LWF Head: Build Bridges of Understanding and Justice

The president of the 65 million member LWF called on faith leaders to construct a society based on healing, hope and reconciliation
( [email protected] ) Sep 15, 2004 08:37 PM EDT

The head of the world’s largest Lutheran fellowship, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), urged leaders of all faiths to “build bridges of understanding and justice,” during an interfaith gathering for peace and nonviolence.

"We should be united to give a message of reconciliation, healing and hope, and to construct a society where there is peace and justice," said the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, president of the LWF and head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

Hanson’s speech was made during an interfaith gathering at the Episcopal San Juan Evangelista Church in San Salvador, El Salvador, Sept 11, 2004. The event, sponsored by the National Council of Churches in El Salvador and the Communion of Lutheran Churches in Central America, brought together representatives from Jewish, Islamic and Baha’I communities, as well as from the mainline protestand denominations, such as the Lutheran, Episcopal and Calvinist Reform churches.

Hanson called on the attendees to make their “best efforts” as religious leaders to “ensure that there is peace and justice in the world.”

"We have the peace of God, the promise that God loves us and has mercy on us and even in the most difficult moments God is in our midst bringing life,” said Hanson.

Additionally, Hanson rejected the Anti-Semitic writings and Anti-Islamic sentiments expressed by certain Christians. Hanson then apologized to Muslims for all the accusations and offenses suffered by them after the events of the 9/11 attacks.

“All of these acts generate violence, and we must keep hatred from expanding among the different sectors of our society for religious or other reasons,” he said.