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in an LWF Assembly for the First Time
Pastor Julia Helmke: "In Hong Kong Everything was New and
was new and exciting - so says Rev. Julia Helmke, describing her
experiences as a youth delegate of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
in Bavaria at the 1997 LWF Ninth Assembly in Hong Kong, China.
Currently a pastor in Munich, Germany, Julia, 33, will be one of the
delegates representing her church at the Tenth Assembly in Winnipeg.
She talked about her first LWF Assembly experience with Assembly
run-up to the LWF Ninth Assembly, Rev. Julia Helmke was confronted
with a host of important questions. How could she represent her
church, what forms of active participation were foreseen? And, above
all, what would be expected of her as a youth delegate?
began to gather experience during the preparatory youth conference,
attended by around 120 young Lutherans from all over the world.
"We ‘rehearsed’ the Assembly with committees and plenary
meetings, we discussed the topics, we got acquainted—at every meal,
at late-night sessions on the final resolution, at crisis sessions,
dancing, in the interpersonal ups and downs," she recalls.
worship services were wonderful points of rest and an indescribable
source of strength during the Assembly. It was very inspiring to
sing and pray together, meet at the Lord’s Table, and hear the
Word of God in many languages and interpretations. She is still
enthusiastic about this opportunity to meet with Lutherans from all
over the world. The concept of worldwide communion began to become
for the forthcoming Assembly—To be open-minded and look forward to
the event in a relaxed way. She advises newcomers in particular, not
to be intimidated and shy of people who act as though they know
everything and seem to treat the global gathering as only a matter
of daily routine or an inner group for church policy-makers. An
assembly, she notes, is too unique and valuable for every individual.
And she encourages every participant to speak up and ask questions
even in a language that they do not speak fluently.
convinced that "attending an assembly is an honor, a gift, a
mission and a time filled to the brim with God’s presence."
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