By Megan Mertz
ST. LOUIS (July 24, 2013) — “Now is the time for The Wittenberg Project,” said the Rev. Michael Kumm, chairman of the International Lutheran Society of Wittenberg and vice-chairman of the LCMS Board of Directors, as he introduced to the LCMS convention today the project behind Resolution 1-07B, “To Support the Wittenberg Project for the Quincentennial Celebration of the Lutheran Reformation.”
The project is a joint venture of the LCMS, Concordia Publishing House and the Independent Evangelical — Lutheran Church (SELK), the LCMS partner church in Germany. Its aim is to renovate the Old Latin School in Wittenberg, Germany — the birthplace of the Reformation — and to provide educational opportunities for church workers, college and seminary students, and others, as well as to offer opportunities for Gospel outreach into the Wittenberg community.
“We intend that the programs offered there will go far beyond merely academic and educational programs to include opportunities for spiritual growth, Lutherland pilgrimage, service and outreach projects, and many more,” said the Rev. Dr. Jack Preus, chairman of the project’s education committee.
“Wittenberg is the place where God chose to restore the Gospel to the church and to the world,” said the Rev. David Mahsman, director of the project, as he addressed the convention.
Mahsman also said renovation work is set to begin as early as this fall on the Old Latin School, which was purchased with assistance from the LCMS Central Illinois District. He, Kumm and other project organizers hope that the building will be ready to open in May 2015, well ahead of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation on Oct. 31, 2017.
Following the presentation, delegates adopted the resolution by a unanimous voice vote. The resolution resolves “that the LCMS in convention encourages all congregations and individuals within the Synod to support The Wittenberg Project prayerfully and financially” and “that all glory be given to God for the life, work, ministry and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther.”
The Wittenberg Project still needs to raise $1.3 million of its $3.1 million total cost.
Floor Committee 1 then introduced Resolution 1-11, “To Recruit and Place More Career Missionaries.” This resolution calls the Synod to make it a priority to “double the number of career missionaries engaged in church planting, mercy work and theological education during the next triennium.”
The LCMS currently has 59 career missionaries working around the world.
After some discussion, delegates adopted this resolution and the final one presented today by Floor Committee 1 — Resolution 1-03A, “To Complete and Engage in a Synodwide Study of the ‘Theological Statement of Mission for the 21st Century.’ ”
Resolution 1-03A calls for the LCMS Offices of National and International Mission, together with their respective boards, to complete this statement by the end of 2014. It also calls on districts, congregations and schools to then use this statement so that “all members of the Synod be encouraged to develop a clearer understanding of their involvement in God’s mission and be moved to participate in it with greater joy and fervor.”
Resolution 1-03A passed by a 922–62 vote.
The 65th Regular Convention of the LCMS is meeting July 20-25 at the America’s Center Convention Complex under the theme “Baptized for This Moment.” Among convention participants are some 1,200 clergy and lay voting delegates.