Rev. President Christian Ekong, The Lutheran Church of Nigeria; Rev. President James Cerdeñola, The Lutheran Church in the Philippines, Rev. President Gijsbertus van Hattem, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Belgium; Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt; Rev. President Robert Bugbee, Lutheran Church-Canada; Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver III, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod; Rev. Chairman Jon Ehlers, The Evangelical Lutheran Church of England.

On the 495th anniversary of the Reformation, ILC Executive Committee members joined more than 120 global Lutheran leaders at the groundbreaking International Conference on Confessional Leadership to discuss the Lutheran Church in the 21st century. The conference focused on the themes of Witness (Martyría), Mercy (Diakonía) and Life Together (Koinonía) with keynote presenters on each topic and responses from leaders in Asia, Africa, North and South America, and Europe.

The Rev. Dr. Jobst Schoene, bishop emeritus of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany, speaking on the topic of Koinonía observed, “We are linked to each other as Lutherans who take their confession seriously. To express our God-given Koinonía, we get to take responsibility for each other. There is still a lot to do: more exchange, for instance, of theological discussion, exchange of teachers, of servants in the ministry. Mutual assistance and help in various fields. The practice of intercommunion and intercelebration where there is doctrinal agreement. And if that’s missing: to work for such agreement. Can we any longer afford to let Koinonía at the altar have a minor ranking among International Lutheran Council (ILC) churches?”

The Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver III, newly appointed ILC executive secretary, commented, “Right now we have a unique opportunity among world Lutherans who are interested in a church that confesses the Scriptures and the Book of Concord. And the ILC is composed of churches that take the Scriptures and the Book of Concord seriously. In light of the things that are going on in the world, the social upheavals and unbiblical teachings, Lutherans around the world are looking for a church that takes these things seriously. The ILC is extremely happy to be at this conference representing 20-plus million Lutherans around the world. It is a tremendous opportunity for the ILC to promote its message.”

“We are using the opportunity to meet as the executive committee of the ILC and have the great pleasure to welcome Rev. Collver, our new executive secretary, while we attend the conference as church leaders from all parts of the ILC,” said the Rev. Hans Jorg Voigt, SELK bishop and chairman of the ILC.

“Of course, the concerns that bring all these people together … really overlap very strongly with the concerns of the ILC, and that’s to try to create a clear profile not only in our churches, but in the world of a faithful Lutheran witness. We all realize that there is a great openness to this sort of thing. It is a challenging time, and so we are very grateful that we are able to be included in this conference and have time to work on our ILC business as well,” noted the Rev. Robert Bugbee, president of the Lutheran Church—Canada and North American Representative to the ILC.

The conference is sponsored by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and funded by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.


The ILC is a worldwide association of established confessional Lutheran church bodies which proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the basis of an unconditional commitment to the Holy Scriptures as the inspired and infallible Word of God and to the Lutheran Confessions contained in the Book of Concord as the true and faithful exposition of the Word of God.

Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver III
Executive Secretary
International Lutheran Council

c/o The LCMS

1333 S. Kirkwood Road

St. Louis, MO 63122

Phone: 636-751-3970