ILC History: First ILC Meeting at Christ Church in Uelzen, 1952

Christ Church in Uelzen, Germany, Site of the first ILC Meeting in 1952.

GERMANY – The group that became the International Lutheran Council (ILC) met on 6-10 August 1952 at Christ Church (Christuskirche) in Uelzen, Germany. Approximately, 160 people attended this meeting comprised of church bodies and free churches from around the world. The 160 people who attended the conference at Uelzen represented about 3 million Lutherans. The ILC group met after the second meeting of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) at Hannover, Germany, in July 1952.

Some of the Missouri Synod delegates to the 1952 LWF World Assembly in Hannover, also attended the ILC founding meeting in Uelzen. During World War II, the two free church congregations were severely damaged in Hannover. The independent Lutheran congregation in Uelzen was newly built after the war and was able to serve the ILC conference with new modern facilities.

The Missouri Synod Delegates to the 1952 Lutheran World Federation World Assembly in Hannover, Germany.
Remodeled Altar at Christ Church in Uelzen.

Eventually, this group that met in Uelzen in 1952 formed the International Lutheran Council. The ILC had humble beginnings. Dr. Hoopmann from Australia who attended this first meeting wrote in the minutes: “The delegates at Hannover represented more than 40 million Lutherans. Those at Uelzen scarcely 3 million. We are in the minority. We stand alone; but as the men who after mature deliberation signed the Formula of Concord did so as men who desired to appear before the judgment seat of Christ with intrepid hearts, thus we are also mindful of our responsibility to God and all Christendom and of the fact that we have vowed ‘that we will neither privately nor publicly speak or write anything contrary to our Confessions, but by the help of God’s grace we intend to abide thereby.'”

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One thought on “ILC History: First ILC Meeting at Christ Church in Uelzen, 1952

  1. What a joy for me to take a closer look at the photo captioned “Missouri Synod Delegates” and see my grandfather and grandmother, Rev. Adolph and Emilie Michalk in the front row left of center! (She’s the one holding her purse in front of her.)

    My grandparents spent 10 years helping to rebuild the churches in postwar Europe, particularly Alsace-Lorraine.

    I give thanks to God for a godly and faithful heritage.

    I read the posts about the ILC with great interest and often share them with people in my congregation in Mound, Minnesota.

    May the Lord continue to guide and bless that we too may be found faithful.

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