President Reyes and President Harrison Sign Protocol Document
On 8 June 2016, The Lutheran Church of the Philippines (LCP) and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) signed a protocol agreement. The LCP was a mission start of the LCMS after World War II. The church became a self-governing partner church in 1967. The LCP has about 25,000 members, with about 200 congregations and 110 pastors. President Reyes also serves as the International Lutheran Council (ILC) regional representative for Asia.
Dr. Collver and Vice President Felipe Ehican, Jr, shake hands after signing
The Protocol agreement was signed by President Harrison and President Reyes, and Dr. Collver and Vice-President Felipe Ehican. The agreement outlines how the LCP and the LCMS will work together. It states that the basis for our fellowship is based on the Holy Scriptures and subscription to the Book of Concord. The agreement outlines areas of joint work such as higher education (theological education), cooperation in mission work, mass media and literature, and other programs. It states that communication between the church bodies are between the two presidents.
Mr. Darin Storkson and President Reyes
These sort of agreements are important for the life together of the two church bodies. We look forward to strengthening the partnership between the LCMS and LCP.
President Harrison autographs his new book, Letters from a Pastor’s Heart, for the guests from the Philippines.
20 January 2016
Participants: Dr. Lawrence Rast, Chairman of LCMS CTCR; Rev. Jakob Okkels, Swedish Mission Province and Assistant to Bishop; Dr. Robert Bugbee, President of Lutheran Church Canada / Vice-Chairman of International Lutheran Council; Dr. Hans-Jörg Voigt, Bishop of SELK / Chairman of ILC; Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations / Executive Secretary of ILC; Rev. Bengt Birgersson, General Secretary for Swedish Mission Provence; Roland Gustafsson, Presiding Bishop of the Swedish Mission Provence; Göran Beijer, Assisting Bishop of the Swedish Mission Provence; Juhana Pohjola, Dean of the Finnish Mission Provence; Risto Soramies, Bishop of the Finnish Bishop Province; Lars Artman, Assisting Bishop for Swedish Mission Province; Thor Henrik With, Bishop of the Norwegian Mission Provence; Rev. Jon Ehlers, Chairman of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England / ILC Representative for Europe; Norberto Gerke, President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Paraguay / ILC Representative for Latin America; Gijsbertus van Hattem, President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Belgium / Secretary of the ILC.
The executive committee of the International Lutheran Council (ILC) and the Nordic Lutheran Dioceses met January 20, 2016 to discuss future opportunities for collaboration. The three Nordic Dioceses—the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of Finland, the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese in Norway, and the Mission Province in Sweden—all formed in response to the secularization of the National/State churches in their respective countries involving matters of both Christian doctrine and ethics. These new, independent Dioceses were formed in Sweden (6 September 2003), in Finland (16 March 2013), and in Norway (20 April 2013). On 7 November 2015 the three Dioceses declared altar and pulpit fellowship with one another and formed the Communion of Nordic Dioceses, which then quickly approached the ILC about possible membership.
Roland Gustafsson, Bishop of the Mission Province in Sweden, said membership in the ILC is important because “being in a rather small environment in the Nordic countries, we need the global fellowship of the Church of Christ. The ILC represents a Lutheran community, where we do think our Nordic Dioceses belong.”
The Nordic Dioceses hosted the representatives of the ILC, which includes 37 member churches (www.ilc-online.org), in Gothenburg, Sweden. On the eve of the meeting, Gothenburg, which typically enjoys a temperate climate, experienced a freak snow storm that slightly delayed the meetings.
Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt, D.D., Bishop of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany and Chairman of the International Lutheran Council, was glad to hear the confession of the Nordic Dioceses. He said, “While we experienced the outside of Gothenburg as very cold with lots of snow, we experienced from our hosts a very warm and close confessional brotherhood during this conference. It enables us to look forward to deeper connections between the Nordic church bodies and the International Lutheran Council.”
The International Lutheran Council seeks to encourage and support confessional Lutheran churches throughout the world through education, conferences, and discussion of contemporary theological issues.
After heartfelt, serious, and collegial discussions related to the belief, confession, and practice of the Nordic Dioceses, the executive committee of the International Lutheran Council invited each church body of the Nordic Dioceses to submit an application for membership, which will then be considered at the next scheduled World Conference of the International Lutheran Council.
Dr. Albert Collver, Executive Secretary of the ILC, noted that “despite the challenges the Lutheran church faces around the world in this day and age, the Lord has opened tremendous opportunities for the proclamation of the Gospel and for the encouragement of brothers and sisters in Christ. The discussions with the Nordic Dioceses were incredibly heartening and we look forward to continuing these conversations.”
After the discussions concluded in the late afternoon, the ILC executive committee toured The Lutheran School of Theology, Gothenburg (LSTG) where the Mission Province in Sweden provides training for future pastors (http://www.ffg.se). In the Fall of 2014 Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, opened an extension site at LSTG and now offers a Master of Sacred Theology (STM) degree accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (http://www.ctsfw.edu/seminary-news/ctsfw-opens-international-extension-site-in-sweden). This program offers a unique opportunity for students in Scandinavia and other nearby countries to receive an advanced research degree in theology.
The meetings concluded with dinner at the LM Engströms Gymnasium, which was the former bishop’s palace for the Gothenburg diocese of the Church of Sweden. Bishop Bo Giertz lived here during his tenure, 1949-70. Today, the LM Engströms Gymnasium serves as a Lutheran high school with approximately 500 students. It is the largest Christian high school in Sweden.
Dr. Lawrence Rast, special consultant to the International Lutheran Council and chairman of the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations, participated in the discussions with the Nordic Dioceses in preparation for future fellowship discussions with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. “We are witnessing the emergence of new era of collaboration between confessional Lutherans throughout the world. As the Nordic Lutheran Dioceses and the ILC move into the future, we’re all excited to see what God has in store for his church.”
Front Row: Pastor Andreas Masvie Sr, Bishop Torkild Masvie, Pastor Alf Donbolt
Back Row: Pastor Olav Berg Lyngmo, Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Pastor Hanss Jensons
17 January 2016
In a church service held in Oslo, Torkild Masvie was installed as the provisional bishop of The Lutheran Church of Norway.
The Norwegian installation service involved lay people from the church counsel reading Scripture verses.
Provisional Bishop Masvie presides over Holy Communion and concludes the service with the benediction.
Marie Lyngmo, Pastor Olav Berg Lyngmo, Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver
Pastor Olav Berg Lyngmo serves a congregation in the Norwegian Lapland. He was defrocked by the King of Norway for his rejection of women’s ordination and the blessing of same-sex marriage.
Dr. Bruce Kintz participated in the convention of The Lutheran Church of Norway. The Lutheran Church of Norway’s constitution grants the LCMS one clergy and one lay delegate. This privilege also is extended to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia.
It has been a wonderful time in Norway visiting with The Lutheran Church of Norway, who is a new LCMS partner and a recently added member into the International Lutheran Council.
— Rev. Albert B. Collver, Ph.D.
LCN National Choir Processing into Church
On January 10, 2016, the Lutheran Church of Nigeria finished out its convention, “Christ in Me for Life Together,” with worship that carried on for 8 hours with about 6,000 people in attendance.
One of the songs the Lutheran Church of Nigeria’s National Choir sang was “Holy, Holy, Holy.”
A view of one third of the worship space.
Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver preached on the Baptism of Our Lord from Luke’s gospel. The evening before the service Dr. Collver gave the convention essay titled, “Christ in Me for Life Together.”
A woman dancing and singing during the offering.
Archbishop Christian Ekong consecrates two new bishops for the Lutheran Church of Nigeria.
All of the bishops gather to pray and bless the newly consecrated bishops.
After the consecration of the bishops, Holy Communion was celebrated.
Communion distribution to the 6,000 attendees was an exercise in organized chaos.
Archbishop Christian Ekong gives the benediction at the end of the service.
At the convention, contests were held for children to know the Bible and Catechism, as well as dance to church music. Awards were presented during the service.
Children dancing at the Lutheran Church of Nigeria for a contest.
The Lutheran Church of Nigeria’s Convention was a wonderful experience. The church also did fund raising for the Nigerian Lutheran University and ground was broken near the LCN’s headquarters in Obot Idim. This is just a little flavor of the 8 hours of worship and fellowship.
— Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, Director of Church Relations
The Lutheran Church of Nigeria is holding its Biennial Synod Convention from Wednesday, January 6, 2016, to Sunday, January 10, 2016 in Obot Idim. The 2016 Convention marks the 80th anniversary of The Lutheran Church of Nigeria, founded in 1936 by LCMS Missionaries. The Convention theme: Christ Lives in Me, For Life Together based upon Colossians 1:27. Approximately 6,000 people attended the convention.
A focus of the convention is on the funding and development of the Lutheran University Nigeria Project. The Lutheran University would have a huge effect on the Lutheran Church of Nigeria. In Uyo, there are at least two other universities. Education is very important and desired in Africa. Bishop Paul Fynn of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana operates a university of 8,000 students. The potential for a Lutheran University in Nigeria is huge.
The convention begins at 6 AM and finishes around midnight. There are generous breaks during the day for rest and protection from the high temperatures, which is projected to be 108 F (or 44 C) today. More on the convention in the coming days.
The convention schedule follows.
Convention Schedule January 6-7
Convention Schedule January 7-8
Convention Schedule January 8-9
Convention Schedule January 9
— Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, Director of Church Relations