Convention recognizes international guests, growth of LCMS partnerships

Participating in a special recognition of the LCMS’ growing partnerships with churches around the world are, from left, the Rev. Amos Bolay (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Liberia), the Most Rev. Christian Ekong (Lutheran Church of Nigeria), the Rev. Modise Maragelo (Lutheran Church in Southern Africa), Rev. S. Rajagambeeram (India Evangelical Lutheran Church), Rev. Dr. J. Samuel (India Evangelical Lutheran Church), Rev. Dr. D. Monikaraj (Concordia Theological Seminary, India), Rev. Tatsuomi Yoshida (Japan Lutheran Church), Rt. Rev. Janis Vanags (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia), Rev. Torkild Masvie (Lutheran Church in Norway), Rev. Adalberto Hiller (Portuguese Evangelical Lutheran Church) and Rt. Rev. Arri Kugappi (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia). (LCMS/Michael Schuermann)

Participating in a special recognition of the LCMS’ growing partnerships with churches around the world are, from left, the Rev. Amos Bolay (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Liberia), the Most Rev. Christian Ekong (Lutheran Church of Nigeria), the Rev. Modise Maragelo (Lutheran Church in Southern Africa), Rev. S. Rajagambeeram (India Evangelical Lutheran Church), Rev. Dr. J. Samuel (India Evangelical Lutheran Church), Rev. Dr. D. Monikaraj (Concordia Theological Seminary, India), Rev. Tatsuomi Yoshida (Japan Lutheran Church), Rt. Rev. Janis Vanags (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia), Rev. Torkild Masvie (Lutheran Church in Norway), Rev. Adalberto Hiller (Portuguese Evangelical Lutheran Church) and Rt. Rev. Arri Kugappi (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia). (LCMS/Michael Schuermann)

By Sarah Reinsel

MILWAUKEE (July 12, 2016) — “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the Nations shall worship before you,” the Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver III, assistant to the LCMS president and director of church relations, quoted from Psalm 22:27 during Tuesday’s session of the LCMS convention.

To introduce the 24 special guests attending the convention as representatives from both American and international churches, Collver recalled the special relevance of Pentecost, when “the Lord undid the curse brought upon humankind where the language was confused and tribalism and racism began. At Pentecost, every person heard the Gospel proclaimed in his own language, and people were made into one family in Christ Jesus.”

These guests included representatives from numerous international churches with whom The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod shares altar and pulpit partnership, is working toward partnership with, or has some informal relationship. Representatives from the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the North American Lutheran Church and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee also were recognized.

This special recognition especially marks the effort that the LCMS and its partner churches from around the world have made to work together toward greater unity, as the LCMS seeks to expand and as international churches seek to be a part of a traditional and confessional Lutheran faith.

The LCMS now has 37 international partner churches, among a number of other less formal relationships with churches around the world. Seven of these partnerships were formally recognized at this convention.

LCMS partner-church leaders say that many international churches seek the expertise in doctrine and the seminary education that the Synod provides. Collver also explained that many of these churches may have turned away from the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and to the International Lutheran Council (ILC) because of the LWF’s position on Scripture, marriage and ordination.

“Today, as the churches of Europe and North America leave behind the truths of the Scriptures, world Christianity is shifting to the global south, particularly Africa and Asia. Many of these churches are seeking the teachings held by the Missouri Synod and the churches of the ILC. The time is now to engage these churches in partnership, and walk beside them as they seek to increase their Lutheran identity and their faithfulness to the Holy Scriptures,” Collver said.

Special guests from partner churches (already recognized by the LCMS in convention):

• Rev. Amos Bolay, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Liberia.

• Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee, president of Lutheran Church—Canada.

• Rev. S. Rajagambeeram, president of the India Evangelical Lutheran Church.

• Rev. Dr. J. Samuel, president emeritus of the India Evangelical Lutheran Church.

• Rev. Dr. D. Monikaraj, principal of Concordia Theological Seminary, India.

• Most Rev. Christian Ekong, archbishop of the Lutheran Church of Nigeria.

• Rt. Rev. Modise Maragelo, bishop of the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa.

• Rev. Tatsuomi Yoshida, Japan Lutheran Church.

• Rt. Rev. Janis Vanags, archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia.

• Rt. Rev. Arri Kugappi, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia.

• Rev. Teemu Haataja, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia.

• Rev. Alexey Streltsov, the Siberian Lutheran Church.

• Rev. Airton Scheunemann Schroeder, vice president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil.

• Rev. Dr. Curtis E. Leins, presiding pastor of the American Association of Lutheran Churches.

Special guests from partner churches that have been formally recognized at this convention:

• Rev. Torkild Masvie, bishop of the Lutheran Church of Norway.

• Rev. Adalberto Hiller, president of the Portuguese Evangelical Lutheran Church.

• Reverend Alexander Burtsev, president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kazakhstan, Almaty Region.

• Rev. Andre Luiz Muller, president of the Lutheran Church of Uruguay.

Other special guests:

• Rev. Nathaniel Nyok Bol, South Sudan Evangelical Lutheran Church.

• Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki, archbishop of Milwaukee, Roman Catholic Church.

• Rev. Mark Schroeder, president of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

• Rev. James Huebner, first vice-president of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

• Rev. Glen Obenberger, vice-president of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

• Rev. David M. Wendel, assistant to the bishop of the North American Lutheran Church.

• Kristin Lange, managing director for the International Lutheran Society of Wittenberg.

The 66th Regular Convention of the LCMS is meeting July 9-14 at the Wisconsin Center convention complex under the theme “Upon This Rock.” Among 1,500 convention participants are some 1,125 clergy and lay voting delegates.

Sarah Reinsel is a senior at Hillsdale College and an intern for the LCMS convention newsroom.

Posted July 12, 2016 / Updated July 13 and August 5, 2016 (In the sixth paragraph, wording is changed concerning the International Lutheran Council and the Lutheran World Federation.)

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