The Global Seminary Initiative (GSI) is a program that provides Lutheran theological education in three primary ways:
1) Bringing the best students worldwide to LCMS seminaries to study at the graduate level so that they can return to their home countries and provide advanced theological leadership.
2) Support for local regional seminaries — both infra-structure and scholarships for students to attend regional seminaries.
3) Continuing education — seminars, conferences, and visits by qualified LCMS pastors and professors to teach in the local context.
The world has changed from the time of sending out missionaries to places where people had never heard the Gospel. In most parts of world today, we have partner churches who firmly believe that one of the best qualities of the LCMS is our theological education. It is our niche, one of our core competencies, and we are well-positioned to make the most of it by assisting these partner churches.
For more information visit: lcms.org/gsi
Today in Convention, the Wisconsin Synod unanimously passed the following resolution regarding the Missouri Synod:
Resolution No. 02 from Floor Committee 05: Inter-Church Relations. The resolution reads as follows:
WHEREAS 1) When the WELS suspended fellowship with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) in 1961, the synod convention resolved, in part, to continue discussions to heal the breach that had occurred; and
WHEREAS 2) the Lord opened doors to informal discussions with the LCMS in December 2012; and
WHEREAS 3) even if the restoration of fellowship is not possible in the near future, we believe it is our responsibility to each other and to our Lord to strive for true unity based on full agreement in doctrine and practice; and
WHEREAS 4) a second meeting is planned for December 2013; therefore be it
Resolved, a) that we encourage our leadership in conjunction with the CICR to continue discussions with the LCMS to strive for true unity based on full agreement in doctrine and practice; and be it finally
Resolved, b) that we pray for the Holy Spirit to guide and bless these efforts to God’s glory and for the benefit of his church.
- Posted 31 August 2013 by Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations
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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
After the service was over, the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society (LWMS) conducted a flag ceremony demonstrating the mission work of the Wisconsin Synod around the world. This practice serves to educate the delegates of the Wisconsin Synod about their Church partners and the location of their mission work. This is an idea that might be adapted for the Missouri Synod. Of interest was that some of WELS mission work began jointly with the Missouri Synod during the days of the Synodical Conference. Other of their work began immediately following the break up of the Synodical Conference.
The Wisconsin Synod vividly remembers the Synodical Conference (the fellowship of the Wisconsin Synod, Missouri Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and Slovak Synod). In fact, the Wisconsin Synod’s hymnal Christian Worship published in 1993 notes:
“The story of Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal actually began in 1953 when the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) initiated work on a revision of The Lutheran Hymnal (1941), the hymnal shared by the synods constituting the Synodical Conference. In 1959 the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) accepted the invitation to share in the revision work. In 1965, however, the LCMS abandoned this project in favor of a new pan-Lutheran hymnal, leading to the publication of Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) and Lutheran Worship (1982).”
Based on conversations with people in the Missouri Synod, it does not seem that memories of the Synodical Conference is in the forefront. The preface to the WELS hymnal is correct. The LCMS became enamored with pan-Lutheranism, some of which led to the events of Seminex and the production of a hymnal unusable by much of the Missouri Synod (Lutheran Book of Worship).
In 2013, WELS sent observers to the LCMS convention. Likewise, the LCMS sent Dr Albert Collver, Rev Jon Vieker, and Rev Larry Vogel to the WELS convention.
May The Lord grant fruitful and ongoing contact with WELS.
The 2013 LCMS convention adopted a resolution to seek contact with both WELS and ELS.
The resolution reads:
To Encourage Further Discussion with Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and Evangelical Lutheran Synod
Report 1-7; President’s Report, Part 2 (CW, p. 10; TB, p. 23)
After more than 50 years, mostly of silence, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) held informal discussions in late 2012. Although differences exist between the church bodies, the informal discussions demonstrated that there is a basis to explore further conversations between the churches. When WELS suspended fellowship with the Missouri Synod in 1961, the president of WELS was charged with seeking opportunities to continue the conversation with the Missouri Synod.
WHEREAS, the Synodical Conference (fellowship of LCMS, WELS and ELS) was a great blessing to confessional Lutheranism both in America and throughout the world; and
WHEREAS, although the Synodical Conference dissolved, many commonalities still exist; and
WHEREAS, since the ending of the Synodical Conference there have been few opportunities for discussion between the LCMS and the WELS and the ELS; and
WHEREAS, the President of the WELS has been charged with seeking opportunities to continue the conversation with the LCMS; therefore be it
Resolved, that the President of the LCMS seek opportunities to continue the conversation with the former members of the Synodical Conference.
Attending the WELS convention in New Ulm is the first step in fulfilling this resolution.
- Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations on 30 July 2013.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Location:Waldheim Dr,New Ulm,United States
I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy Christian Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. AMEN
Having spent 26 years in the Army chaplaincy, I did not have the opportunity to engage in Synod’s conventions. So, this was my “maiden voyage.” I thought that I would share my thoughts about the convention with you from my perspective as a Lutheran who ministered in a religiously diverse environment often supervising and being supervised by folks who did not share a Lutheran worldview. What joy there was to be among such a great cloud of witnesses!
The past week was a pinnacle moment of life together as Synod. In convention, men and women from every district and circuit met to share in worship and prayer, engage in discussion and collaboration, and define processes and procedures to enhance walking together as one people united in baptism. This unity of so many is cause for celebration.
There is cause for celebration for we as Synod believe and confess that there is one Savior, Jesus Christ, and that He, alone, atones for sin and justifies sinners. There is cause for celebration in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. There is cause for celebration for the unity we share in the Confessions of the Church.
This unity is strength in time of suffering and persecution. As the culture rapidly moves away from traditional Christian values, the Church will find consolation in this unity. She will prevail standing united under the cross of Christ.
Some may suggest that the gathering of the Synod in convention was less than a perfect unity. If one assesses voting on resolutions as perfect unity, all resolutions passing or failing by 100%, no one may argue the point; however, this seems to lose sight of the Synod in the world and within Christendom.
There is not perfect harmony in the Church militant. After all, Synod is comprised of sinners redeemed by the atoning work of Christ. Sinners called to faith in baptism gathered together to do the work that Christ bids them—congregations, circuits, districts, Synod–one in Christ living together in this world of sin until that time when our Lord returns in glory.
There is cause for rejoicing. We who are many are one in Christ Jesus. This unity is a living testimony to the world, and this convention was a testimony to the Gospel that Christ calls, forgives, and loves sinners. Few in Christendom share such a profound unity.
St. Paul reminds the Corinthians of our unity. He writes:
For even as the body is one and [yet] has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. But now there are many members, but one body. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.”
Thank you for this moment to share with you as a member of the body of Christ, and may this be a moment for remembering who we are as one people—one Lord, one faith, one baptism.
Sola Dei Gloria
Gregory K. Williamson
Chief Mission Officer
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod