I have been working as an intern at the Lutheran Office for World Community (LOWC) in New York since February. It has been the most eye-opening opportunity to engage with passionate people with their hearts and souls on fire for justice.
LOWC is the Lutheran representation to the United Nations under the joint ministry of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA).
My early weeks here required acclimatising to the cold of a northern winter and navigating both the New York subway and American tipping system.
I have been immersed in an array of issues of concern to Lutherans around the world discussed at the United Nations headquarters, the Church Center for United Nations (where LOWC is located) and at the International Baha’i Office. I have had the opportunity to attend many side events, panels and high-level meetings, covering issues such as migration, ending gender-based violence, women’s rights and climate change, to name just a few.
This internship has allowed me to connect with a diverse group of Christians from all over the world during the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), a two-week event discussing better social protection for empowering women and girls. Our office welcomed 32 Lutheran delegates who actively participated in a range of activities and events during this time.
During CSW, I was part of an interfaith collaboration with interns from other denominations, including Methodists, Mennonites, Presbyterians and members of the Salvation Army, to create a morning worship service around Acts 4:32–37 and the CSW worship theme ‘Strengthened by God, Working for Justice’. What struck me most was being able to see the first verse in action around me, ‘all the believers were one in heart and mind’. People from all over the world, from many different backgrounds, were here, advocating with the same powerful desire for a just world.
Those in the LOWC office also participate in ecumenical advocacy days in Washington DC, an opportunity for the ecumenical Christian community to gather to strengthen our collaborative voice.
I am also excited to continue maintaining the new website for Ecumenical Women at the UN (www.ecumenicalwomenun.org) for the 12 months of my internship and will also create a social media presence for the Faith and Feminism Working Group to the UN as I continue to work with LOWC to advocate for peace, human rights and justice.
Rebecca Anderson is a member at Trinity Lutheran Church at Ashmore in Queensland.
What is the Lutheran Office for World Community?
- The Lutheran Office for World Community (LOWC) is the Lutheran representation to the United Nations.
- A joint ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran World Federation, it exists because Lutherans are concerned about world problems.
- LOWC speaks for peace, fundamental human rights, justice, respect for international law and better standards of living for all persons.
- It monitors issues of concern to the church, networks with other faith-based and non-governmental organisations, and enables church members to be heard at United Nations.
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