Reformation in Geneva

The Reformation in Geneva was not of the Lutheran type, but was based upon the teachings of Jean Calvin. In fact, Martin Luther was seen by Calvin as only beginning the Reformation. Some in the Reformed Church referred to Martin Luther as a half-papists, indicating that he retained too many Roman Catholic practices, such as vestments, liturgy, et al. The photo tour below does not represent the history of the Lutheran Church, but of the Reformed Church, which provides the theological foundation for most other Protestant Churches (Presbyterians, Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, et al).

At the Mur des Réformateurs (Wall of the Reformation), William Farell, John Calvin, Theodore Beze, and John Knox are pictured at the center of the wall (pictured in top panel above). Off to the left when facing the Wall of the Reformation, a carved stone with Luther’s name appears. Off to the right when facing the Wall of the Reformation, a carved stone with Zwingli’s name appears. From the perspective of the Reformed Church, both Luther and Zwingli are given credit for beginning the Reformation. However, the Reformed Church does not believe Luther or Zwingli, properly reformed the church, hence the need for Calvin, Beze, and others. This is why Luther and Zwingli are represented by stones but not carved into the wall. the Reformation Wall was constructed in 1909 for the 400th birthday of Calvin.

To the right (ordered from left to right) are 3 m-tall statues of: Roger Williams (1603 – 1684), Oliver Cromwell (1599 – 1657), Stephen Bocskay (1557 – 1607)?

To the left (facing the Wall, ordered from left to right) of the central statues are 3 m-tall statues of: William the Silent (1533 – 1584), Gaspard de Coligny (1519 – 1572), Frederick William of Brandenburg (1620 – 1688).

“The Wall is in the grounds of the University of Geneva, which was founded by John Calvin, and was built to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Calvin’s birth and the 350th anniversary of the university’s establishment. It is built into the old city walls of Geneva, and the monument’s location there is designed to represent the fortifications’, and therefore the city of Geneva’s, integral importance to the Reformation.” (From Wikipedia, http://bit.ly/Hnjk1r) The Reformation Wall is 100 meters long.

Not too far from the Reformation Wall is St. Pierre Cathedral. Before the Reformation, it was a Roman Catholic Cathedral whose origins date to the 4th century AD.

The inside of the cathedral is rather stark. The pre-Reformation ornamentation is gone, “reformed” away under Jean Calvin’s instruction. Calvin preached here regularly until his death.

Rev. Ralph Mayan, President Emeritus of the Lutheran Church Canada (LCC) and interim-Executive Secretary for the International Lutheran Council (ILC) descends to the archeological dig beneath St. Pierre Cathedral.

The Baptistry dates from the 6th century AD.

Dr. Collver stands outside the hall where Jean Calvin lectured.

The marker identifies the location of the cathedral. The green area titled, “Les Bastions is the location of the Reformation Wall. To left is the location of Calvin’s grave in Cimetière des Rois.

Outside the cathedral is a sign to the Reformation museum.

At the Reformation Museum, you can become Jean Calvin.

On the way to Calvin’s grave, we passed the Great Synagogue (La Grande Synagogue), officially known as Synagogue Beth-Yaacov de Genève. It was built between 1857 – 1859.

The grave of Jean Calvin.

Close up of the plaque. Jean Calvin born 1509, died 1564.

The simple marker with the letters, J.C.

Geneva is not Wittenberg. The Reformed are not Lutherans, even if some views are held in common. Nonetheless, the Meeting between the ILC and LWR in Geneva provided the opportunity to visit some historic Reformed Reformation Sites.

– Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations
Posted in Geneva on 30 March 2012

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Rue des Alpes,Geneva,Switzerland

Meeting Between The LWF and the ILC

Meeting Between The LWF and the ILC
Geneva, Switzerland
27 – 29 March 2012


International Lutheran Council: Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt, Chairman ILC; Rev. Ralph Mayan, Interim Executive Secretary of ILC; Rev Dr Albert Collver, LCMS Director of Church Relations (Invited Representative for the LCMS).

Lutheran World Federation: Rev. Martin Junge, General Secretary LWF, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile; Oberkirchenrat Norbert Denecke, General Secretary, German National Committee of the LWF; National Bishop Susan Johnson, Vice-President of the LWF — North America, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; Rev Dr Muss Filibus, Director – Department for Mission and Development LWF, Lutheran Church in Nigeria; Rev Dr Kenneth Mtata, Study Secretary for Theology – Department for Theology and Public Witness LWF, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe; Rev Dr Patricia Cuyattii, Latin America Desk – Department for Mission and Development LWF, Lutheran Evangelical Church in Peru; Rev. dr Stephen Larson, Interim Coordinator – Department for Theology and Public Witness LWF, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The meeting was cordial and resulted in the helpful sharing of information. The LWF showed great hospitality to us.

An official statement regarding this meeting will be released jointly by the ILC and LWF in the near future.

— Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, LCMS Director of Church Relations
29 March 2012

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Route des Morillons,Grand-Saconnex,Switzerland

A Visit To The Ecumenical Center In Geneva

Dr. Collver and Bishop Voigt, Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK), stand in front of the Ecumenical Center in Geneva, Switzerland. The Ecumenical Center is owned by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and is the location of the headquarters for the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). Representatives from the International Lutheran Council (ILC), Bishop Voigt, Dr. Ralph Mayan (Lutheran Church Canada), and Dr. Collver, came to Geneva to meet with representatives of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

Entities that are located in the Ecumenical Center.

A crucifix inside the chapel at the Ecumenical Center.

The chancel at the chapel in the Ecumenical Center. The decor is eclectic primarily consisting primarily of influences from African, Eastern Orthodox, and Coptic churches.

Close up of the chancel.

The martyrdom of Stephen portrayed in the WCC chapel.

An African Cross in the lobby of the Ecumenical Center.

A banner about the Lutheran Church in Madagascar.

Member Churches of the World Council of Churches (WCC)

The outside of the Ecumenical Center.

Tomorrow discussions continue with the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). A future post will describe some of these discussions.

– Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Rue de Fribourg,Geneva,Switzerland

Consecration of Bishop Thor Henrik With in Norway

A new Bishop for Confessional Lutherans in Northern Norway
Bishop Thor Henrik With was consecrated Bishop of the independent Lutheran congregations in Northern Norway (Valgmenighetene i Nordnorge) in a Divine Service on Saturday, March 24, in Tromsø, Norway.

Serving as consecrators were Archibishop Walter Obare (center), the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya; Bishop Matti Väisänen (left), bishop of the Swedish Mission Province in Finland. Bishop Jobst Schoene (second from left), retired bishop of the Independent Lutheran Church of Germany (SELK); Chief Consecrator was Bishop Roland Gustafsson (right), chief bishop of the Mission Province.

Pastors and congregations of the deanery (circuit) left the Church of Norway in the 1970s when Pastor Børre Knudsen led a dramatic protest against the legalization of abortion. The Norwegian state sent him to prison, but the pastors and people made him their bishop. He served until last year, when advanced Parkinsonís disease, when he contracted while in prison, made it necessary for him to retired.

Bishop With has been a leader in the Bible and Confessions movement in Norway and he has been an active leader in the work of mission among the Sami peoples in the far north. The Mission Province provided spiritual and other support prior to the election of Bishop With.

Dr. Charles Evanson, LCMS Baltic States Theological Education Advisor, brought greetings from President Matthew Harrison and the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Tromsø, Norway

Life Together — District Convention Representation

With three district conventions down and 32 to go, delegate representation is a subject of considerable interest and conversation in the Synod. This blog provides an opportunity to address five frequently asked questions.

        1. Q: How has delegate representation changed from previous conventions?  A: Actually, representation has not changed. Article V A of the Synod’s Constitution still determines delegate representation at district conventions: “At meetings of the districts of the Synod, every congregation or parish is entitled to two votes, one of which is to be cast by the pastor and the other by the lay delegate.”
        2. Q: Well, something has changed. Why must some congregations now share a lay delegate when they had not done so in the past? A: We are more now applying more consistently and uniformly the historical definition for a “parish” in our Synod: “Two or more congregations served by the same pastor.” With the assistance of our Rosters and Statistics Department, this definition is being painstakingly applied across the Synod to make certain that congregations are represented equally and fairly throughout our 35 districts.
        3. Q: If nothing has changed, why are some congregations that were previously regarding as “permanently vacant” now regarded as part of a “parish”? A: The decision by the 2010 Synod convention that delegates to district conventions would also be the voters in the election of the President of the Synod prompted greater care in determining those situations to which “parish” is to be applied. A phrase from Bylaw 2.11.1 is pivotal: “regularly performing the duties of…an ordained minister.” Accordingly, a pastor providing regular Word and Sacrament ministry is being regarded as the congregation’s pastor for delegate representation purposes. If he is providing such regular ministry to two or more congregations, he is serving a multi-congregation parish.
        4. Q: Are there any exceptions to this rule? A: Yes. If a congregation is in the process of actively calling a pastor, it is regarded as truly “vacant” even though it is receiving regular word and sacrament ministry from a pastor. The above (#3) applies only to what were once regarded as “permanent vacancies.”
        5. Q: What about congregations that have been served by “emeritus” pastors? A: Congregations (or parishes) receiving regular word and sacrament ministry from a rostered pastor of the Synod deserve two delegate votes at their district conventions: a pastoral vote and a lay vote. The roster status of “emeritus” pastors (advisory and therefore non-voting) is being changed to “active” status when possible to reflect the fact that they are providing regular Word and Sacrament ministry to a congregation of the Synod. Such roster status change does not adversely affect retirement status or benefits. It does provide the congregation with its rightful privilege of two votes (pastoral and lay) at district conventions and in the election of the President of the Synod.

There are, of course, many other questions that arise while working through this process with our 35 districts and their conventions. You may wish to respond to this blog with such questions.

Ray Hartwig