ILC admits Belgium church body, elects officers

BERLIN — The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Belgium was accepted as the newest member of the International Lutheran Council during its 21st conference here Aug. 27-Sept. 7.
 
The ILC is an association of 30 confessional Lutheran churches from all over the world to promote the proclamation of the Gospel according to the Lutheran Confessions.
 
The council also elected and installed officers of its executive committee.  They are Dr. Ralph Mayan, president of Lutheran Church–Canada, chairman; Dr. Carlos Winterle, president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil, vice chairman; and Rev. Reginald Quirk, president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England, secretary.
 
The Lutheran Church in Southern Africa, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, the Lutheran Church in Korea, and the Gutnius Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea were elected to represent their respective world areas on the executive committee.
 
The executive committee asked Dr. Samuel H. Nafzger, executive director of the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations, to continue serving as ILC executive secretary.  Rev. Peter Ahlers, president of the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa, was appointed to a fourth term as editor of the ILC News.
 
This year is the 475th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession and the 425th anniversary of the Book of Concord.  The 70 participants met around the theme of “The Lutheran Confessions.”  Dr. Robert Kolb and Dr. Robert Rosin, professors at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, presented papers.  Dr. Werner Klan, professor at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Oberusel, Germany, led Bible studies on St. Paul’s letter to the Romans.
 
The Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK) hosted the conference.  Its bishop, Dr. Diethardt Roth, led the opening service.  Klan delivered the keynote in which he emphasized the importance of the Lutheran Confessions for the church today.
 
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree to Dr. Ernst Koch of Leipzig.  Koch is an expert on the theology of the Lutheran Confessions and has a special interest in demonstrating the relevance of Lutheran theology for today.
 
ILC Chairman Mayan encouraged the member churches to celebrate the confessional anniversaries.  He reported that the LCC has prepared a series on the Book of Concord.  It is available in English and Spanish on the ILC Web site.  Mayan thanked ILC members that provided help following the Asian tsunami last December.  He also reported on a meeting between representatives of the Lutheran World Federation and the ILC in 2003.
 
Nafzger reported on the council’s activities during the last two years.
 
The members gave positive evaluations of the second World Seminaries Conference, held in the spring of 2004, in Germany.  The ILC Conference agreed to hold a third meeting in 2007.  Members also resolved that the executive committee appoint a task force to draft a document about the nature, purpose, and direction of the ILC.
 
The ILC Conference also heard reports from member churches and held regional and cultural group meetings.  It agreed to meet again in 2007.

Information for this article was compiled by Peter Ahlers, editor of ILC News.

Posted Sept. 29, 2005

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