about the unequal access to vaccines, noting that COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated “some of the deep structural disorders in the world.” They pledge “the LWF’s ongoing advocacy at a global level for fair and just access of all to vaccines” and urge church leaders to do the same, noting that “until all are safe, no one is safe.”
Thanking member churches for their contributions to the LWF’s Rapid Response Fund, Archbishop Musa and Rev. Junge note that these funds have supported the implementation of 109 projects “offering hope and relief to local communities.” Stressing that many vulnerable individuals, families, communities continue to suffer as a result of the pandemic, they urge church leaders to continue remembering and supporting those most in need.
Together with their letter, the two Lutheran leaders include a theological resource regarding Holy Communion during this time of restrictions that prevent congregations from gathering and celebrating in person. The resource, they note, is “not a prescriptive text” but “a resource for your ongoing theological and pastoral discernment.”
Solidarity and mutuality are powerful resources to face these challenging times for the church and for the world.
— LWF President Archbishop Dr Panti Filibus Musa and General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge
In conclusion, Archbishop Musa and Rev. Junge invited churches to continue praying for and supporting each other “as companions in God’s mission.” Solidarity and mutuality, they stress, are “powerful resources to face these challenging times for the church and for the world.”
Photos: LWF/S. Gallay and LWF/Albin Hillert