Global Commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation

27 April 2017
10,000 people expected at Sam Nujoma Stadium on 14 May

(LWI) A highlight of the Twelfth Assembly of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) will be the global Commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation where Assembly delegates from all over the world join members of the Lutheran churches in Namibia and ecumenical guests in commemorating the anniversary. The service will take place on Sunday, 14 May, at the Sam Nujoma Stadium, which can accommodate up to 10,000 people.

Bishop emeritus  Dr Zephania Kameeta, former LWF Vice-President for Africa, will preach on the Assembly theme, “Liberated by God’s Grace.” He previously served as bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN) and is currently the  Minister of  Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare in Namibia.

“We have traveled from Wittenberg, where the LWF Council met in 2016, to Lund and Malmö in Sweden, where we jointly commemorated the Reformation anniversary with the Roman Catholic Church. Now we will be in Namibia, witnessing together that the Reformation is a global citizen,” says LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge.

He continues: “The Salvadoran cross,  which was the symbol of the Joint Commemoration, will travel from Lund to Windhoek, marking this journey visibly. In  a similar way the Reformation message of liberation by grace alone has traveled around the world and transformed the hearts and minds of those who were found by Christ. The good news of justification by faith alone continually announces that God grants new life not because of who we are or what we do but because of who God is and what God does,” adds the general secretary.

Testimonies from the seven LWF regions

The Commemoration service will include seven testimonies from around the world, one for each LWF region.  The testimonies describe how faith has spread, taken root, and how it has broken down walls. These testimonies attest to the beauty and power of the gospel and to the ongoing nature of reform. General Secretary Junge says: “In reaching out to new people around the world, the Reformation itself was transformed. New cultures, new perspectives and languages, new songs, tunes and expressions have shaped it and give it the global profile it has today,” he explains.

Namibian participation through hymns and music

Several Namibian choirs and a brass band will participate in the service. The music contains pieces especially composed for the Twelfth Assembly and the Reformation Commemoration as well as hymns from various parts of the world.

By celebrating Holy Communion together, participants  gathered around the Lord’s Table not only hear the Word of God but  taste it. This is an expression of the call to a community, bearing each other’s burden and serving one another and the world in need.

The commemoration service will be streamed live to churches around the world, offering them an opportunity to follow and participate in the service.

Further information

The Twelfth Assembly of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) will take place 10-16 May 2017 in Windhoek, Namibia, under the theme “Liberated by God’s Grace”. Almost 800 participants — including nearly 400 delegates from the 145 LWF member churches in 98 countries worldwide — will participate. The assembly is the highest LWF decision-making body and meets every six to seven years.

The Assembly will give general direction to the work of the LWF for the next years. It will speak out on issues concerning the life and witness of the churches and the world. It will elect the LWF President and Council to serve until the next Assembly. At the Assembly the LWF will commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.

The Assembly is hosted by the three Namibian member churches of the LWF, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia-German Evangelical Lutheran Church.

For all media contacts:
Rev. Árni Svanur Daníelsson
Head of Communication
The Lutheran World Federation
Tel: +41-78-929-9686

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