The theme of the second International Conference on Confessional Leadership in the 21st Century. The conference comes on the tails of the dedication of the Old Latin School in Wittenberg, Germany. The first ICCL conference was held in November 2012 when more than 120 Lutheran leaders gathered around the world (see this WMLTBlog post). The theme for the second conference looks towards the celebration of the 550th anniversary of the Reformation. The theme of the conference (described more in a future post) is titled, “Celebrating the Reformation Rightly: Remembrance, Repentance, Rejoicing,” which comes from a sermon by Matthias Hoe von Hoenegg, the Electoral Saxony Court preacher in Dresden. In his sermon he described how to celebrate a Reformation celebration:
“First as a ‘remembrance festival,’ at which we remember a great historical event; second, as a ‘praise and thanksgiving festival,’ third, as a ‘miracle festival’ concerning God’s miracles; fourth, a ‘prayer festival’ at which we ‘desire to pray for the preservation of the divine Word” and fifth, as a ‘festival of repentance,’ at which we pray for the forgiveness of our sins in the despising of the Word of God,’ and that we should begin and strive for a new life with greater zeal for and devotion to his preached Word as doers of the same.’ Then the festival becomes a ‘festival of rejoicing and jubilation in heaven.'” (Luke 15:10)
The theme of the ICCL2 draws from this sermon and emphasizes “Remembrance, Repentance, Rejoicing” as a way to celebrate the Reformation in this ecumenical age.
Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, President of the LCMS, and Rev. Dr. Hans-Jörg Voigt, Bishop of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK) and Chairman of the International Lutheran Council (ILC) introduce and bring greetings to the conference. President Harrison introduced the theme Remembrance, Repentance, Rejoicing and how every Reformation of the Church begins with repentance.
Bishop Voigt referenced the newly dedicated altar at the Old Latin School. If you look closely at the altar, you can see that the table is bowed. It is bent, being pressed down because of the weight of the gifts of God. Bishop Voigt’s prayer is that this conference bends the table with the weight of the gifts the presenters bring to the table.
Dr. Lawrence Rast, President of Concordia Theological Seminary and Chairman of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR), bring greetings, thanked the staff of the CTCR, and introduced the theme of the conference. We need to remember the Lord’s deliverance of his people, repent of our sins, and rejoice in forgiveness.
Worship took place each day in St. Mary’s Church, where Dr. Martin Luther preached over 2500 sermons.
The program for the conference is provided below.
23 April 2015
Today, we met with the steering committee of Jesus is Lord Mission (JILM) at Zion Lutheran Church in Walburg, Texas. Jesus is Lord Mission (JILM) was founded by Rev. Dr. Glenn O’Shoney in 2002. JILM was designed to be a mission society that did not have a narrow focus or was limited to a single country or region of the world. JILM has a goal to “rekindle in the leaders of the church a passion for Christ’s mission.”
Jesus Is Lord Mission (JILM) partners exclusively with the LCMS World Mission / Office of International Mission to expand the proclamation of the Gospel. JILM only funds projects evaluated by OIM. OIM suggests projects to JILM. JILM selects which projects they would like to support. To date, JILM has given $2.3 million to the Synod to support LCMS mission projects. Many former missionaries participate with JILM. This is truly a great partnership.
Please take a look at the Jesus is Lord Mission (JILM) website. We look forward to our ongoing partnership with JILM.
We met at Zion Lutheran Church in Walburg, Texas. It was founded in 1882.
Watch the dedication service of the International Lutheran Center at the Old Latin School in Wittenberg, Germany, on Sunday, May 3. The service begins at 8 a.m. Central Daylight Time, and it will be broadcast live on livestream.com/thelcms/wittenberg.
The project is a joint effort by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the Independent Evangelical—Lutheran Church (SELK) of Germany and the International Lutheran Society of Wittenberg (ILSW) to establish a distinctly Lutheran presence in the very cradle of the Reformation.
The International Lutheran Center will provide the place, the opportunity and the inspiration for people to gather and learn about the Gospel Luther preached there. It will provide a unique venue, attractive to all of our existing and emerging partners worldwide, to help us share the Gospel that Luther rediscovered in the 16th century — the Gospel our world desperately needs to hear today.
Watch the service in real time with the live stream or later by accessing the archived version.
Learn more about The Wittenberg Project: thewittenbergproject.org
On this most recent trip to Ethiopia, Rev. Mark Rabe and Rev. Eric Stinnett visited the Mekane Yesus Seminary (MYS) for the first time. Both of them recently received calls from the Board for International Mission (BIM) to serve as theological educators in Ethiopia at the Mekane Yesus Seminary. Watch the brief interview with them.
Pictured (left to right): Rev. Mark Rabe, OIM Theological Educator to MYS and Rev. Eric Stinnett, OIM Theological Educator to MYS.
Pictured: Dr. Albert Collver and Bishop Wilson Noah Rule
19 April 2015
Bishop Wilson Noah Rule of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sudan / South Sudan travelled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to meet regarding a request to have fellowship with the Lutheran Church— Missouri Synod. Bishop Rule originally requested fellowship with the LCMS in 2013. The geo-political events and difficulties in obtaining visas for travel prevented a face to face visit until now.
The ELCS/SS is based out of Juba, South Sudan. The church body was established in 1993 in Juba. Due to geo-political instability, the church was relocated to Khartoum. At the beginning of the 21st Century, the LCMS assisted the ELCS/SS with church plants in the Nuba Mountains and a seminary was established in Khartoum. Once again, geo-political instabilities forced a relocation. The seminary moved to Yambio and began classes in 2008. Lutheran Heritage Foundation was greatly instrumental in assisting the ELCS/SS.
The ELCS/SS currently has over 150 congregations and nearly half that many pastors, as well as approximately 100 evangelists. The church holds that the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God and subscribes to the Book of Concord without reservation.
It was a great blessing that Bishop Wilson Noah Rule was able to come to Addis Ababa for a meeting. The next steps will involve meetings with members of the CTCR as fellowship discussions continue. Deo Volente, the two churches will be able to recognize fellowship. May God grant it.
The Lutheran Heritage Foundation was instrumental in bringing Bishop Wilson Noah Rule to Addis Ababa.