Synod President Gerald B.Kieschnick reported to Synod staff that the July 16-17 meeting of the International Lutheran Council (ILC) executive committee in Seoul, Korea, “went very well.” Kieschnick was elected chairman of the ILC last September.
The meeting’s main business was to plan for the ILC’s next international conference, set for Aug. 26-Aug. 31, 2009 — also in Seoul.
An association of 34 confessional Lutheran church bodies from six continents, the ILC promotes proclamation of the Gospel in line with the inspired and infallible Scriptures, as confessed in the Lutheran Confessions.
In addition to Kieschnick, those serving on the executive committee are Dr. Reginald Quirk, chairman of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in England and ILC secretary; and church leaders representing the organization’s five world areas: for North America — Dr. Ralph Mayan, former president of Lutheran Church-Canada; Latin America — Rev. Paulo Moises Nerbas, president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil; Europe — Rev. Hans-Jorg Voigt, bishop of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Germany; Africa — Rev. Effiong E. Ekanem, president, The Lutheran Church of Nigeria; and Asia — Rev. James D. Cerdenola, president, Lutheran Church in the Philippines. Also serving on the executive committee is ILC Executive Secretary Samuel H. Nafzger, who is the Synod’s director of church relations, assistant to the president.
The executive committee meets once each year.
The ILC itself observes a three-year cycle adopted last year. That cycle was initiated with regional conferences held earlier this year, continues with the international conference next year, and also includes a World Seminary Conference in 2010 — with those events repeated in the same order for future cycles.
In his communication to Synod staff regarding the meeting, Kieschnick stated, “Working with people from other cultures, with language and economic differences galore, is a significant challenge. Yet the Christian collegiality and confessional unity among us is a wonder to behold.”
Nafzger told Reporter that the executive committee discussed plans for next year’s international conference. He said that a theme and program for the conference of church heads and their wives will be “built around a variation of holistic-health retreats for pastors and their wives” that are conducted by St. Louis-based Grace Place Lutheran Retreats. That theme will “respond to the unique challenges of church leaders and their families,” Nafzger said.
The executive committee also appointed two new members of a five-member committee (each representing a world area) to plan the 2010 World Seminary Conference, including selection of its location and dates. Those new members are Dr. Douglas Rutt of the Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, faculty and Dr. Jin-Sub Eom, history professor at Luther University/Seminary in Seoul.
The executive committee also began discussion of plans for the ILC’s part in celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.
Nafzger said that he and Kieschnick, along with ILC Vice Chairman Voigt of Germany and President Hyun-Sup Um of the Lutheran Church in Korea were appointed as a committee “to propose guidelines to be presented to the 2009 international conference for this celebration at the level of the ILC, taking into account the wider Lutheran and Christian contexts.”
He also indicated that a new financial assessment plan adopted unanimously last year at Accra to fund the ILC’s budget went into effect July 1.
That budget roughly amounts to $650,000 for the next three-year cycle.
A previous system that assessed each member church body 2 cents for each of its baptized members is now replaced with a weighted system that calculates each church body’s yearly assessment based on its baptized membership and the gross national product of the country where it is based. In addition, each church provides a $300 yearly membership fee.
“This is a more equitable system — better than the former one,” Nafzger said. “Its just one of the exciting things going on in the ILC.”
Posted July 31, 2008