French Lutherans hold synod, establish relations with Swiss church

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Rev. Walter Ralli  (Burgdorf, Switzerland); ELCSF Vice-President Philippe Volff; and ELCSF President Emeritus Jean Haessig.
The new French edition of Luther's Small Catechism.
The new French edition of Luther’s Small Catechism.

FRANCE – The Evangelical Lutheran Church – Synod of France (ELCSF held its synod November 9-11 in Schillersdorf, Alsace in France.

The convention opened the morning of Sunday, November 9 with a worship service alongside the congregation in Schillersdorf. The afternoon saw the official presentation of the ELCSF’s newly revised French edition of Luther’s Small Catechism. The same day saw the French church officially establish altar and pulpit fellowship with a group of confessional Lutherans in Switzerland.

“It is a joy to be able to recognize these Swiss Lutherans as our brothers and sisters in Christ,” said ELCSF Vice President Philippe Volff. “May God bless our ministry together as we proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to a broken world.”

Talks with the Swiss were conducted by ELCSF President Emeritus Jean Haessig. Rev. Walter Ralli (Burgdorf, Switzerland) attended the French church’s convention as a representative of the Swiss Lutherans.

Business continued Monday and Tuesday, with regular reports and a presentation on the finances of the church. Monday afternoon saw the exploration of this year’s convention theme: “Why I Am a Member of My Church.” Presenters on the topic included Rev. Jean-Louis Schaeffer, Rev. David Maffet, and Vice President Volff. Additional presentations focused on a discussion of the Church in the internet age.

The ELCSF holds its convention every two years, normally in May. This year’s convention had been postponed after President Roger Jones suffered a major stroke which left him hospitalized. The November date was eventually chosen to coincide with the release of the new catechism.

President Jones, who was elected to lead the ELCSF in 2012, recently began testing ministry related tasks to assess if he is ready to begin work again part-time. He returned to the pulpit for the first time since his stroke on October 19 and is currently leading a Bible study. He cannot yet travel and thus could not attend this year’s convention, so Vice President Philippe Volff substituted for him.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church – Synod of France has ten churches, eight pastors, and more than 700 members. It is a member of the International Lutheran Council.

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Mathew Block

Mathew Block serves as Communications Manager for the International Lutheran Council. He is also editor of The Canadian Lutheran magazine, and formerly served as Communications Manager for Lutheran Church–Canada.

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