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Story Magazine

Fall 2018

Lutheran World Federation president's visit

by Emily McQuillan '19 M.Div.

Musa Panti Filibus '98 Ph.D.

As an alumnus, Musa Panti Filibus ’98 Ph.D. exemplifies the idea that a Luther Seminary education has the power to shape the Lutheran communion around the world. When he visited campus this May, Filibus—the archbishop of the Lutheran Church in Nigeria and the president of the Lutheran World Federation—commented on the ways in which the seminary lives out its mission on a global scale.

“There are Luther Seminary graduates on every [populated] continent in the world,” he said. “Wherever our alumni serve, the influence of Luther Seminary is felt.”

In his remarks, Filibus reflected on his time at Luther—a period in which he faced the sudden tragedy of his young daughter’s death. Filibus said he received an outpouring of love and support from classmates, professors, and others in the Luther community. Now, years later, Filibus is still deeply grateful for those who offered kindness and comfort during such a difficult time and for the ways that his Luther education continues to shape his life and ministry.

Filibus has worked in seminary education in his home country of Nigeria for decades, and he has served in a variety of positions with the LWF. As LWF president, he places special emphasis on mission, gender justice, ecumenism, and inter-religious relationships.

That’s because, for Filibus, the global Lutheran presence should be one of accompaniment and community. “The promise of the presence of the Holy Spirit [assures] the disciples, and us today, that we are not left alone,” he said in his on-campus sermon. “The Holy Spirit empowers and guides us in all that we are and do,” from dayto- day interactions with family and neighbors to bold, public proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Indeed, Filibus’ presence was a reminder of the vital importance of Luther’s mission to educate leaders for Christian communities called and sent to serve in God’s world.

Afterward, Luther Seminary President Robin Steinke reflected on Filibus’ visit. “The work we do here isn’t really about us,” she said. “It’s about equipping leaders to witness to salvation through Jesus Christ in every nation around the world.”

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