During 3rd—6th July took place the General Assembly of Lutherans Concerned North America (LCNA) in San Francisco, California. Over 300 participants have gathered from all USA and Canada. The ‘Hearts on Fire’ convention has been held most of the time in San Francisco State University, in California, less than two months since the State Supreme Court legalized marriage for same-gender couples.
What is LCNA?
LCNA is an organization founded as the result of a meeting held in June 1974 at the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It meets biannually: last conference was in Toronto (2006). It is divided into ten regions. This brother/sister organization has had different ties with European Forum since for long time. Last year, for example, a member of LCNA participated in Strassbourg’s 2007 Forum.
The Forum at LCNA
The European Forum has been invited to participate by the LCNA’s International Programs Section through its director Philip Moeller. On July 3rd LCNA Board of Directors welcomed me, Enric Vilà as Forum’s representative at the Assembly. On 4th July, I made a greeting thankful speech introducing European Forum to the audience. Later on the same day, European’s Forum presentation was developed in PowerPoint at the workshop on International Organizations which exist to help people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Our participation was shared with the pastoral advisor to the Free Community Church in Malaysia and Singapore. Several questions were asked by participants in a friendly context.
St Mark’s Lutheran Church in the city centre of San Francisco hosted the Opening Eucharist. The new Bishop of Sierra Pacifica (diocese of San Francisco) Rev. Mark Holmrud was present there. Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson also addressed a speech to the audience. His consecration as the first openly gay, partnered Anglican bishop of New Hampshire launched a global conversation about sexuality in Christianity in the Anglican Communion. Gene Robinson emphasized he would attend next Conference of Lambeth in July in UK: LGBT people exist though certain African bishops pretend to ignore us. For him we are in the important beginning of the end of patriarchy. We are all loved children of God and Holy Spirit’s experience is all about.
LCNA is committed to anti-racism as an organisation, so all aspects of this training attempt to. A resolution on racism has passed during those days. I attended the pre-assembly event workshop on racism. Among other assembly’s important events: Reflections on healing and reconciliation’s Event was based on how we build new communities of justice, and we reach out to one another to widen the circle of transformation. Gene Robinson’s Workshop was an opportunity to present and invite him to come to European Forum. I love to tell the story session’s Event allowed all participants to realize how important is to tell the story of our salvation put it into practice. Everyday sessions began with a biblical study offered to all participants. The one on Emmaus passage invited all of us to pilgrim in God’s Love of liberation.
LCNA, represented by Philip Moeller, and European Forum, represented by me, have agreed to present to our respective Boards the firm proposal to strengthen collaboration. For this we issued a joint communiqué: 2008 LCNA joint statement. These are some areas where the two organizations envision possible collaboration:
- Exchange representatives at their respective annual and biennial meetings;
- Develop Joint Statements and Press Releases on specific issues;
- Develop joint policy, concept, and/or strategic documents;
- Develop and implement a strategic plan for advancing recognition of the importance of religious witness, specifically with the context of LGBT issues, by targeted international, regional and/or national organizations; and
- Develop international programs considered relative to respective concerns of the two organizations, including aspects of design, sponsorship, and implementation.