FEATURE: Lutheran Service Agencies Create a Kaleidoscope of Color
Churches Illustrate their Work at the Assembly in Stuttgart
STUTTGART, Germany/GENEVA, 2 August 2010 – During its Eleventh Assembly, the Lutheran communion transformed the elegant simplicity of the great Beethoven foyer in the Liederhalle Convention and Cultural Center in Stuttgart, Germany, into images and objects of interest that reflect the diversity of Lutheran diakonia.
Every exhibit the visitor’s gaze might happen upon told a story of overcoming adversity or of hope, love and life. Exhibits from Latin America, Asia, and Africa were presented by women inspired by the churches in their countries to produce crafts and food, which they proudly offered to delegates and others present.
At the Tanzanian display was clothing reflecting the satisfaction and hope of women who, with the income earned from their sales, can put a varied diet on their families’ tables or can supplement their own resources to pay for their children’s education.
At the Central American exhibit, the churches from the region developed the Assembly theme “Give us today our daily bread” in a variety of ways. Their exhibit displayed bread, candy, coffee, a beautiful hammock and publications illustrated with local symbols and photographs.
According to Bishop Medardo Gómez of the Salvadoran Lutheran Church, “You will be able to see that our work of pastoral care, evangelism, teaching and preaching is accompanied by service to the community and development initiatives, for we are very vulnerable peoples with many social problems. When we proclaim that God loves people, we have to do it in practical ways. Diakonia is one such way.”
Alongside the national exhibits, aid agencies and organizations gave information on society, the environment and their financial stewardship.
A large display showing tropical rural ecosystems demonstrated the viability of 13 projects dealing with natural disasters and aimed at restoring land productivity and ensuring soil conservation. Seven interactive displays gave statistics illustrating the effects of climate change.
In the middle of the exhibition area, there was a large canvas, blank as the Assembly began and on which Latin American artists painted a work conceived by the public, that is, visitors who paint or are interested in reflecting on the Assembly theme or suggesting a subject. The final product was donated to a Stuttgart school.
This exhibition was a genuine result of the world Lutheran communion. It symbolized the great diversity of accents to be heard and also the variety of Christian work all over the world, which takes visible form in products, services, cultures and a great variety of activities. (423 words)