“The ILC is Growing”: Papers from 2015 World Conference published

Journal-Lutheran-Mission-ILC-coverONLINE – Presentations from the International Lutheran Council’s (ILC) 25th World Conference (held in Buenos Aires, Argentina September 23-26, 2015) have been published in a special issue of the Journal of Lutheran Mission.

In a preface to the issue, ILC Vice Chairman Robert Bugbee reflects on the continuing growth of the ILC. “This is not only true from the perspective of membership numbers and statistics,” he notes. “There is a rising urgency within the Council to become more vigorous in its goal of extending the reach of a truly confessional Lutheran witness to additional places throughout the world. The Council’s leadership is currently grappling with concrete plans to bring that about.”

Such growth has more to do with than just ILC infrastructure of course. “If this growth had only to do with a human agency, its structures, personnel, and funding, it would be of little moment to those who care deeply about the mission of Christ’s church in the world,” Vice Chairman Bugbee explains. “For us, the happiest news flash is the one St. Paul identified long ago when he wrote his friends of ‘the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing’ (Col. 1:5-6).

That emphasis on Gospel-proclamation ties into the ILC’s 25th World Conference in Buenos Aires, where the theme was “Bringing the Reformation to the World.” Papers presented at that conference focused on proclaiming Reformation truths to a contemporary world, and are now available in this special issue of Journal of Lutheran Mission. In addition to the convention’s Keynote Address on “The Augsburg Confession in the 21st Century,” the issue includes lectures, reports, and sermons. It also includes a statement adopted by the ILC at its world conference on the document “From Conflict to Communion,” a document published by the Lutheran World Federation and Roman Catholics regarding the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.

To read this special ILC issue of the Journal of Lutheran Mission, see the embedded document below or click one of the links below. You may also download the full issue in pdf format here.

Among other material, the issue includes:

  1. A Sermon for the International Lutheran Council—2015 World Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina by ILC Chairman Hans-Jörg Voigt.
  2. The Augsburg Confession in the 21st Century: Confessing the Faith Once for All Delivered by Rev. Alexey Streltsov.
  3. The Report of the ILC’s Chairman Hans-Jörg Voigt.
  4. A Statement from the International Lutheran Council on the Document ‘From Conflict to Communion:’ Lutheran—Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation 2017
  5. A Sermon on St. Michael and All Angels (Luke 10:20; Rev. 12:11) by Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver III.
  6. Our Confession in Augustana IV-VI by Rev. Sergio Adrián Fritzler.
  7. A Devotion on Matthew 6:24-34 by Rev. Dr. Lawrence Rast.
  8. Augustana VII: The Church and Fellowship by Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver III.
  9. Bringing the Reformation to the World: The Means of Grace by Chairman Hans-Jörg Voigt.
  10. Faith, Ethnicity, and Social Issues in the Thoughts and Work of Pastor Vladislav Santarius by Rev. Dr. Martin Pię

———————

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.

——————–

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.

———————

ILC Executive meets in England, plans for 2015 World Conference

Pictured, from left: President Gijsbertus van Hattem (Belgium); President Egon Kopereck (Brazil); Archbishop Christian Ekong (Nigeria); ILC Executive Secretary Dr. Albert Collver (USA); Chairman Jon Ehlers (Great Britain); Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt (Germany); President Antonio Reyes (Philippines).
Pictured, from left: President Gijsbertus van Hattem (Belgium); President Egon Kopereck (Brazil); Archbishop Christian Ekong (Nigeria); ILC Executive Secretary Dr. Albert Collver (USA); Chairman Jon Ehlers (Great Britain); Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt (Germany); President Antonio Reyes (Philippines).

ENGLAND – The Executive Committee of the International Lutheran Council (ILC) met January 15-16, 2015 at the St. Cuthman’s Retreat Centre in Coolham, West Sussex, just south of London, England. ILC Chairman Hans-Jörg Voigt, Bishop of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany, presided over the sessions.

The committee’s primary task was to make preparations for the ILC’s 25th World Conference, set for September 2015, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Bishops and presidents of all 34 full and associate member churches are being invited. The chosen overarching theological theme for the gathering is Bringing the Reformation to the World. In addition, delegates to the conference will choose a chairman and other executive officers for the coming three-year term.

Chairman Voigt expressed his joy over the fact that five Lutheran church bodies from various continents have made inquiries about taking up membership in the ILC. The Executive Committee also spent time examining the financial status of this global organization, which needs to be further developed.

Rev. Dr. Lawrence Rast, President of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana (USA), facilitated intensive planning sessions for the Executive Committee as they strategized for the future and analyzed both strengths and weaknesses of the Council’s existing form and function.

Summing up at the close of the meetings, Chairman Voigt commented, “At various times in history, the Church has been especially strong when in the midst of its limitations it focused on the primary thing—that is, the proclamation of the Gospel.” Bringing the Gospel to people is the Church’s main responsibility, he added.

———————