ILC joins local Argentines for worship, pledges support for Buenos Aires seminary

A choir performs during worship at St. Peter church in Buenos Aires.
A choir performs during worship at St. Peter church in Buenos Aires.

ARGENTINA – In the final days of the 2015 World Conference of the International Lutheran Council (ILC), participants joined local Argentine Lutherans for worship and fellowship. On the final day, the ILC also pledged a financial gift to support the work of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina’s (IELA) Concordia Seminario (Concordia Seminary) in Buenos Aires.

IELA President Carlos Nagel preaches at St. Peter church in Buenos Aires.
IELA President Carlos Nagel preaches.

On the evening of September 26, the conference joined Peace Church and School in San Justo, Buenos Aires for Vespers. After worship, the congregation and school hosted ILC participants for a traditional picada meal of sliced meats, cheeses, bread, and drinks. On the next morning, participants joined St. Peter Church in Villa Ballester, Buenos Aires for Sunday morning worship. IELA President Carlos Nagel preached on the work of angels, noting the festival of St. Michael and All Angels, and a choir performed special music for the event.

Following the service, the International Lutheran Council’s newly elected Executive Council was officially installed. At this time, ILC Chairman Hans-Jörg Voigt also took the opportunity to officially thank the Argentine church for their hospitality, presenting small gifts of thanks to President Nagel and others.

ILC participants visit the IELA's Seminario Concordia (Concordia Seminary) in Buenos Aires.
ILC participants visit the IELA’s Seminario Concordia (Concordia Seminary) in Buenos Aires.

After worship, ILC participants were welcomed to the IELA’s Seminario Concordia, where they toured the facility and learned about its history and present work. The seminary is 73 years old, and was founded by the Argentine church as a means to provide local theological training for pastoral candidates.

ILC participants enjoy a traditional Argentine barbeque.
ILC participants enjoy a traditional Argentine barbeque.

A traditional asado barbecue with seminary students, faculty, and the wider community followed, as did a program including greetings, special music, traditional dance, and closing worship.

Many of the ILC’s Latin American churches send pastoral candidates to the Buenos Aires seminary for theological education. During the program, the heads of six of these church bodies took the stage, flanked by their church’s students at the Buenos Aires seminary, to thank the Argentine church. They spoke of the valuable service Seminario Concordia provides not only to the Argentine church but to Lutherans across Latin America, and expressed their thanks and support for their faithful work.

ILC Executive Secretary Al Collver announces a $12,000 gift to Concordia Seminario in Buenos Aires.
ILC Executive Secretary Al Collver announces a $12,000 gift to Concordia Seminario in Buenos Aires.

Rev. Dr. Al Collver, Executive Secretary of the ILC, also addressed the crowd to thank the Argentine church for their hospitality and to highlight the work of the seminary in Buenos Aires. He further announced a gift of $12,000 USD to the seminary on behalf of the International Lutheran Council, in recognition of the service it provides to confessional Lutherans across Latin America.

The official program of the ILC’s 2015 World Conference came to a conclusion following the seminary barbecue.

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ILC World Conference reflects on the relevance of the Augsburg Confession today

Essayists: Rev. Sergio Adrián Fritzler,
Essayists: Rev. Sergio Adrián Fritzler, ILC Chairman Hans-Jörg Voigt, and Rev. Dr. Albert Collver.

ARGENTINA – Throughout the 2015 World Conference of the International Lutheran Council (ILC), Lutheran leaders from around the world considered the continuing relevance of the Reformation for today. In doing so, they focused their attention especially on the Augsburg Confession.

The first day of the conference welcomed a keynote address on the subject by Rev. Alexey Streltsov, rector of Lutheran Theological Seminary in the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church. A series of three essays followed over the next days, building on the topics raised in the keynote address.

The first essay focused on Articles 4-6 of the Augsburg Confession and was presented by Rev. Sergio Adrián Fritzler (Director of Concordia Seminary in Buenos Aires). His essay examined the relationship between justifying faith and the office of preaching—the means by which justifying faith is granted, through Gospel proclamation and Sacraments. This faith, he continued, brings about the new obedience in which Christians serve their neighbours in love.

The second essay was led by Rev. Dr. Albert Collver (Executive Secretary of the ILC), and focused on the seventh article of the Augsburg Confession. Dr. Collver examined the Confession’s teaching on the doctrine of the church in relation to contemporary questions of ecumenical relations vis-à-vis the approaches taken by other groups.

The final essay, given by ILC Chairman Hans-Jörg Voigt, focused on Articles 9 and 10 of the Augsburg Confession and the Means of Grace. In addition to speaking about baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and confession and absolution, Chairman Voigt also discussed the nature of ordination. In all of these subjects, Chairman Voigt suggested that we must take pains to ensure our practice in all these matters corresponds to our beliefs.

All of these essays will be released for download online at a later date.

World Conference participants also benefited from a series of Bible studies intended to complement themes brought up in the major essays. Bible Study leaders included: Bishop Modise Maragelo of the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (speaking on Romans 3:21-31); Rev. Dr. Jose Pfaffenzeller, Professor of Systematic and Practical Theology at Concordia Seminary in Buenos Aires (speaking on Ephesians 4:1-16), and President Robert Bugbee of Lutheran Church–Canada (speaking on 1 Corinthians 11:17-29).

Throughout the conference, Matins and Vespers homilies were presented by  ILC Chairman Voigt, Dr. Collver, President Lawrence Rast (Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana), President Matthew C. Harrison of The Lutheran Church—Missouri SYnod, Vice-President Philippe Volff of the Evangelical Lutheran Church—Synod of France, and President Marvin Donaire of the Lutheran Church Synod of Nicaragua.

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