Protocol agreement for Lutheran ministry in Cambodia

An ELCC congregation in Kampot, Cambodia.

An ELCC congregation in Kampot, Cambodia.

CAMBODIA – A new protocol agreement signed in September by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cambodia (ELCC), Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC), and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) will guide the next three years of confessional Lutheran mission and ministry in Cambodia.

President Vannarith Chhim.

President Vannarith Chhim at LCC’s 2014 National Convention in Vancouver.

President Vannarith Chhim of the ELCC hailed the agreement, calling it a “great blessing” for his “small church from a small country” to partner with the LCMS and LCC in ministry. In particular, he stressed the Cambodian church’s thanks for the aid North American Lutherans will continue to offer in theological training.

Despite having 32 congregations and approximately 3,000 members, the ELCC has only six ordained pastors. Consequently, the church relies heavily on the leadership of 14 male lay-leaders (who require additional training before they can be ordained), five deaconesses, and ten female evangelists. LCC has long supported the ELCC’s missions and social ministry work, with particular emphasis on providing theological education for church workers through the Lutheran Institute Southeast Asia (LISA). The LCMS operated a missionary presence in the country from 2006 until earlier this year.

Around the year 2000, Lutheran Heritage Foundation offered to interested pastors of all denominations in Cambodia the opportunity to take classes on Luther’s Small Catechism, which had just been translated into Khmer. Rev. Dr. Leonard Harms, then LCC’s Missions Director, became involved with managing these classes, becoming the director of LISA. The men and women taking these classes decided on their own to form the ELCC in 2009.

“We are thankful to God for strengthening the ELCC, LCC, and LCMS by His Holy Spirit to carry on His mission jointly in Cambodia,” said Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel, LCC Executive for Missions and Social Ministry. “It is a testament of our three churches’ desire to coordinate our work in Cambodia—to work together in spiritual and human care of many in this region of the world.”

“As we do so, we will rely on the Cambodian church to lead the way,” he continued. “They know the needs of their nation better than we do. May God bless our work together, that it bear much fruit for the Kingdom of God. And we pray the Lord’s blessing upon President Chhim and the entire ELCC as they bear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Southeast Asia.”

Cambodia is primarily Buddhist, with only three percent of the population identifying as Christian.The ELCC is a young church but one committed to the Gospel. They are also deliberate in cultivating a strong Lutheran identity—translating the Book of Concord into the Khmer language, to guide their church in an authentically Lutheran faith.

They “deeply desire to be confessionally Lutheran but are still learning what that means,” said Darin Storkson, Senior Regional Director with the LCMS Office of International Mission in an interview with The Reporter. “They are probably already in line with [us] doctrinally,” he continued, “and they are trying to learn how to express that in practice.” President Robert Bugbee of LCC agreed, noting he is “impressed with the doctrinal soundness” of the young church.

In addition to theological education, the protocol agreement “unites the three churches in a common bond of faith and confession” in a number of areas, including evangelism, emergency relief, social ministry, and short-term missions. For more information on the protocol agreement, read The Reporter’s article on this story.

LCC and the LCMS are both members of the International Lutheran Council.

(The above article is from The Canadian Lutheran).

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Mozambique’s Lutherans eager for first ordinations

Mozambique’s TEE students (all in blue shirts) pose with Kapasseni Project founder Rev. Joseph Alfazema (back row, far left) as well as TEE instructors Rev. Carlos Walter Winterle (South Africa: back-row, second-from-left) and André Plamer (Brazil: front row, far right).

Mozambique’s TEE students (all in blue shirts) pose with Kapasseni Project founder Rev. Joseph Alfazema (back row, far left) as well as TEE instructors Rev. Carlos Walter Winterle (South Africa: back-row, second-from-left) and Rev. André Plamer (Brazil: front row, far right). (Photo: pastorwinterle.blogspot.ca)

MOZAMBIQUE – Thanks to the work of numerous partners, Lutheran missions in Mozambique continue to flourish. Three new congregations have been established in the past year, with more than 100 people attending the first service in each new village.

The Mozambique Lutheran Church has no pastors of its own, so ministry is overseen by eight local men preparing for ministry. These men are all students in the Theological Education by Extension (TEE) program, and recently received the certification as deacons after completing their most recent round of intensive studies in July. The TEE program is organized by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil (IELB), and brings instructors from other countries to offer theological education in Mozambique. The eight students will complete their studies in 2015 and be ordained to pastoral ministry the same year.

The day of their ordination cannot come soon enough: in 2012, one Brazilian pastor reported being called upon to perform nearly 300 baptisms while visiting Mozambique as a TEE instructor. The newly appointed deacons are now allowed to perform baptisms in addition their current duties (which include leading services, preaching, teaching, and counseling). But even as these students prepare for ordination, plans are underway for the beginning of a new TEE class of students. By July of this year, twenty students had already enrolled for the new class, set to begin in 2015. There are also plans for the construction of a new building, the Concordia Lutheran Center, to continue theological education in the future.

These developments in Mozambique will be guided through a new Memorandum of Understanding (Addendum) signed this past July by partners in the TEE program: the IELB, the current TEE students, the Kuwangisana Organization, the Kapasseni Project, the Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod in South Africa, and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Lutheran missions in Mozambique grew out of the work of retired Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) pastor Rev. Joseph Alfazema and his wife Perpetua. Their work resulted in the creation of the Kapasseni Project, an LCC listed service organization that continues to support missions in Mozambique.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil, the Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod in South Africa, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and Lutheran Church–Canada are all members of the International Lutheran Council.

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Dialogue between LCMS, LCC, and NALC continues in Canada

Rev. Phil Gagnon (NALC Provisional Dean for Canada); Rev. Larry Vogel (Associate Executive Secretary of the LCMS' CTCR); Rev. Mark Chavez (NALC General Secretary); Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee (LCC President); Rev. Dr. David Wendel (NALC Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism); Rev. Warren Hamp (Chairman of LCC's CTCR); Rev. Thomas Prachar (LCC Central District President).

Rev. Phil Gagnon (NALC Provisional Dean for Canada); Rev. Larry Vogel (Associate Executive Secretary of the LCMS’ CTCR); Rev. Mark Chavez (NALC General Secretary); Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee (LCC President); Rev. Dr. David Wendel (NALC Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism); Rev. Warren Hamp (Chairman of LCC’s CTCR); Rev. Thomas Prachar (LCC Central District President).

WINNIPEG – Representatives of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), the North American Lutheran Church (NALC), and Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC) met at LCC’s synodical headquarters in Winnipeg June 24-25. This is the first time the meetings have taken place in Canada.

“These consultations have happened twice each year since they began at the invitation of LCMS President Matthew Harrison in late 2011,” explained Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee, LCC President and host for this round of meetings. Both days began with morning devotions in the office chapel, after which participants provided updates from their churches and discussed in detail what a distinctively Lutheran understanding of and approach to mission work should include.

A progress report was provided on a planned book of new essays on Law and Gospel, including contributors from various Lutheran church bodies. In addition, details for an upcoming second international “Confessional Lutheran Leadership Conference”—hosted by the LCMS—were shared. The event will take place in Wittenberg, Germany in May 2015.

In addition to President Bugbee, LCC was represented by Rev. Warren Hamp, Chairman of the LCC’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) and by Central District President Thomas Prachar. NALC participants included Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ecumenism and Ministry; Pastor Mark Chavez, General Secretary; and Rev. Phil Gagnon, NALC Provisional Dean for Canada. NALC Bishop John Bradosky joined the group briefly at the close of the first day. The LCMS was represented by Rev. Larry Vogel, Associate Executive Secretary of their CTCR.

“We’ll meet again toward the end of this year to evaluate where we’ve been in the initial three years of dialogue and to decide on the way forward,” commented President Bugbee. “Though the participating churches have disagreements in some significant areas, there is a high level of trust and an ability both to talk and to listen despite these challenges. I do thank God for common convictions about the Holy Scripture as the written Word of God, and the urgency in proclaiming Christ, the Saviour of sinners, as the primary mission of the church.”

The next round of dialogues will be hosted by NALC, and is set to be held December 15-16 in Sarasota, Florida.

Lutheran Church–Canada and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod are both member churches of the International Lutheran Council (ILC). President Robert Bugbee serves as Vice-Chairman of the ILC’s Executive Committee.

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Files from The Canadian Lutheran.

Nicaraguan church signs agreement with LCMS and LCC

Rev. Dr. Albert Collver and President Marvin Donaire sign the protocol agreement.

Rev. Dr. Albert Collver and President Marvin Donaire sign the protocol agreement.

NICARAGUA – The Iglesia Luterana Sínodo de Nicaragua (ILSN) and Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) signed a protocol agreement with The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) on May 13 in Chinendega, Nicaragua. The agreement will allow the three churches to better coordinate their mission work together in Nicaragua, as well as in mission areas in Honduras and Costa Rica.

Representing the ILSN at the signing was its President, Rev. Marvin Donaire. Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel, Executive for Missions and Social Ministry, represented Lutheran Church–Canada while the LCMS was represented by Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver III, Director of Church Relations and Regional Operations.

Lutheran Church–Canada’s President, Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee, hailed the signing. “This agreement among [the] Missouri Synod, LCC, and ILSN is a huge encouragement to all of us who care about a faithful Lutheran presence and outreach in Central America,” he said. “When partners refrain from duplicating each other’s efforts in a given country, but instead coordinate resources and consult intentionally, the capacity of each partner is deepened greatly. I thank God for the intensified cooperation between LCMS and LCC in recent years, and hope this Nicaraguan agreement will be an inspiration to other biblical Lutheran churches to work together in many parts of the world.”

The ILSN was born out of the mission work of Lutheran Church–Canada. LCC began mission work in Nicaragua in the spring of 1998. Just over ten years later, the ILSN was officially founded. Today the church has 23 congregations, 12 pastors, 12 vicars, 36 deaconesses, and about 1,800 members. It also has four missions, two church plants in Honduras and two mission plants in Costa Rica.

While LCC enjoys altar-and-pulpit fellowship with the ILSN, the LCMS and ILSN have never officially achieved the same level of partnership at the church-level. “Eventually, the LCMS will take a similar action to the LCC,” Rev. Dr. Collver explained. “In the meantime, as a mission start of an LCMS partner church with whom the LCMS is cooperating in the mission work, the LCMS is in de facto altar and pulpit fellowship, meaning that the ILSN is regarded for fellowship purposes as if it were an LCMS mission start.”

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With files from the LCMS Reporter

LCMS visits Ghana and Madagascar

ELCG Bishop Paul Kofi Fynn speaks at the dedication service of the Lutheran Theological Seminary (Ghana).

ELCG Bishop Paul Kofi Fynn speaks at the dedication service of the Lutheran Theological Seminary (Ghana).

GHANA and MADAGASCAR – Following visits with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya and the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s (LCMS) President Matthew C. Harrison continued his international tour in early February with visits to Ghana and Madagascar.

On February 2, President Harrison and the LCMS delegation visited the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana (ELCG) to celebrate the dedication of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Greater Accra. President Harrison and ELCG Bishop Paul Kofi Fynn lead the ceremony together, with President Harrison giving the sermon. Approximately 650 people gathered for the dedication service.

The LCMS’ Concordia Theological Seminary (Fort Wayne, Indiana) assisted the ELCG in setting up and equipping their new seminary’s library through the Chemnitz Library Initiative—a joint project between Concordia Theological Seminary and the International Lutheran Council. Some funds for the seminary’s construction were provided by the LCMS’ Office of International Mission. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana was established in 1958 by missionaries from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Today its membership stands at approximately 29,000 members.

LCMS President Matthew C. Harrison addresses the Malagasy convention while Bishop David Rakotonirina translates.

LCMS President Matthew C. Harrison addresses the Malagasy convention while Bishop David Rakotonirina translates.

On February 5, LCMS President Matthew C. Harrison was invited to address the opening of the Malagasy Lutheran Church (Fiangonano Loterana Malagasy) synodical convention near Antsirabe, Madagascar. On February 6, the LCMS delegation then visited the Antsirabe school for the blind. The school was recently the recipient of an LCMS emergency grant after Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, LCMS Director of Church Relations and ILC Executive Assistant, learned in October 2013 that the children were malnourished due to budget cuts from European partners.

During meetings between the Malagasy Lutheran Church’s leaders and LCMS representatives, 17 Malagasy bishops asked for LCMS assistance in helping their churches affording roofs. Many Malagasy churches can afford local building materials (like red bricks) to construct their buildings, but have difficulty obtaining tin roofs to keep members dry during the rainy season. The LCMS is currently awaiting a formal proposal from the Malagasy Lutheran Church to see how the LCMS might assist. The Malagasy Lutheran Church has approximately 4 million members and is a member of the Lutheran World Federation.

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Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus and the LCMS announce formal discussions

EECMY and LCMS leaders, including President Harrison (left of cross banner) and President Idosa (right of cross banner) meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

EECMY and LCMS leadersincluding LCMS President Harrison (left of cross banner) and EECMY President Idosa (right of cross banner)—meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

ST. LOUIS, Missouri – Representatives and leaders from the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) met at the Mekane Yesus Seminary, the EECMY headquarters, and the Gudina Tumsa Wholistic Training Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on January 23-26 to discuss the relationship between the two church bodies.

Representatives at the meetings included Rev. Dr. Wakseyoum Idosa, (President of the EECMY); Rev. Dr. Berhanu Ofgaa (General Secretary of EECMY); Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison (President of the LCMS); Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver (LCMS Director of Church Relations and Regional Operations); and LCMS missionaries Rev. Dr. Carl Rockrohr (Dean of the School of Theology at Mekane Yesus Seminary) and Deaconess Dr. Deborah Rockrohr.

Although the churches have diverse histories and developed in different contexts, the EECMY and the LCMS have discovered that both church bodies believe that the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God and the only source and infallible norm of all Church doctrine and practice. Both churches also subscribe to the Lutheran Confessions.

Article 2 of the EECMY constitution states the following: “The Holy Scriptures of the Old and the New Testaments are the Holy Word of God and the only source and infallible norm of all Church doctrine and practice; the Church adheres to the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed …; the Church sees in the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, which was worded by the Church Reformers, as well as in Luther’s Catechisms, a pure exposition of the Word of God.”

Article 2 of the LCMS constitution states: “The Synod, and every member of Synod, accepts without reservation: The Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament as the written Word of God and the only rule and norm of faith and of practice; all the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church as a true and unadulterated statement and exposition of the Word of God, to wit: the three Ecumenical Creeds (the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed), the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, the Large Catechism of Luther, the Small Catechism of Luther, and the Formula of Concord.”

Although the two church bodies recognize they have differences in doctrine and practice in certain specific areas, both believe that the common confession they share about the Holy Scriptures and acceptance of the ecumenical creeds, the unaltered Augsburg Confession, and the Small and Large Catechisms justifies, even demands, that the two churches engage in more formal discussion regarding areas of agreement and disagreement.

As an outcome of the meeting, the EECMY and the LCMS agreed to appoint a three-member team from each church body, along with the church bodies’ respective presidents, to begin formal doctrinal discussions. This six-person team, plus the two church body presidents, will begin doctrinal discussions within the next nine months and have the authority to form other ad hoc committees for particular topics as needed.

President Idosa said he hopes that, “through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the study of the Holy Scriptures, both church bodies would come closer to each other.”

President Harrison said: “Contact between our church bodies began almost a decade ago. We have been tremendously encouraged by Mekane Yesus’ public confession of the Holy Scriptures regarding issues of sexuality. Their zeal in outreach is something the Missouri Synod can learn from. I am glad that we have come by God’s grace to this moment of serious dialogue.”

While the church bodies engage in dialogue, both will look for areas where they can mutually support one another.

The EECMY was formed in 1959 as various synods started by several different mission societies merged into one church. In the 1970s, the EECMY developed the theme “Serving the Whole Person,” now often quoted and referred to as holistic ministry. This has been a guiding principle for all evangelistic or developmental church work. Beginning with 20,000 members in 1959, the EECMY has grown to 6.35 million members.

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, founded in 1847, is a biblical, confessional, witness-oriented Christian denomination with 2.3 million members – 600,000 households – in 6,200 congregations. Through acts of witness and mercy, the church carries out its mission worldwide to make known the love of Jesus Christ.

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LCMS meets with ELS, WELS representatives

wels-els-lcmsTUCSON, ARIZONA – Representatives from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) met for three days of meetings in December 2013 in Tucson, Arizona, in keeping with the encouragement given by the 2013 conventions of both WELS and the LCMS.

The meeting—a follow-up to a similar meeting held in December 2012—was intended as an opportunity for informal discussions to clarify doctrinal positions and to gain a better understanding of current situations in each church body. While those who were at the meeting held various leadership positions in ELS, WELS, and the LCMS, these talks did not take place among the churches’ constitutionally established bodies for formal doctrinal discussions. No decisions were made and no formal declarations were adopted.

The major topic for discussion was Church and Ministry. Participants gained a better understanding of the doctrinal positions each synod holds when it comes to the definition of “the Church,” and also had the opportunity to discuss in some detail the perceptions and understandings of the public ministry. The talks helped to clarify some issues, remove some misunderstandings, and shed light on the various terminology used in the three synods.

The talks were cordial and beneficial. All involved are committed to striving for a better understanding of where there is agreement and where genuine differences remain. The group agreed to hold another meeting in the coming year.

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is a member church of the International Lutheran Council and has approximately 2.2 million members. The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (380 thousand members) and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (20 thousand members) are American churches in full-fellowship with each other. WELS and ELS are member churches of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference.

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LCMS delegation visits Kenya

Rev. Dr. Al Collver, Archbishop Walter Obare, and President Harrison in Nairobi.

KENYA – On January 22, 2014, President Matthew Harrison and a delegation from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) visited the headquarters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya (ELCK). The two churches, which are in altar and pulpit fellowship and are both members of the International Lutheran Council (ILC), were meeting to celebrate a decade of work together. Ten years earlier, in December 2003, President Harrison (Executive Director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care at the time) visited Kenya in December 2003 at the request of then Bishop (now Archbishop) Walter Obare.

A choir performs at the celebration of a decade of joint ministry between the ELCK and the LCMS.

The LCMS delegation—which included Rev. Dr. Al Collver (LCMS Director for Church Relations and ILC Executive Assistant) and Rev. Shauen Trump (LCMS Missionary in Kenya) in addition to President Harrison—spent the day with Archbishop Obare and the bishops and bishops elect from each of the ELCK’s dioceses. Celebration of the past ten years and planning for the future occupied the day.

Following the event, President Harrison and Dr. Collver departed Kenya for Ethiopia where they will be meeting with representatives of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus.

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Discussions continue between NALC, LCMS, and LCC

NALC Executive Director Rev. Mark Chavez (NALC), Rev. Larry Vogel (LCMS), Bishop John Bradosky (NALC), Dr. David Wendel (NALC), Dr. James Nestingen (NALC), President Matthew Harrison (LCMS), First Vice-President Herbert Mueller (LCMS), Dr. Joel Lehenbauer (LCMS), Professor John Pless (LCMS), President Robert Bugbee (LCC), Dr. Robert Benne (NALC).

NALC Executive Director Rev. Mark Chavez (NALC), Rev. Larry Vogel (LCMS), Bishop John Bradosky (NALC), Dr. David Wendel (NALC), Dr. James Nestingen (NALC), President Matthew Harrison (LCMS), First Vice-President Herbert Mueller (LCMS), Dr. Joel Lehenbauer (LCMS), Professor John Pless (LCMS), President Robert Bugbee (LCC), Dr. Robert Benne (NALC).

ST. LOUIS, Missouri – From December 16-17, representatives of the North American Lutheran Church (NALC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), and Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) met for their latest round of semi-annual discussions. The meetings were held at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, and had as its theme “The Church in the Public Square.” Rev. Dr. Robert Benne of Roanoke College, a NALC theologian, served as guest lecturer for the event.

The participating churches reported on events since the last meeting in May 2013. “The relationships within this group are brotherly and cordial,” noted LCC President Robert Bugbee, “though we all recognize that we still have serious homework to do on matters where we are not in agreement.”

Since a number of the NALC participants had not visited Concordia Seminary before, its president, Rev. Dr. Dale Meyer, hosted a morning tour on the first day of meetings. President Bugbee served as chapel preacher for the seminary community that day, with a sermon entitled “The Coming Lord Kindles Patience” (based on James 5:7-11). Participants in the inter-Lutheran discussions also received an update during the meeting on a theological volume being prepared by LCMS and NALC theologians on Law and Gospel, a project coordinated by Rev Dr. James Nestingen (NALC) and Rev. Prof. John Pless (LCMS).

The NALC, comprised mostly of pastors and congregations who left the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) over issues of human sexuality, biblical authority, and the nature of the Gospel, has now grown to some 140,000 members in 340 local congregations.

The first official discussion between LCMS and LCC—both members of the International Lutheran Council—and NALC began in December 2011. The next round of discussions is set for June 24-25, 2014 and will take place at LCC’s synodical headquarters in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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Meetings between Mexican and American Lutherans

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Back row: Rev. Arthur Rickman, Rev. Daniel McMiller, Rev. Ted Krey, Rev. Dr. Scott Murray, Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill. Front row: Rev. Dr. Lawrence Rast, Maria De Lourdes, President Alvaro Lopez Fajardo, Rev. Samuel Peréz.

MEXICO – Representatives of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) met with representatives from the Lutheran Synod of Mexico (SLM) on December 16, 2013 in Mexico City, Mexico. In the early 1980s, the LCMS largely withdrew from work in Mexico. On September 29 of this year, the SLM sent a letter to the LCMS’ President Matthew Harrison asking his church to resume and increase its partnership. The LCMS responded by sending Rev. Arthur Rickman to meet with Mexican church officials.

In the meetings, SLM officials explained the challenges faced their nation and their synod. Currently, the SLM has three ordained pastors, and expresses a need for theological education leading to ordained pastors. The church also expressed a need for increasing its Lutheran identity, and deacons and deaconesses.

“It was delightful to renew relationships that had gone fallow and to encourage a church body that felt orphaned,” Rev. Dr. Scott Murray (Fourth Vice President, LCMS) said of the meetings. “We discussed concrete action items for the future that were mutually agreed to. Through these opportunities we look forward to rebuilding our relationship as we walk together in the body of Christ.”

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Rev. Roberto Bustamante lectures on Lutheran identity and the theology of the cross.

In cooperation with the Luther Academy (an American organization which promotes confessional Lutheran theology), the LCMS sponsored a conference for SLM pastors and laity. Rev. Roberto Bustamante from Concordia Seminary in Buenos Aries, Argentina, served as lecturer, focusing on Lutheran identity and the theology of the cross.

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The Lutheran Center in Mexico City.

The conference was held at the Lutheran Center of Mexico City. The Lutheran Center was built in the 1960s largely through the support of the LCMS. As a result of the agreement, the LCMS has a place at the table to discuss how the facility is used to promote Lutheranism in Mexico and Central America. Participants in the event look forward to a closer partnership between the SLM and the LCMS.

Both the SLM and the LCMS are members of the International Lutheran Council (ILC).

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