Assembly: Village groups will explore the theme in community

20 Jul 2023

The village groups at the Thirteenth Assembly will bring together participants in discussion about the Assembly theme, offering diverse perspectives from the global communion. LWF’s Katariina Kiilunen, and Chad Rimmer share insights into the importance of the groups.

Village groups during the LWF Twelfth Assembly. Photo: LWF/Johanan Celine Valeriano

Village groups during the LWF Twelfth Assembly. Photo: LWF/Johanan Celine Valeriano

A space to reflect and learn from each other

(LWI) - Village groups are essential to The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Assemblies. Each group of about 20 people will meet following thematic plenaries and allow participants to reflect together and discuss the theme of the day.  

“The groups are designed to foster diversity and inclusivity, bringing together individuals from different regions, genders, and age groups.” says Katariina Kiilunen, LWF Program Executive for Capacity Building and Leadership Development. “Participants bring their contextual perspective and really have a participatory place to share and work through some of the questions that are arising.”

“It's unique because we will use a fishbowl methodology. Delegates will be seated in the center discussing the topic surrounded by guests and advisors in an outer circle” says Chad Rimmer, LWF Program Executive for Identity, Communion and Formation. “This approach will help guide the conversations with an emphasis on both open contributions and listening. The goal of this process is to generate consensus for the Assembly message.”

Shaping the Assembly message  

By actively joining in discussions, village group participants can contribute directly and through that help shape the Assembly message and the overall outcome of the Assembly. The unique structure streamlines this process.

“In each group, there is a chair and a co-chair who facilitates the discussion and reflections. But then there is also a reporter who records the reflections and submits a report at end of each session to the editorial committee” Kiilunen says. “This means village groups are really the place to provide input for the message of the Assembly.”

“The Assembly takes place in a radically different context,” says Rev. Rimmer, “coming off of COVID and the many realities we're facing in the world today. These community spaces will be a setting for profound discernment and even hopefully pastoral care and building each other up. The village groups provide not only a space for sharing ideas but also for pastoral care and support, especially in light of the challenges faced in the world today.”

The Thirteenth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation takes place 13-19 September 2023 in Krakow, Poland. The theme of the Assembly will be “One Body, One Spirit, One Hope”. It will be hosted by the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland. 

LWF/T. Rakoto