Lutherans to seek formal reconciliation with Anabaptists

 — July 19, 201019 juil. 2010

by Byron Rempel-Burkholder, Mennonite World Conference news service

[Strasbourg, France • MWC] When Lutherans from around the world gather in July, they will seek a historic reconciliation with Mennonites and other Christians of the Anabaptist tradition. On July 22, the third day of the eleventh assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) to be held in Stuttgart, Germany, delegates are expected to ask “forgiveness-from God and from our Mennonite sisters and brothers-for the harm that our forebears in the sixteenth century committed” in persecuting Anabaptists.

The resolution acknowledges that in the centuries since then, Lutheran scholars and authors have often portrayed Anabaptists in misleading and hurtful ways. It also spells out commitments to continue working with contemporary Anabaptists in fostering greater understanding and fellowship.

The action, representing 70 million Lutherans worldwide, comes after several years of conversation between representatives of the LWF and of Mennonite World Conference. In July last year, LWF general secretary Ishmael Noko of Zimbabwe-son of a Brethren in Christ mother-attended the MWC assembly in Asuncion, Paraguay. In an emotional moment for many delegates, he announced the resolution that would be presented at Stuttgart.

“This wound,” Noko told the delegates, “needs the deep healing possible only when it can be seen, in the bright sunlight of memory, for the ugly wound that it is. Then we can seek for it the healing of God’s forgiveness and reconciliation.”

In Stuttgart, a delegation of leaders from the Mennonite World Conference will be on hand for the passing of the resolution. MWC president and Brethren in Christ bishop Danisa Ndlovu-who, remarkably, is also Zimbabwean-will respond with words of gratitude, forgiveness, and commitment to further healing.

A “service of repentance” will then follow, in which the MWC delegation and representatives of the Association of German Mennonite Congregations (a MWC member church) will participate. A choir from a German Mennonite church will sing. The assembly activities also include an opportunity for delegates to take a tour of local sites of Anabaptist interest.

Besides Ndlovu, the MWC delegation includes general secretary Larry Miller of France, vice president Janet Plenert of Canada, treasurer Ernst Bergen of Paraguay, past president Mesach Krisetya of Indonesia, and Rainer Burkhart of Germany, co-chair of the LWF/MWC International Study Commission (2005-2008) which laid the groundwork for the LWF action.

Live streaming of the plenary session and the service of repentance, along with other information about the LWF assembly, will be available at

Mennonite World Conference is a communion (koinonia) of Anabaptist-related churches linked to one another in a worldwide community of faith for fellowship, worship, service, and witness.

Posted: July 19, 2010 • Permanent link:
Categories: DialogueIn this article: Christian unity, Lutheran, Lutheran World Federation, Mennonite, Mennonite World Conference, statements
Transmis : 19 juil. 2010 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : DialogueDans cet article : Christian unity, Lutheran, Lutheran World Federation, Mennonite, Mennonite World Conference, statements

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