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Lutheran World Federation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lutheran World Federation
LWF logo.svg
PresidentMusa Panti Filibus
General SecretaryMartin Junge [de]
HeadquartersEcumenical Centre
(Geneva, Switzerland)
Members74 million
Official Edit this at Wikidata

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF; German: Lutherischer Weltbund) is a global communion of national and regional Lutheran denominations headquartered in the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland. The federation was founded in the Swedish city of Lund in the aftermath of the Second World War in 1947 to coordinate the activities of the many differing Lutheran churches. Since 1984, the member churches are in pulpit and altar fellowship, with common doctrine as the basis of membership and mission activity.

The LWF now has 145 member church bodies in 89 countries representing over 74 million Lutherans.[1] The LWF acts on behalf of its member churches in areas of common interest such as ecumenical and interfaith relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human rights, communication, and the various aspects of mission and development work.

The Department for World Service is the LWF's humanitarian and development arm. It has programmes in 24 countries and is the UNHCR 9th largest implementing partner. The LWF is a member of ACT Alliance.

On 31 October 1999 in Augsburg, Germany, the Lutheran World Federation signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification with the Roman Catholic Church. The statement is an attempt to narrow the theological divide between the two faiths. The declaration also states that the mutual condemnations between 16th-century Lutherans and the Roman Catholic Church no longer apply. A similar event took place in Lund Cathedral at the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation when Pope Francis visited Scania, Sweden's southernmost province that originally was Danish.[2][3]

119 of the 145 member churches (80%) ordain women as ministers.[4]


The LWF was founded at Lund, Sweden, in 1947. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, it replaced the more informal Lutheran World Convention, which had been founded in 1924. The goal was to coordinate international activities of the many Lutheran churches, to provide a forum for discussions on theological and organizational issues, and to assist in philanthropy, missionary activity, and exchange of students and professors. A key leader was Executive Secretary Sylvester C. Michelfelder (1889–1951), representing the American Lutheran Church. He had been a leader in organizing $45 million in American help for the rebuilding of Protestant churches in Germany after 1945. By the time of his death in 1951, the federation represented 52 churches in 25 countries.[5]

Largest churches

The 20 largest member churches are (with number of members in millions; 2016 statistics):

Federation officials


The President is the federation's chief official representative and spokesperson. He or she presides at meetings of the Assembly, Council and Meeting of Officers, and oversees the life and work of the federation in consultation with the General Secretary.[23]

Portrait Name Term Church Nationality
Anders Nygren.jpg
Anders Nygren
1947–1952 Church of Sweden  Sweden
Bundesarchiv Bild 194-0703-04, Kassel, 2. CVJM-Europa-Konferenz.jpg
Hanns Lilje
1952–1957 Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Hanover  Germany
3 Franklin Clark Fry
1957–1963  United States
4 Fredrik A. Schiotz
1963–1970 American Lutheran Church  United States
Mikko Juva
1970–1977 Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland  Finland
6 Josiah Kibira
1977–1984 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania  Tanzania
7 Zoltán Káldy [de]
1984–1987 Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Hungary  Hungary
8 Johannes Hanselmann [de]
1987–1990 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria  Germany
9 Gottfried Brakemeier [pt]
(born 1937)
1990–1997 Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil  Brazil
10 Christian Krause [de]
(born 1940)
1997–2003 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brunswick  Germany
Mark hanson.jpg
Mark Hanson
(born 1946)
2003–2010 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America  United States
Munib Younan 2015.jpg
Munib Younan
(born 1950)
2010–2017 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land  Palestine
13 Musa Filibus
(born 1960)
2017–present The Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria  Nigeria

General Secretary

The Lutheran World Federation Council elects the General Secretary, who is appointed for a seven-year term. The person appointed is eligible for re-election. The General Secretary conducts the business of the federation assisted by the Communion Office Leadership Team, comprising department and unit heads appointed by the Council, and carries out the decisions of the Assembly and Council.[24]

Name Term Nationality
1 Sylvester Michelfelder
1947–1951  United States
2 Carl Lund-Quist [de]
1951–1960  United States
3 Kurt Schmidt-Clausen [de]
1960–1965  Germany
4 André Appel [fr]
1965–1974  France
5 Carl Henning Mau Jr.
1974–1985  United States
6 Gunnar Stålsett
(born 1935)
1985–1994  Norway
7 Ishmael Noko
(born 1943)
1994–2010  Zimbabwe
8 Martin Junge [de]
(born 1961)
2010–present  Chile


This map shows the global distribution of Lutheranism based on The LWF 2013 membership data.[25][a]

Lutheranism by country in 2013, Lutheran World Federation member churches

Sorted by country in alphabetical order

  • Angola
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Angola
  • Argentina
Evangelical Church of the River Plate (includes Paraguay and Uruguay)
United Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Australia
Lutheran Church of Australia (includes New Zealand) – associate member church (also an associate member of the International Lutheran Council)
  • Austria
Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Austria
  • Bangladesh
Bangladesh Lutheran Church
Bangladesh Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Belarus
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and Other States
  • Belgium
Lutheran Church of Belgium: Arlon and Christian Mission
  • Bolivia
Bolivian Evangelical Lutheran Church
German-Speaking Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Bolivia
  • Botswana
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Botswana
  • Brazil
Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil
  • Cameroon
Church of the Lutheran Brethren of Cameroon
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cameroon
  • Canada
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
  • Central African Republic
Lutheran Church of the Central African Republic
  • Chile
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile
Lutheran Church in Chile
  • China (Hong Kong SAR)
The Chinese Rhenish Church Hong Kong Synod
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hong Kong
Hong Kong and Macau Lutheran Church
Tsung Tsin Mission of Hong Kong
  • Colombia
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia
St Matthew's Lutheran Congregation
St. Martin's Lutheran Congregation
  • Congo, Democratic Republic of
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Congo
  • Costa Rica
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Costa Rica
Lutheran Costarican Church
  • Croatia
Evangelical Church in the Republic of Croatia
  • Czech Republic
Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren
Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession
  • Denmark
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark (includes Church of Greenland, but not the Church of the Faroe Islands)
  • Ecuador
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ecuador
  • El Salvador
Salvadoran Lutheran Church
  • Eritrea
Evangelical Church of Eritrea
  • Estonia
Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Ethiopia
Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (also a member of the Global Confessional and Missional Lutheran Forum)
  • Finland
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland
  • France
Union of Protestant Churches of Alsace and Lorraine
United Protestant Church of France
Malagasy Protestant Church in France
  • Ghana
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana (also a full member of the International Lutheran Council)
  • Georgia
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and Other States
  • Germany
Church of Lippe, Lutheran Classis
Evangelical Church in Central Germany
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Baden
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brunswick
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldenburg
Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saxony
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Schaumburg-Lippe
Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad
  • Guatemala
Evangelical Lutheran Congregation "La Epifania"
  • Guyana
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana
  • Hungary
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary
  • Honduras
Christian Lutheran Church of Honduras
  • Iceland
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland
  • India
Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Madhya Pradesh
Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Himalayan States
Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church
Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chotanagpur and Assam
India Evangelical Lutheran Church (also a full member of the International Lutheran Council)
Jeypore Evangelical Lutheran Church
Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church
South Andhra Lutheran Church
The Arcot Lutheran Church
The Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Indonesia
Batak Christian Community Church
Christian Communion of Indonesia Church in Nias
Christian Evangelical Church in Minahasa[citation needed]
Christian Protestant Church in Indonesia
Christian Protestant Angkola Church
Evangelical Church in Kalimantan
Indonesian Christian Lutheran Church (also a member of the Global Confessional and Missional Lutheran Forum)
Pakpak Dairi Christian Protestant Church
Protestant Christian Batak Church
The Protestant Christian Church
Protestant Christian Church in Mentawai
Simalungun Protestant Christian Church
The United Protestant Church
  • Ireland
The Lutheran Church in Ireland
  • Italy
Lutheran Evangelical Church in Italy
  • Japan
Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church
Japan Lutheran Church – associate member church (also a full member of the International Lutheran Council)
Kinki Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Jordan
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan & the Holy Land
  • Kazakhstan
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and Other States
  • Kenya
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (also a full member of the International Lutheran Council and a member of the Global Confessional and Missional Lutheran Forum)
Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Korea, Republic
Lutheran Church in Korea (also a full member of the International Lutheran Council)
  • Kyrgyzstan
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and Other States
  • Latvia
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia
  • Liberia
Lutheran Church in Liberia
  • Liechtenstein
Federation of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lithuania
  • Madagascar
Malagasy Lutheran Church (also a full member of the International Lutheran Council)
  • Malawi
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi
  • Malaysia
Basel Christian Church of Malaysia
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malaysia
Lutheran Church in Malaysia and Singapore
The Protestant Church in Sabah
  • Mexico
German-Speaking Evangelical Congregation in Mexico
Mexican Lutheran Church
  • Mozambique
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mozambique
  • Myanmar
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Myanmar
Lutheran Church of Myanmar
Myanmar Lutheran Church (also an associate member of the International Lutheran Council)
The Mara Evangelical Church
  • Namibia
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN – GELC)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN)
  • Nepal
Nepal Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Netherlands
Protestant Church in the Netherlands
  • Nicaragua
Nicaraguan Lutheran Church of Faith and Hope
  • Nigeria
Lutheran Church in Nigeria
The Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria
  • Norway
Church of Norway
Evangelical Lutheran Free Church of Norway
  • Palestine
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan & the Holy Land
  • Peru
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Peru
Peruvian Lutheran Evangelical Church
  • Papua New Guinea
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea
Gutnius Lutheran Church (also a full member of the International Lutheran Council)
  • Philippines
Lutheran Church in the Philippines (also a full member of the International Lutheran Council)
  • Poland
Evangelical Church of Augsburg Confession in Poland
  • Romania
Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Romania
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Romania
  • Russia
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and Other States
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia (also a full member of the International Lutheran Council)
  • Rwanda
Lutheran Church of Rwanda
  • Senegal
Lutheran Church of Senegal
  • Serbia
Slovak Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Serbia
  • Sierra Leone
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
Lutheran Church in Singapore
  • Slovak Republic
Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovenia
  • South Africa
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (Cape Church)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (N-T) [de]
Moravian Church in South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
Lanka Lutheran Church (also a full member of the International Lutheran Council)
  • Suriname
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Suriname
  • Sweden
Church of Sweden
  • Switzerland
Federation of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein
  • Taiwan (Republic of China)
Lutheran Church of Taiwan
Taiwan Lutheran Church
  • Tanzania
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (also a member of the Global Confessional and Missional Lutheran Forum)
  • Thailand
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thailand
  • Ukraine
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and Other States
  • United Kingdom
Lutheran Church in Great Britain
The Lutheran Council of Great Britain
  • United States of America
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Uruguay
Evangelical Church of the River Plate
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and Other States
  • Venezuela
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Venezuela
Lutheran Church of Venezuela
  • Zambia
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe

Views on same-sex unions

Some member denominations have recognized same-gender unions through marriage, a blessing rite, or special prayers. These include the Church of Denmark, Church of Iceland, Church of Norway, Church of Sweden, Evangelical Church in Austria, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Chile, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Geneva, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Italy, a majority of the churches within the Evangelical Church in Germany, Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil, Evangelical Church of the River Plate, Protestant Church in the Netherlands, and the United Protestant Church of France.[26]

On the other side, several churches, including the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, the Malagasy Lutheran Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lithuania, which recognize marriage as solely the union between a man and a woman, have broken ties with many of the churches supporting same-gender unions.[27]

See also


  1. ^ One of the countries with a higher number of Lutherans is the United States. The LWF does not include the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and several other Lutheran bodies which together have over 2.5 million members.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "About the LWF". The Lutheran World Federation. August 2016.
  2. ^ "The Lutheran World Federation". The Lutheran World Federation. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Pope Francis to visit Sweden for Reformation commemoration". 25 January 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  4. ^ "More than 80 percent of LWF churches ordain women". The Lutheran World Federation. 2 June 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  5. ^ Schjørring, Kumari & Hjelm 1997; Wentz 1965.
  6. ^ "Ethiopia | The Lutheran World Federation". Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  7. ^ "Tanzania | The Lutheran World Federation". Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  8. ^ "In English". Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  9. ^ "Indonesia | The Lutheran World Federation". Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  10. ^ "Denmark | The Lutheran World Federation". Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  11. ^ "Väestönmuutokset 2015*" (PDF). Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. 28 January 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2016.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Norway | The Lutheran World Federation". Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  13. ^ "ELCA Facts". Archived from the original on 25 September 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  14. ^ "India | The Lutheran World Federation". Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  15. ^ "Madagascar | The Lutheran World Federation". Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  16. ^ a b c "Germany | The Lutheran World Federation". Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  17. ^ "Nigeria | The Lutheran World Federation". Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  18. ^ a b "Germany | The Lutheran World Federation". Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  19. ^ "Netherlands | The Lutheran World Federation". Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  20. ^ "World Map || Latin America and Caribbean || Brazil". Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  21. ^ "Namibia - The Lutheran World Federation". Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  22. ^ "South Africa | The Lutheran World Federation". Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-12-24. Retrieved 2011-12-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-22. Retrieved 2012-01-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "The Lutheran World Federation 2013 Membership Figures" (PDF). Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  26. ^ "Gay Marriage Around the World". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 26 June 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  27. ^ "Ethiopian Church Severs Ties With Lutherans Over Homosexuality". Christian Post. Retrieved 17 June 2016.


  • Schjørring, Jens Holger; Kumari, Prasanna; Hjelm, Norman A., eds. (1997). From Federation to Communion: The History of the Lutheran World Federation. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Fortress Press. ISBN 978-0-8006-3110-9.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
Wentz, Abdel Ross (1965). "The Lutheran World Federation". In Bodensieck, Julius (ed.). The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church. 2. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House. pp. 1422–1432.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External links

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