For Dr Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of Uppsala in Sweden and Primate of the Church of Sweden, the global commemoration of 500 years of Reformation at Sam Nujoma stadium in Windhoek, Namibia, 14 May, is an unforgettable event.
“The connection of proclamation of the gospel and political responsibility for the life of the world, together with the combination of praises sung and testimonies heard, will be cherished,” she says.
Namibian Bishop emeritus Dr Zephania Kameeta delivered the sermon at the commemoration, which was attended by thousands. “It was deeply evangelical and at the same time deeply political,” says Jackelén. “During the sermon Kameeta strongly advocated the responsibilities of Lutherans, as liberated by God, to continue the reformation and renewal of the world.”
The General Assembly is a great opportunity to meet, listen and learn from the Communion, says Jackelén. “Worship and bible study is an essential part of the life and growth that the Assembly can provide for the Communion”.
Highlights from the Assembly for Jackelén include the keynote address from Congolese surgeon Dr Denis Mukwege who spoke on 11 May. The medical doctor from the Democratic Republic of Congo has provided leadership for Africa and the world, standing up for dignity and rights of people, particularly women who are survivors of sexual violence in conflict situations.
“When meeting as Lutherans from all over the world, we realize that all our churches live by God’s grace and that we all face challenges,” Jackelén says.
Jackelén says some of those challenges include poverty, inequality and lack of education. In addition, “some are challenged by the proclamation of the prosperity gospel in their contexts, a proclamation that is deeply at odds with the Lutheran conviction that salvation is not for sale.”
Delegates to the Twelfth Assembly elected Nigerian Archbishop Musa Panti Filibus as LWF president on 13 May. Jackelén praised the gifts and experience Filibus will bring to his new role, mentioning specifically his 11 years experience working for the office of the LWF.
“I am happy that we have a president from Africa,” she says, “I am looking forward to working together with the newly elected president.”