Reconciliation in church and society is a central issue for Papua New Guinea, said Lutheran World Federation (LWF) president, Bishop emeritus Dr. Christian Krause, upon his return from a recent visit there.
Speaking with Lutheran World Information (LWI) Krause also noted seeking of Christian role models for community life.
Papua New Guinean Prime Minister Mekere Morauta shared Krause’s opinion. At an April 18 ceremony in Port Moresby, he called for commitment to Christian teachings and “eternal and universal rules of life on the basis of Christian principles.” Morauta thanked Krause, the first LWF president to visit the country, the local Lutheran churches and worldwide Lutheran community for support.
A new Papua New Guinean parliament, and new municipal authorities will be elected next month.. According to Krause, this will be a critical election. Civil war over the secession of Bougainville island since 1989 ended in an armed truce.
Despite the peace agreement signed last year granting gradual autonomy to the mineral-rich island, factors such as massive corruption, social and environmental problems are contributing to instability. For reconciliation and national cohesion, leading politicians are requesting increased support from the global Lutheran community.
Krause reminded the government and nation to keep in mind their obligation toward Christian values as stated in the Papua New Guinean constitution. He urged them to stand up for disadvantaged persons, defend social justice, and share the national resources equitably. Only in this way would the country achieve reconciliation in face of such conflicts, the LWF president said.
Krause noted that the theme of the LWF Tenth Assembly in July 2003 “For the Healing of the World,” has great relevance and urgency in Papua New Guinea.
Around 20 percent of the 5 million Papua New Guineans are Lutherans. Roman Catholics represent 22 percent, other Christian denominations 24 percent, and 34 percent are of indigenous belief. The country has three Lutheran churches, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea, Gutnius Lutheran Church – Papua New Guinea, both LWF members, and the recently founded Melpa Lutheran Church.