British Queen celebrates


Delegates from Lutheran World Federation (LWF) member churches across Europe have gathered at Mansfield College, Oxford for the first regional Pre-Assembly, which runs from 21 to 24

March. The Pre-Assembly, which is hosted by the Lutheran Church in Great Britain (LCiGB), is being held ahead of the global Thirteenth Assembly in Poland in September. Over a hundred representatives from Lutheran churches in the three European regions – Western, Eastern, and Nordic – are meeting at Mansfield College, which has had close ties to the local Lutheran community since the Second World War.

During the war, the principal of Mansfield College was supportive of the German churches’ struggle against the Nazi regime, and after the war, Lutheran refugees from Eastern Europe and the Baltics joined the many Germans who had fled to England. This led to the formation of what is now known as the Council of Lutheran Churches (CLC), which brings together churches from nine national churches, including the LCiGB. The CLC helped to fund a tutorship at Mansfield College for the training of Lutheran clergy to serve this growing, yet very diverse community.

Today, the Council funds a student chaplaincy and a new scholarship at Mansfield College, offering the possibility of a master's study program for modern-day refugees seeking sanctuary in the United Kingdom. The Council also offers worship in various languages for believers who come from many different parts of the globe.

CLC General Secretary Dr Anna Krauss said she was delighted to be collaborating with the Lutheran Church in Great Britain to host the first Pre-Assembly. “Like the LWF, we were founded in response to the refugee crisis in Europe and we are celebrating our 75th anniversary this year,” she said. “From those origins, the Council has worked consistently to integrate people from many different languages, cultures, and backgrounds, with a strong focus on inclusion and social justice.”

The Pre-Assembly opened with a worship service in Mansfield College chapel, to which ecumenical guests from other Christian churches were invited. A meeting of LWF youth delegates took place ahead of the plenary sessions, which focused on preparations for the Krakow Assembly and its theme ‘One Body, One Spirit, One Hope’. Before the adoption of a concluding message on Friday, participants heard from leaders of the Lutheran church in Ukraine and neighboring countries about the ongoing response to the war and support for those who have fled from the conflict.

LWF’s Regional Secretary for Europe Rev. Dr Ireneusz Lukas said: “We are very glad to be here in England for this Pre-Assembly because, back in 2020, we were planning to hold our European Church Leadership Consultation in Oxford. As LWF, post Brexit, we wanted to show our solidarity and connectedness with the LCiGB, regardless of any political decisions affecting churches in the region.”

“Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, that Consultation could not take place. We are therefore delighted that, after three years, we can come together in this place which enjoys such long and rich connections to the LWF. As we prepare for the forthcoming Assembly, we look forward to hearing more about the challenges of the church in this country, with its breadth of cultural and linguistic backgrounds which, in many ways, reflects the realities of the LWF.” Photo by HiraV at the English Wikipedia.