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ILC Executive meets in England, plans for 2015 World Conference

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Pictured, from left: President Gijsbertus van Hattem (Belgium); President Egon Kopereck (Brazil); Archbishop Christian Ekong (Nigeria); ILC Executive Secretary Dr. Albert Collver (USA); Chairman Jon Ehlers (Great Britain); Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt (Germany); President Antonio Reyes (Philippines).

By Mathew Block
Originally Posted on http://www.ilc-online.org/2015/01/21/ilc-executive-meets-in-england-plans-for-2015-world-conference/

ENGLAND – The Executive Committee of the International Lutheran Council (ILC) met January 15-16, 2015 at the St. Cuthman’s Retreat Centre in Coolham, West Sussex, just south of London, England. ILC Chairman Hans-Jörg Voigt, Bishop of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany, presided over the sessions.

The committee’s primary task was to make preparations for the ILC’s 25th World Conference, set for September 2015, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Bishops and presidents of all 34 full and associate member churches are being invited. The chosen overarching theological theme for the gathering is Bringing the Reformation to the World. In addition, delegates to the conference will choose a chairman and other executive officers for the coming three-year term.

Chairman Voigt expressed his joy over the fact that five Lutheran church bodies from various continents have made inquiries about taking up membership in the ILC. The Executive Committee also spent time examining the financial status of this global organization, which needs to be further developed.

Rev. Dr. Lawrence Rast, President of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana (USA), facilitated intensive planning sessions for the Executive Committee as they strategized for the future and analyzed both strengths and weaknesses of the Council’s existing form and function.

Summing up at the close of the meetings, Chairman Voigt commented, “At various times in history, the Church has been especially strong when in the midst of its limitations it focused on the primary thing—that is, the proclamation of the Gospel.” Bringing the Gospel to people is the Church’s main responsibility, he added.

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Three LCMS missionaries in PNG face deportation threats

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Three Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod missionaries from the United States who are serving in Papua New Guinea (PNG) face ongoing attempts by the PNG Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration and his department to deport them.

The three — the Rev. Jeffrey Horn, Julie Lutz and Anton Lutz (40 years in PNG among them) — have legal representation and are in contact with the U.S. Embassy.

The three have not been officially served deportation orders nor have they seen complaints lodged against them. The minister has sought to justify the deportation action in national newspaper articles and a full-page advertisement. He alleges the three have breached PNG law and interfered in local and church politics. No investigation involving the missionaries has been carried out. On Monday, Dec. 8, the missionaries were emailed a letter instructing them to leave Papua New Guinea voluntarily by Dec. 12.

According to newspaper reports filed Dec. 5, PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has intervened and ordered the Foreign Affairs Minister, Rimbink Pato, not to deport the missionaries. The prime minister has set up an investigation headed by Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc. The missionaries have not yet been briefed regarding the scope of the intended investigation.

Because the complaints upon which the deportation is based are unknown, and because due process has not been followed, the missionaries welcome the prime minister’s independent investigation. The missionaries also will request a Committee of Review to look into their case so that the cancellation of their entry permits might be revoked.

As guests of Papua New Guinea over many years, the missionaries seek to abide by all PNG laws and expect public servants and politicians to do the same. They will respect the rule of law.

Posted Dec. 9, 2014

Meet Two of “The First Rosa” Actors

As filming of “The First Rosa” documentary begins in Selma, Ala., the week of Sept. 22, 2014, the Rev. Jon Vieker, senior assistant to the LCMS president, interviews two of the actors playing Rosa J. Young at different stages of her life, Jordan Donegan and Jasmine Gatewood. Planned for a 2015 release and produced by The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, the film, titled “The First Rosa,” is a story about Young (1890-1971), who was instrumental in founding and promoting 30 Lutheran elementary schools and 35 Lutheran congregations in Alabama. Her legacy is unparalleled as an educator, confessor and church planter for Christ and His Church. Learn more about the film at http://www.lcms.org/thefirstrosa.