Sunday, September 24, 2006

Indigenous Peoples From All Over the World Deliver Important Message for LWF

Land rights linked to human rights critical in declaration

They worked hard and late each day during the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) consultation on "An Indigenous Communion" in Karasjok, Norway, 20-24 September 2006, to knock together a strong message to present to the LWF on the establishment of a specific program for indigenous people.

In the message the 27 participants called on the LWF to establish an advisory group within itself in 2007, with a dedicated staff member in Geneva responsible. Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and the Pacific should each have one indigenous representative in this group, and the group should meet at least once a year, said the message.


Three themes were chosen as the most important:
  • Human Rights/Land Rights.
  • Facilitating networking for indigenous peoples through regional and international consultations and exchange programs.
  • Theological and ethical study (Gospel and Culture), and indigenous spirituality.
Commenting on the message Rev. Tore Johnsen, a Sámi pastor said: "It will move the process forward as we articulated our expectations from the LWF in the message we wrote. I am quite satisfied with the outcome as the discussion brought some important contributions."

Please click to download the Message of the LWF Consultation "An Indigenous Communion" in Karasjok.
(Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to access this link - pdf/131 kb)

Les indigènes du monde entier envoient un message d'importance à la FLM

Ils ont travaillé dur pour réussir à réunir leurs différentes préoccupations dans un document commun, particulièrement fort, adressé à la FLM. Les 27 délégués plaident pour la mise en place d'un groupe de suivi, réunissant un représentant de chaque continent et soutenu par un membre permanent, salarié, à Genève.

Trois thèmes de réflexion ont été retenus :
  • Droits de l'Homme/Droit à la terre.
  • Facilitation du travail en réseau pour les peuples indigènes à travers des rencontres internationales et par continent et des programmes d'échange.
  • Étude théologique et éthique (Évangile et culture), et spiritualité indigène.
Pour le pasteur Tore Johnsen, "cela fera avancer le processus : nous avons pu formuler nos attentes à l'égard de la FLM dans le message que nous avons écrit."

Cliquez pour télécharger le message de la conférence "An Indigenous Communion" (en anglais seulement) de Karasjok. (Adobe Acrobat Reader est nécessaire pour ouvrir ce lien - pdf/131 ko)

Young Communicators Get Special Privilege to Practice Journalism

Budding journalists learn how to communicate on Web log about indigenous issues

Taking a part in the consultation, "An Indigenous Communion" in Karasjok, northern Norway, all in our group of youth communicators from Croatia, Finland, Hungary, Norway, Poland and Russia gained invaluable experience.

It was uplifting and inspiring for us to meet and interact with participants who came to the five-day meeting from every corner of the globe.

We learned much about the lives of those present, about their lives as indigenous people, their nature, culture, mother tongues and how many have had to fight for them.

We can influence each other and also exchange experiences and ideas, not only about life, but also some gems about the theological, social and ethnic particulars of others. We learned especially about the Sámi People who live in Norway's historical Finmark territory close to the Arctic Circle.

There we shared culture and stories and we got to know a little about how the Sámi live, and about their situation in the economically rich country of Norway.

Throughout the consultation, working with the Web log, writing news stories and doing interviews, we had a special opportunity to learn more about the craft of journalism and were able improve our skills in English communication, learning about the intricacies of grammar and philology.

posted by Olga Klimenkova, Russia

The stories and memories of the indigenous peoples are still available

The Karasjok consultation ended some hours ago. Seven young communicators and four mentors have been finalizing stories for the Web log this evening. Outside the press room, the northern hemisphere is waiting for winter. Autumn will lose its fight in days.

Our days in Karasjok have shown how a Web log begins to live. The indigenous peoples from different parts of the world have gone back home but their stories and memories are still available. Those won’t be gone in a few days. Thanks to the Web log.

posted by Tuomas Kurttila, Finland

Please click here for more information on the participants of the European region consultation of the ongoing LWF training program for young adults "Towards a Communicating Communion – A Youth Vision".

Read More Stories on the LWF Consultation "An Indigenous Communion"

To access over 30 posts of this Web log including news stories and interviews please click on “Previous Posts” or the daily “Archives” on the right hand navigation (on red background).

Greenland Lutherans Need More Male Pastors Says Female Bishop

Greenland bishop says she travels a lot

Greenland has a chronic shortage of male pastors, says Inuit Bishop Sofie Petersen. There ordained women outnumber men in the church nearly three to one.

"In Greenland there are only 56,000 inhabitants. Most of them are Lutherans," says the bishop. "In my church there are 25 pastors, but only nine of them are males. What's more there are three deans in our church and two of them are women."

Petersen, who heads the Greenland diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark adds, "I really think that we miss our male pastors."

She began her work in 1987, and at that time she was only the second woman to be ordained in Greenland.

"I decided to become a pastor when I was 11 years old. My father was a pastor," said the bishop who is divorced and has one son. "I like to serve God and people, who need to hear the Good News."

She notes: "I am proud to be indigenous," adding that Inuit people make up 81 percent of the population of the population of the far northern province of Denmark, Greenland.

"I don't know how it is to be a male bishop, therefore I can't say if it is difficult to be a woman bishop. I know that there is a lot of traveling. I am not feminist and in our church we are seriously thinking how to get more males working in church work," says Bishop Petersen.

Les luthériens du Groenland manque de pasteurs masculins

Sofie Petersen, évêque du diocèse du Groenland de l'Église Évangélique Luthérienne du Danemark insiste beaucoup sur le manque d'hommes au sein du corps pastoral de son Église : "Au Groenland, il n'y a que 56.000 habitants. La majorité d'entre eux sont luthériens. Dans mon Église, il y a vingt-cinq pasteurs, mais neuf d'entre eux seulement sont des hommes."

Deuxième femme ordonnée pasteur au Groenland, en 1987, elle trouve que sa tâche épiscopale exige beaucoup de voyages : "Je ne sais pas ce que c'est que d'être un homme évêque, je ne peux par conséquent pas vous dire s'il est difficile d'être une femme évêque."

Karasjok Participants Agree: Land and Territory Fundamental to All Human Rights

Indigenous expectations from the LWF are high

The LWF consultation on "An Indigenous Communion" in Karasjok has just ended. Lawyer Ruben Chacon from the Lutheran Costarican Church (ILCO) is satisfied with the final resolution of the conference.

"It's good to continue the work of the Lutheran World Federation for indigenous people”, Chacon says, noting that the Latin American group at the conference managed to get their most important points into the resolution.

Chacon knows how problematic the situation of indigenous people is in Latin America. The principal problem that the indigenous people suffer in the case of Costa Rica refers to a lack of application of the norms that have been issued to protect their rights.

The ownership and productive use of land are especially on the Costa Rican political agenda. The statement of the Karasjok consultation states that rights to land and territory, is a "cross cutting issue for all human rights".

For days Chacon has been noting the living conditions of Norway's Sámi people. "They are privileged compared to the indigenous people in Latin America," he says.

Chacon hopes the resolution passed by the 27 participants adopted in the conference will make a difference, but it is not enough.

"I have realized, the Sámi people have really fought for their rights," says Chacon. "This is a good example for other indigenous groups."

La terre et le territoire sont fondamentaux concernant les droits humains

Ruben Chacon, juriste, membre de l'Église luthérienne du Costa Rica, est satisfait du message final rédigé par la conférence : "Les points soulevés par les délégués Sud-Américains ont tous trouvé leur place dans la résolution." Les principales questions quant à la défense des droits des peuples indigènes sont liées aux questions des droits à la terre.

Ayant observé le mode de vie des Sámis, pendant les six jours passés à Karasjok, il constate qu'ils sont privilégiés parmi les peuples minoritaires. "J'ai réalisé ici combien les Sámis ont lutté pour leurs droits. C'est un bon exemple pour les autres groupes indigènes."

Luke's Martha and Mary Account Is Sermon at Worship in Karasjok

Sámi greeted with cultural expressions from all over world

The participants of the LWF consultation "An Indigenous Communion" joined the Karasjok congregation for Sunday worship and local residents said it was the fullest it had been for some time.

The service was colored by many languages and cultural expressions; Maori from New Zealand and Namibian San singing, an aboriginal reading from Australia and Indian preaching.

The story about Martha and Mary was read from the Gospel of Luke. Elina Horo from India shared her reflections about the Martha and Mary in the time of Jesus, and now in our time.

She spoke of contextualizing the Gospel and this was followed by a confession ceremony, involving congregants kneeling before the pastors who gave absolution. The participants shared the Eucharist and received the Lord's Blessing before they were sent out to report to their communities all over the world.

Marthe et Marie au coeur de la prédication du culte de clôture

La conférence a pris fin en se joignant à la communauté locale de Karasjok. Le culte a pris les couleurs de toutes les langues et origines représentées. Elina Horo, d'Inde, a repris le récit de l'Évangile de Luc au sujet des deux soeurs, Marthe et Marie, pour le contextualiser et éclairer ainsi la semaine d'échanges.

C'est à genoux que les fidèles ont reçu l'absolution de la part du pasteur avant de recevoir la communion.

Seul, grand absent de la célébration, manquait le joik, le chant traditionnel des Sámi. Exprimant tous les aspects de la vie et tous les instants de la vie de ces nomades éleveurs de rennes, il a été interdit dès le 16e siècle par l'Église, assimilé au chamanisme que pratiquait ce peuple.