by Anthony Tucker, Sierra Leone
I want to congratulate you on behalf of the LWF Youths on your appointment as the General Secretary of the LWF.
Thanks for your words and for the opportunity to be here at the LWF Youth Pre-assembly. It is a great privilege to serve the communion as the general secretary. I feel humbled by the confidence that churches have shown and I am ready to take on this task with all its duties.
The strongest backbone of the communion is the young people. What do you plan for us as young people of the communion?
I am very happy to hear that you say that youth are the backbone. I have always had some questions when I hear that youth being referred to as the future of the church. The youth is present in the church, we see so much energy, and we see much love in what youths bring into the communion. We have a commitment as LWF to youth in life of the communion. With our strong concern for the neighbor and particularly for the suffering neighbor, I think we have very strong resources to bring into the political discussion. One thing is clear to me; it can’t go on as it is now. In Curitiba in 1990 we made a strong commitment to youth participation in the life of the communion. We continue to work on these commitments and try to implement them. Youth and women in many of our modern churches are the pillars of the congregations and are keeping them alive in many respects. So it is only natural that as we come together that they will also have a space and a role to play.
So what are your immediate plans for the communion as the LWF General Secretary Elect?
Again, I would like to reiterate that I would like to come in as a General Secretary who listens what the churches encourage as a communion of churches. And for our ongoing spiritual journey it is quite evident that we have some tasks which we have to deal with. First of all, we are at a stage where the global communion is a reality. Sixty years ago when the LWF was founded, Lutheran churches and the federation were located only in certain parts of the world, now it’s a global reality and we have many regional centers with churches confronting their own contexts. At the same time, I think we are recognizing the challenge of communication and facilitating transcontinental dialogue between churches located in various parts of the world. So I think we will have to work towards creating the methodology and the instrument so that we can better be in dialogue. There are see some of the challenges that I have.
You accept this appointment at a time in which the church faces so many challenges.
First of all, I think there has never been a church that has not been confronted with so many challenges. The church has always been confronted with difficult questions with harsh realities and it has been crying to give its voice into those contexts. We have a great task as a communion of churches to be a global communion. Many of the questions which we have to deal with today which are about our survival in the future and they require global institutions to address them. I think the LWF is in an excellent position in this respect and I hope that together with other ecumenical confessions like WCC we will be able to try to bring a voice that gives hope for the many questions which we have to deal with today, climate change, poverty, HIV/AIDS and many others.