It’s not every week one gets to observe the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation dancing with the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA to the music of a live mariachi band. Such was my good fortune Tuesday evening. The event was our annual Theological Conference, held this year in Austin, Texas. The venue was the restaurant next door to the conference center. The occasion was the annual “thank you” dinner hosted by the Lutheran Seminary Program of the Southwest to show the seminary’s great appreciation for support given it by faithful donors. This Texas gem focuses on preparing leaders who will be effective in navigating the complexities of our culturally diverse world.
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and LWF General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Martin Junge, were special guests at the Conference and dinner guests at the seminary dinner. Junge is the first person from Latin America to hold the office of General Secretary. Prior to election to this office he was the president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile.
The mariachi band is an annual tradition at the LSPS dinners. They play the kind of music that compels people to get up and dance or clap along. We were delighted to see Bishop Eaton and Dr. Junge enter into the fun of it all.
Lutheran World Federation is a global community of 145 Lutheran tradition churches located in 98 countries. Together they represent 45 million Christians of the Lutheran tradition. LWF exists to translate faith into global action, seeking God’s Word and Spirit for guidance. They engage in dialogues with other churches and faith groups, serve those in need, and work for justice, peace, and reconciliation all over the world.
The LWF was founded as the Federation of Lutheran churches in 1947 following World War II. Their initial purpose was to confess, reflect, reconcile, and respond to the tremendous human suffering that resulted from that war.
Today LWF focuses on three main issues:
- Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Preparedness and Response
- Sustainable livelihoods throughout the global village
- Community-led Action for Justice and Peace
If the Bishop of the ELCA and the General Secretary of the global Lutheran community can take time out from their tremendous responsibilities to relax and dance, maybe the rest of us can also put aside our responsibilities and concerns once in a while to celebrate what is good and dance to the music.