By Mathew Block

Sheltering Ukrainian refugees in Germany

Ukrainian refugees study German at the Old Latin School in Wittenberg.

GERMANY – Refugees from war-torn Ukraine have received shelter and other forms of help in several congregations of Germany’s Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (Selbständige Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche – SELK).

Twenty Ukrainians have taken up residence in Wittenberg’s “Old Latin School” (OLS) after arriving from Kiev, Ternopil, and Lutsk. Angelika Weber is instructing the families in everyday German language skills. She is assisted by her husband, Rev. Dr. Wilhelm Weber, the OLS Managing Director.

The first couple who arrived from Kiev and were housed at OLS have already moved into their own apartment in Wittenberg and have found jobs as teachers. Natalya Zubrytska formerly ran a language school in Kiev with ten employees. “Her English is good and her German skills are progressing well,” notes Dr. Wilhelm Weber. He is currently seeking additional housing in the Wittenberg area, since the OLS is also needed for seminars of the Luther Academy of Riga, as well as for various groups of international visitors.

Rev. Andriy Honcharuk holds a Ukrainian-language worship service at the Old Latin School.

The Lutheran Church Mission (LKM), affiliated with the SELK, is considering employing a Ukrainian Lutheran pastor, Rev. Andriy Honcharuk, to provide spiritual care for Ukrainian refugees throughout Germany. Rev. Honcharuk and his family currently live in Wittenberg. Consultations on this possibility took place on July 25, 2022, at the SELK’s headquarters in Hanover and involved Rev. Honcharuk; LKM Mission Director, Rev. Roger Zieger; and Rev. Dr. Hans-Jörg Voigt, Bishop of the SELK.

Ukrainian families are also being accommodated at the SELK’s seminary in Oberursel.  Already last March, a family arrived from the Kiev suburb of Butcha—an area which received extensive news coverage due to massacres there by Russian military forces. They were later joined by another Kiev family, bringing to five the total of Ukrainians living at the seminary campus in Oberursel.

The seminary is also furnishing a large lecture hall to provide German-language lessons for Ukrainians. The offer has generated a strong response, not only from refugees living at the seminary but also from numerous Ukrainians living in the wider Oberursel area.

Seminary professor Gilberto da Silva offers various forms of support to the refugees with the assistance of his wife. “We have received generous support from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), the Lutheran Church Mission (LKM), and the social ministry department (Diakonie) of the SELK to help with rent and utility costs of the apartments and lecture hall,” he notes. “For all this we are very grateful.”

Ukrainian refugee families at SELK’s seminary in Oberursel.

Relief Efforts in Ukraine

Relief efforts also continue in Ukraine. On July 23, 2022, SELK Bishop Voigt held a phone call with Rev. Oleg Schewtschenko, a pastor of the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Ukraine (SELCU) serving in Odessa. Rev. Schewtschenko brought his wife and children to safety in Germany but chose to return to Ukraine—despite holding a German passport—in order to continue serving his parishioners.

During the call, Rev. Schewtschenko thanked Bishop Voigt for the German church’s strong support, which has allowed SELCU to purchase food and other necessities for people in Ukraine. “The help of our sisters and brothers in Canada and Germany not only helps us to survive in this war, but also strengthens our faith,” he said. The SELK’s social ministry department (Diakonie) is working alongside Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC) to assist people in the Odessa area. LCC has worked with the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Ukraine since the 1990s. Since the outbreak of war, LCC’s members have raised nearly $600,000 in emergency aid to assist SELCU.

Bishop Voigt noted the deep impression Rev. Schewtschenko made upon him during the phone call. “Here is a pastor continuing his ministry in a war zone, though he could leave without difficulty on a German passport,” he said. “But both he and his family have chosen to be separated for a long period of time. I have great respect for this. May God strengthen and protect him, his family, and all the sisters and brothers still in Ukraine.”

The Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK) of Germany, along with LCC and the LCMS, are member churches of the International Lutheran Council (ILC), a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies.

———————

Bolivian Lutherans reelect president

Participants in the Christian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bolivia’s 2022 national assembly.

BOLVIA – The Christian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bolivia (Iglesia Cristiana Evangélica Luterana – ICEL) held its 12th national assembly March 26-27, 2022, during which time the church elected Rev. Limberth Fernandez Coronado to another four-year term as president. Hugo Hinojosa was elected vice president.

The assembly, which drew 44 delegates from across the country, also saw discussion centered on bolstering the doctrinal commitments in the church’s statutes. To that end, the church adopted a new statement on the office of the ministry, expressing the necessity of a full subscription to the Book of Concord. This change was followed with the ordination of eight pastors during the assembly’s closing service, presided over by Vice President Airton Schroeder of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brazil (Igreja Evangélica Luterana do Brasil – IELB). The ICEL and the IELB entered into fellowship in 2002.

The ICEL has submitted additional changes to its congregations for study, as it contemplates becoming a full member of the International Lutheran Council (ILC).

The Bolivian church receives copies of Luther’s Small Catechism in Quechua, presented by representatives of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

The Bolivian church’s assembly also celebrated the release of a new translation of Luther’s Small Catechism into Quechua. Approximately 40 percent of the ICEL’s members speak Quechua, so the launch of the new translation—the printing of which was sponsored by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation—was an emotional event. Reflecting the catechism’s importance, the assembly saw several sessions on it led by President Fernandez in both Spanish and Quechua.

The Christian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bolivia is an associate member of the International Lutheran Council, a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies.

———————

Lutherans in Brazil reelect President Schüler

President Geraldo Walmir Schüler preaches during the opening worship service of the IELB’s 63rd National Convention.

BRAZIL – The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil (Igreja Evangélica Luterana do Brasil – IELB) held its 63rd National Convention from June 16-19, 2022 in Guarapari, Espírito Santo, during which time the church reelected Rev. Geraldo Walmir Schüler to a second term as president. The convention met under the theme “Living in Christ,” drawn from Colossians 2:6-7.

Rev. Schuler receives a pectoral cross as president of the IELB.

President Schüler was first elected to lead the IELB in 2019. Prior to that, he served the church as vice president of missionary expansion (2014-2019) and second vice president with responsibilities for missionary expansion and social action (2010-2014).

Also elected during the Brazilian church’s 2022 convention were: Vice President of Teaching, Joel Müller; Vice President of Missionary Expansion, Heder Frederico Pieper Gumz; Vice President of Christian Education, Fernando Ellwanger Garske; Vice President of Social Action, Airton Scheunemann Schroeder; Vice President of Communication, Éderson Wasem; and Vice President of Administration, Gustavo Becker da Silveira.

Among other business, the IELB’s national convention approved three opinions from the church’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations addressing the issues of homosexual relations, the ordination of women, and the involvement of pastors in political parties. The church also commemorated the 118th anniversary of the IELB.

Participants in the IELB’s 2022 national convention.

International guests in attendance included representatives from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Paraguay; the Lutheran Church of Uruguay; and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, with which the IELB signed new protocol agreements. Ecumenical representatives from the Evangelical Reformed Churches in Brazil and the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil were also in attendance.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil is a member church of the International Lutheran Council, a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies.

——————–

Korean Lutherans elect new president

LCK President Eunseop Kim preaches during his installation service.

SOUTH KOREA – In late 2021, the Lutheran Church in Korea (LCK) elected Rev. Eunseop Kim to serve as its new president.

The decision came during the church’s 51st General Assembly, which was a hybrid online/in-person event held in Seoul from October 7-8, 2021. Rev. Kim is the LCK’s eighth president. He was elected to a four-year term.

The installation service for President Kim took place on November 1. In his address, he called on the church not to be distracted from its primary mission and wander off on other paths. “The church must travel the right path,” he said, “not the wrong path, under any circumstances.”

“The church must follow God’s Word,” he continued. “The road that Christians are to go is not a wide road that can be travelled comfortably but instead a narrow road.” We must follow Christ where He leads us in His Word—like Abraham who left his homeland to follow God’s call, like Peter who left his boat to follow Christ, like Paul who left his place of comfort in Jewish society to go where Jesus led.

“[Paul] didn’t look to what was behind,” the new president explained, “but instead to what was in front, and he ran. He ran solely toward the reward which God had given him.” President Kim explained that he wished to follow the same path. “And this is not only the way a church president should travel,” he said. “It is the way for all Christians, and we will go together.”

LCK President Eunseop Kim with some of those present for his installation service.

He pledged to work alongside the church as together they follow the road. “I hope that you will encourage and support me so that I do not fall as we walk together,” he said. “Let us travel together the road where the light is visible and life comes alive.”

The Lutheran Church in Korea is a member church of the International Lutheran Council, a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies.

——————–

Canadian Lutherans reelect president, declare fellowship with Norwegian church

LCC President Timothy Teuscher preaches at the opening worship service of the 2022 synodical convention.

CANADA – Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) held its synodical convention June 10-13, 2022, in Edmonton, Alberta, during which time it elected Rev. Dr. Timothy Teuscher to a second term as president. The gathering met under the theme: “Stand Firm in the Faith,” drawn from 1 Corinthians 16:13.

President Teuscher was elected without opposition. He was first elected as LCC President in 2017, and also serves as Vice-Chairman of the International Lutheran Council (ILC). In May 2022, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton.

During its convention, LCC also elected Rev. Michael Schutz to serve as the church’s new Vice-President. Rev. Tom Kruesel, who previously held the position, did not stand for reelection. The church also reelected Rev. David Haberstock, Rev. Marvin Bublitz, and Rev. Robert Mohns to serve as Regional Pastors of LCC’s Central, East, and West Regions respectively.

Among the first business of the convention was the welcome of two new congregations into membership: an Oromo congregation in Winnipeg and a French-speaking congregation in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

LKNI Bishop Torkild Masvie and LCC President Timothy Teuscher sign a fellowship agreement between their two churches.

During its convention, the Canadian church also declared fellowship with the Lutheran Church in Norway and Iceland (LKNI). The LKNI earlier voted to declare fellowship at its 2022 synod meeting in March. LKNI Bishop Torkild Masvie was present in Edmonton for LCC’s convention, and officially signed a partnership agreement with LCC President Teuscher, formalizing relations between the two churches. The LKNI looks in particular to opportunities for cooperation on seminary education for its pastoral candidates.

LCC and the LKNI are both member churches of the International Lutheran Council, a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies.

———————

Classes Resume for the Lutheran Leadership Development Program

In front of the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Left to right: ILC General Secretary Timothy Quill; Bishop Dr. Emmanuel Makala (South East of Lake Victoria Diocese, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania); Deputy Bishop Helmut Paul (Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod in South Africa); President Dr. Denis Rakotozafy (Malagasy Lutheran Church); President John Donkoh (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana); General Secretary Teshome Amenu (Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus – EECMY); President Dr. Bruk Ayele of Mekane Yesus Seminary (EECMY); Deputy Bishop Mandla Thwala (Lutheran Church in Southern Africa); and LLDP Director, Rev. Dr. Naomichi Masaki.

GERMANY – After successfully completed the first half of the two-year Lutheran Leadership Development Program (LLDP) with six classes in three sessions in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated postponement of the second half for two years. The program was finally able to resume this spring, with classes taking place February 21 through March 4, 2022 at the International Lutheran Center (Old Latin School) in Wittenberg, Germany.

The International Lutheran Council’s (ILC) General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill, taught a course on “Liturgy and Lutheran Hymnody” while LLDP Director, Professor Naomichi Masaki of Concordia Theological Seminary (Fort Wayne, Indiana), held a class on the “Lord’s Supper.”

In front of Luther’s study at Wartburg Castle.

A total of seven Lutheran church leaders from Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Madagascar gathered together for the fourth sessions. Regrettably, variations in national vaccination policies prevented some other students from South Africa, Tanzania, and Ethiopia from obtaining visas necessary to attend.

Students were delighted to finally meet again in person, after having communicated primarily through emails and social media. Daily chapel together and classroom sessions remain the core of the program. Brotherly conversations were enhanced by living together for two weeks and by visiting significant historic locations within Wittenberg as well as in the surrounding regions of Wartburg, Erfurt, and Leipzig.

Worship and the Lord’s Supper

Dr. Quill, who has been part of the LLDP’s teaching faculty since its launch in 2019, led a course on liturgy and Lutheran hymnody. Worship is often a challenging part of the LLDP participants’ ecclesial leadership responsibilities at home. Dr. Quill addressed this important area by teaching the nature of worship as God’s service; the development of liturgy and ceremonies throughout church history; appropriate vestments; and the richness of Lutheran hymnody, with a guideline as to how one may evaluate hymns to be sung in the Divine Service. With numerous concrete stories and examples, Dr. Quill encouraged participants on how to exercise liturgical leadership in their own church bodies.

Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill leads LLDP participants in singing “A Mighty Fortress” in St. Mary’s Church in Wittenberg.

Dr. Masaki’s topic was an equally challenging one for the participants. Issues related to administration of the Lord’s Supper were identified and participants planned how to address them in their own ministry contexts. The use of bread was an issue in some churches of the participants. The question of wine was an even more disputed one. The class discussed frequency and early ages of communion, as well as the relationship between the Lord’s Supper and the Office of the Holy Ministry. Several participants brought up the subject of unfriendly pastors at communion. Others commented on legalistic practices inherited from their missionary-forebears, such as the compulsory covering of the head for women, wearing of jacket for men, and removal of shoes for all. Charismatic and neo-Pentecostal influences on the Lord’s Supper were also deliberated. The issue of open communion prompted by ecumenical relations of churches and schools in local settings was also addressed. Dr. Masaki helped these church leaders address these and other issues, discussing the major ecumenical and liturgical movements of the last century that may have negatively impacted doctrine and practice of the Lord’s Supper in their contexts. He further expounded the Lord’s Supper as instituted by our Lord in Scripture and confessed in the Book of Concord, helping students prepare themselves for leadership in this area at home.

Professor Naomichi Masaki, LLDP Director, teaches LLDP students in Wittenberg.

LLDP participants received the teachings of Dr. Quill and Professor Masaki with joy, gratitude, and excitement. “You explained everything in detail and made it easier to understand what confessional Lutheran means,” one participant remarked about his experience. “The courses have made us to think deeper in a number of issues when it comes to liturgy and the Lord’s Supper,” said another. “I strongly recommend that the LLDP continues, in order to preserve the truth among the participating churches and to strengthen the ILC,” commented still another student.

“It was gratifying that the Lord has made it possible for the LLDP to meet face to face again,” commented Dr. Masaki. “The time spent in person was another wonderful opportunity for our Lutheran leaders to deepen their confessional Lutheran theology, develop practical skills in the areas of worship, and cultivate their friendship as Lutheran church leaders.”

 “I am deeply thankful for the supporters of the LLDP, including Concordia Publishing House, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), and Concordia Theological Seminary,” he continued. “We were delighted to have Dr. Quill with us as General Secretary. We pray that the Lord may continue to bless this important program for the sake of serving the Lutheran Churches around the world through their leaders.”

LLDP participants at Wartburg Castle.

The next set of classes will take place July 25–August 5, 2022 at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The cohort will take two practical courses and church leadership: “Strategic Planning and Task Management,” taught by Rev. Dr. Jeff Skopak, pastor of Grace Lutheran in Jacksonville, Florida; and “Budgeting and Financial Accountability,” taught by Rev. Dr. Roger Paavola, President of the LCMS’ Mid-South District.

You can support the work of the Lutheran Leadership Development Program by making a donation online. You can also make a donation by cheque to:

International Lutheran Council
PO Box 10149
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46850 USA

———————

Finnish bishop receives honorary doctorate

Bishop Juhana Pohjola is introduced before receiving an honorary doctorate from Concordia Theological Seminary.

USA – Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana presented Bishop Juhana Pohjola of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland (ELMDF) with an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Divinity – Honoris Causa) during the seminary’s 2022 Graduation Service on May 20, 2022.

In presenting the award, the seminary honoured Bishop Pohjola “for his faithful service as a pastor, dean, and bishop in the ELMDF; for his faithful confession and teaching of the Holy Scriptures as confessed by the Lutheran Church; for his calm and bold witness in the face of government persecution and pressure; and for his generous friendship with other confessional Lutherans across the world, including this seminary.”

Bishop Pohjola is congratulated by CTSFW President Lawrence Rast upon receiving an honorary doctorate.

Bishop Pohjola’s relationship with the seminary goes back twenty-five years, when he was a student at the school. He received his Master of Sacred Theology degree from CTSFW in 1998. He further holds a Master of Theology (1997) and an earned Doctorate of Theology (2014) from the University of Helsinki.

Following his studies at CTSFW, Bishop Pohjola returned to Finland. He would play an instrumental role in the founding of the ELMDF in 2013, and served the church as its Diocesan Dean from that time until 2021, when he was elected Bishop of the ELMDF.

The seminary also highlighted Bishop Pohjola’s faithfulness in the midst of government pressure Finland, saying that “Bishop Pohjola has become known internationally in recent years for standing firm on the Scriptures in the face of public persecution and government persecution.” In 2021, the Prosecutor General of Finland charged Bishop Pohjola and a Member of Parliament, Dr. Päivi Räsänen, with hate crimes for the 2004 publication of a booklet which articulates historic Christian teaching on human sexuality. The case drew widespread international concern from those concerned about the erosion of religious freedom in Finland. The two were acquitted on all charges in March 2022, but the Prosecutor General has since filed an appeal of the ruling. The appeal process is expected to last years and could ultimately end up before the European Court of Human Rights.

Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill, General Secretary of the International Lutheran Council (ILC) and professor emeritus at CTSFW, praised the seminary’s decision to award Bishop Pohjola an honorary doctorate. “Bishop Pohjola’s courageous and articulate witness in the face of unjust persecution is an inspiration to the whole seminary community, to the 55 churches of the ILC, and to faithful Christians across the world,” he said. “His graceful response not only addresses the issues of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but his response extolls the beauty of God’s creation as male and female and the proclamation of repentance, forgiveness, and grace in Jesus Christ.”

Bishop Juhana Pohjola addresses the gathering following his reception of the honorary doctorate.

In addition to receiving the honorary doctorate, Bishop Pohjola served as the commencement speaker at the seminary’s Graduation Service. In his remarks he encouraged the graduates to focus on Christ’s accomplishments and not our own. “You are called to serve with words and loving deeds, bring the life-giving and life-changing reality in Christ Jesus,” he said. “And there’s nothing better, more meaningful, and more joyful in our short lives than to be in His use”

“It’s all about Him,” he continued. “His grace. His cleansing blood. His words of forgiveness. His struggles. And His good plans for you and His Church.”

———————

Pentecost 2022: The One and the Same Spirit Calls Us through the Gospel

Detail from Benjamin West’s “St. Peter Preaching at Pentecost,” 1785.

by Antonio Reyes

Five years ago, I attended the International Lutheran Council’s (ILC) Board of Directors meeting held in Berlin, Germany. Part of our planned activities for that Sunday—the third in Pentecost—was to attend worship in a congregation of Germany’s Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK).

On June 25, 2017, therefore, I, along with Chairman John Ehlers of the United Kingdom and Bishop Thor Henrik With of Norway, attended service at Berlin’s Trinity Lutheran Church.

This church, under the pastoral care of the Rev. Gottfried Martens, has exploded in size in recent years due to the hundreds of Iranian and Afghan converts who have joined the congregation. When we entered the building, greeters met us. We were then ushered into the worship area. There were many churchgoers already present. What surprised us was that there were many people who spoke different languages. There were those who spoke German, English, Farsi, Dari—plus my companion who spoke Norwegian and I who have my own Philippine language. Many different languages were spoken and heard during that time of worship. 

Given the season on the church calendar, I couldn’t help but think of the readings from Pentecost. The Old Testament text for the day is the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9. At that time, the whole earth had one language and the same words. Everyone understood each other, and thus they plotted to build “a city and a tower with its top in the heavens”—to “make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” But the Lord was not pleased with what He saw! So He came down to “confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” The people were dispersed and were separated from each other; God confused them by giving them different languages. 

The second reading for Pentecost is the Coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-21). At that time, many people from different countries and different languages had gathered in Jerusalem. They were there to celebrate the Feast of Harvest—the day of first fruits. In this story, we see the fulfilment of the promise of our Lord Jesus in John 14:15-17 (the Gospel reading for Pentecost), where Jesus said: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”

This promise was fulfilled at Pentecost. “When the day of Pentecost arrived,” we read, “they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” 

The disciples, moved and empowered by the Holy Spirit, stood up and proclaimed the risen Jesus.  They proclaimed that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord, those who believed in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, would be saved. That day, the Holy Spirit created saving faith in the hearts of many who heard the Gospel proclaimed, and 3,000 souls were added to the Church.

The Holy Spirit, who dispersed the people of old because of their pride and arrogance by confusing their language, is the same Holy Spirit who gathers people of different languages, colour, and culture through the Gospel of Jesus Christ during Pentecost. He is the same Holy Spirit who works at Trinity Lutheran Church in Berlin, Germany. And He is the one and the same Spirit who works throughout the whole world today in Word and Sacrament. People of different colours and cultures and languages are still called together to worship as one, united in our one Lord Jesus, having one faith, one Baptism, and one Holy Spirit who is their Helper.

Today, we celebrate the Birthday of the Church: the day of Pentecost! The Holy Spirit continues to gather us in the Word and Sacraments where He gives us the assurance that, because of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we have forgiveness of sins—and where there is forgiveness, there is also life and salvation!

We have that eternal life today. The same Holy Spirit guides and leads us to live a sanctified life. The Holy Spirit helps us to produce good works and to boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus to others, that they, too, might believe in Him and have life eternal through Him. Amen!

———————

Rev. Antonio Reyes is President of the Lutheran Church in the Philippines and a member of the International Lutheran Council’s Board of Directors.

Ascension Day 2022

Detail of John Singleton Copley’s “Ascension,” 1775.

by Timothy C.J. Quill

“While he was blessing them, he parted from them and was taken up into heaven.” – Luke 24:51

Since Jesus’ ascension into heaven, we live in a time of hearing not seeing. Preaching repentance and forgiveness of sins requires a mouth and ears: a mouth to preach, ears to hear. The forgiveness of sins goes in the ear: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

By the Holy Spirit, the Apostles heard the Word of Jesus and put it into writing so that Word can still be preached and heard even now, 2,000 years after His ascension, all around the world.

Even today, though we do not see, we believe and are blessed with the forgiveness of Jesus by the preaching and hearing of His Word.

The International Lutheran Council (ILC) exists to support this preaching and hearing through world theological conferences; theological scholarships, publications, and lectures; capacity building seminars; the Lutheran Leadership Development Program; the ILC Accreditation Agency; and more. All that the ILC does is aimed at strengthening Lutheran leaders, pastors, and teachers in building up the Body of Christ with the Word until the faithful attain the unity of faith and the knowledge of the Son of God  (Ephesians 4:8-13).

Lutherans the world over celebrate the ascension with their ears and mouths. One day we will celebrate our Lord’s ascension with our ascension, and with our eyes. Until then, we pray our Lord to preserve the preaching and hearing of His Word in His Church throughout the World. May He continue to use the ILC as one means of accomplishing His good and gracious will.

———————

Rev. Dr. Timothy C.J. Quill is General Secretary of the International Lutheran Council.

South Sudan celebrates bishop’s consecration

Bishop Nathaniel Bol (centre left) is invested as bishop of SSELC.
Bishop Nathaniel Bol (front right) following his consecration.

KENYA – On April 24, 2022, Rev. Nathaniel Bol Nyok Apar was consecrated as Bishop of the South Sudan Evangelical Lutheran Church (SSELC).

The consecration took place at Kakuma in northwestern Kenya. Kakuma is the site of a United Nations refugee camp which hosts refugees from Sudan. The church has four congregations in the camp (three South Sudanese and one Sudanese).

Archbishop Joseph Ochola Omolo of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK) presided over the consecration service, and Bishop Charles Bameka of the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU) preached for the event. Also participating in the consecration were Bishop Emmanuel Makala of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania – South East of Lake Victoria Diocese (ELCT-SELVD), Bishop Robert Kaumba of the Lutheran Evangelical Church in Africa—Zambia Diocese (LECA), and diocesan Bishops William Lopeta and Titus Okoda of the ELCK.

“I want to congratulate Bishop Bol on his formal consecration,” said General Secretary Timothy Quill of the International Lutheran Council (ILC). “He has served the South Sudanese church for many years already, and I pray that God will continue to bless him in his ministry.”

Rev. Nathaniel Bol is consecrated as bishop of the South Sudan Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Bishop Bol was elected in December 2011 but attempts to hold a formal consecration service in South Sudan were complicated by civil war which raged in the country from 2013-2020. The conflict led approximately 2.5 million people to flee the country as refugees, primarily to Kenya, Uganda, and Sudan.

An earlier attempt to hold a consecration service in Kenya in 2021 was also delayed.

The South Sudan Evangelical Lutheran Church is an observer member church of the International Lutheran Council, a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies.

———————

Signup for ILC Updates