WELS President Mark Schroeder delivers his president’s report to the synod convention in New Ulm, Minnesota. In this report, President Schroeder offered comment about the Missouri Synod.

After nearly fifty years in which there had been virtually no official contact between WELS and the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (our former partner in the Synodical Conference), lines of communication have been opened once again. One point of contact has been at the Emmaus Conference, held annually in Tacoma. [A free conference is a forum for theological discussion that does not involve or imply fellowship.] LCMS President Matthew Harrison and the presidents of WELS and the ELS have been presenters at these conferences.

When WELS suspended fellowship with the LCMS in 1961, the synod convention resolved in part that continued theological discussions should take place in an effort to heal the breach that had occurred. Such theological discussions never happened due to the circumstances following the end of the Synodical Conference. Last December that changed. With the full support of the Conference of Presidents and the Commission on Inter-Church Relations (CICR), representatives from the LCMS, WELS, and the ELS met for three days for informal talks. The agenda for the meeting was simple: Where do we fully agree? Where do we still disagree? Are there mutual caricatures or misunderstandings that we can correct? These talks were no intended to be full doctrinal discussions; nor were they understood to indicate that a restoration of fellowship would be possible in the near future. Even if the restoration of fellowship is not possible in the near future, we believe it is our responsibility to each other and to God to strive for true unity based on full agreement of doctrine and practice. All involved concluded that the discussions were fruitful and beneficial. A second meeting is planned for December This convention may want to consider a resolution encouraging the continuation of these contacts. (President Schroeder noted that the LCMS passed such a resolution seeking for conversations with WELS and ELS.)

I am happy to report that earlier this month President Harrison was overwhelmingly re-elected to serve a second term as president of the LCMS. I believe that his leadership has been a blessing to his synod and that God will continue to use him for his purposes. I also want to note that, while WELS has sent observers to the LCMS conventions for many years, we have not had the pleasure of welcoming LCMS observers — until now. At our convention are three representatives of the LCMS. Dr. Albert Collver III (Director of Church Relations), Rev. Jon Vieker (Senior Assistant to the President), and Rev. Larry Vogel (Associate Executive Director of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations).


These men have come because the leaders of the LCMS have a sincere interest in our synod and in the work that we are doing. We appreciate the respect that these and other leaders of the LCMS have shown to our Synod. We pray that their time among us will be mutually beneficial. Please give them a warm and cordial welcome.

— posted on 30 July 2013 by Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations

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Location:Waldheim Dr,New Ulm,United States