In what the Rev. Mark S. Hanson described as possibly “the most significant legacy this assembly will leave,” the Eleventh Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) here took the historic step of asking the Mennonites for forgiveness for past persecutions…
The LWF statement, passed unanimously on July 22 calls on “Lutherans to express their regret and sorrow for past wrongdoings towards Anabaptists and asking for forgiveness.”
Through the adoption of the statement, titled “Action on the Legacy of Lutheran Persecution of Anabaptists,” Lutherans repent for violent persecution of Anabaptists and for the ways in which Lutheran reformers supported persecutions with theological arguments, the release said. The statement asks for forgiveness “from God and from our Mennonite sisters and brothers” for past wrongdoings and the ways in which Lutherans subsequently forgot or ignored this persecution and have continued to describe Anabaptists in misleading and damaging ways.
The ELCA passed a similar resolution in 2006.
Rev. Danisa Ndlovu, president of the Mennonite World Conference responded to the LWF statement, saying, “Today, in this place, we together — Lutherans and Anabaptist Mennonites — are fulfilling the rule of Christ.”
Bishop Mark Hanson, president of the LWF and presiding bishop of the ELCA was presented with a wooden foot-washing tub by Rev. Ndlovu.