The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) member churches in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) meeting in São Leopoldo, Brazil, agreed to continue their efforts to promote the sustainability of churches in the region as part of their service to society.
The event from 19- 21 August explored the theme of “Leadership and Management for Sustainable Churches” and was organised by the LAC Sustainability Institute.
The Sustainability Institute, which is based at the Faculdades EST [Higher School of Theology] in São Leopoldo and was launched last year, is the result of a partnership between the LWF Department for Mission and Development (DMD) LAC desk and the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil (IECLB).
The Institute works primarily with the LWF member churches promoting the value of management and leadership grounded in theological reflection. It has established a network of tutors to strengthen the training of new leaders and uses online education as an important tool. The Institute plans to enhance its educational activity with civil society, the business sector and state organizations to develop sustainability programs.
Since the creation of “The Sustainability Program” in 2007, the LWF churches in the region have focused on working together by “building networks as a result of listening and sharing with one another about the ecclesiastic challenges in bringing about change,” said Rev. Ilo Utech from The Nicaraguan Lutheran Church of Faith and Hope.
“The project enables churches to generate their own institutional, administrative, financial and institutional changes. The program belongs to every church and helps strengthen their service in the contexts in which they are based,” said Regional Coordinator Gustavo Driau.
The Sustainability Program is, therefore, the result of various expressions and connections between different languages, cultural, liturgical and ecclesiological approaches. Together with Women and Gender Justice, HIV & AIDS, and the Youth networks, the Sustainability Institute is an important part of theological education.
“It seeks to promote the link between existing networks because each of these has the ability to contribute and be a tool for constructing knowledge. The Sustainability Institute is a new space in the network of churches that allows for the expansion and enrichment of relationships,” said DMD area secretary for LAC Rev. Dr Patricia Cuyatti.
As these relationships grow, the gift is “proximity and collaboration with academia that promotes careful listening among the churches themselves,” she added.
The meeting emphasized the prophetic mission of churches in promoting and providing opportunities to ensure sustainability as well as allowing for change and healing. Fifty percent of churches in the region have started participatory strategic planning (PEP) to help define their vision, mission, objectives and strategies in coming years.
The Sustainability Institute builds on the spirit of the document, “Linking Theological Research and Sustainability,” which was presented at Managua by Gustavo Driau of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELU) in Argentina. It is connected to the Good Governance and Transformative Leadership Program in DMD.
Sustainability Program Website: http://sustentabilidad.wordpress.com/author/sustentabilidad/
Sustainability Institute Website: http://www.est.edu.br/sustentabilidad/
Photo: Participants at the LAC sustainability meeting (LWF LAC)
Source: Lutheran World Federation, LWF: http://www.lutheranworld.org/news/lac-meeting-focuses-management-and-leadership-sustainable-churches
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