GERMANY – The International Lutheran Council’s (ILC) former Chairman, Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany (Selbständige Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche – SELK), has been honoured with a Festschrift to mark his 60th birthday in 2022.
The Festschrift was formally presented to Bishop Voigt on December 19, 2022, during which time the book’s dedicatory hymn—”I Will Be Present, Says the Lord,” written by Rev. Kurt Reinhardt of Canada and sung to the Luther melody “Von Himmel hoch”—was also premiered. Rev. Dr. Burkhard Neumann of the Johann Adam Möhler Institute for Ecumenism—one of the contributors to the volume—served as keynote speaker for the event.
The Festschrift features contributions in English and German, and is entitled Dienst an der Kirche durch Wort und Sakrament: Theologie und Kirche in konfessioneller und ökumenischer Verantwortung [“Service to the Church Through Word and Sacrament: Theology and Church in Confessional and Ecumenical Responsibility”]. Serving as editors for the book were Werner Klän and Michael Schätzel.
“This book is a tribute to Bishop Dr. Hans-Jörg Voigt on the occasion of his 60th birthday,” the editors write in the book’s foreword. “The honouree deserves recognition and thanks for his many kinds of service in the church and her congregations, especially for acting (and reacting) in a worship-centered manner, for his thoughtful commitment to the value of confessional Lutheran positions–within the church and ecumenically–, and for his incisive statements and expressions of a decidedly Lutheran way to practise the faith.”
“When preparing this commemorative publication, it was important for us to do justice to the diverse tasks—and gifts—of Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt,” the foreword also notes. Reflecting the diversity of Bishop Voigt’s impact, the contributors to the book come from a wide variety of nations and church backgrounds: from within the SELK in Germany; internationally, from within the International Lutheran Council; and from other church traditions who have come to know Bishop Voigt through his confessional ecumenical work.
The essays themselves are grouped into six categories: the Word of God; the Ministry of the Church; the History of the Church; Church Teaching; Church Practice; and the Relationship between Church and Society. Also featured in the book are two pieces of writing in German by Bishop Voigt himself: a 2011 pastoral letter entitled “Discovering Marriage and Family as Gifts of God” and a 2015 lecture entitled “Bringing the Reformation to the World: The Means of Grace” (these texts are available in English online here and here).
Among the book’s contributors are three current and former members of the ILC’s Board of Directors who worked alongside Bishop Voigt during his tenure as Chairman. These include: FELSISA Bishop Dieter Reinstorf of South Africa (“The Corona Pandemic and Jesus’ Parable of the Sower: A Personal Tribute”); LCMS President Matthew C. Harrison of the United States (“Scripture and Office in Sasse’s Argument on Women’s Ordination”); and LCC Past President Robert Bugbee of Canada (“The ILC: Coming of Age”).
Other contributions in the volume are by: Jorg Christian Salzmann; Thomas M. Winger; Gerson L. Linden; Achim Behrens; Karl Hinrich Manzke; John R. Stephenson; Mareile Lasogga; Horst Gorski; Jobst Schöne; Norbert Denecke; Robert Kolb; Armin Wenz; Werner Klän; Christian Neddens; Friedrich Hauschildt; John W. Kleinig; Burkhard Neumann; Martin Evang; Christoph Barnbrock; Jürgen Kampmann; Michael Schätzel; Andrea Grünhagen; Diethardt Roth; and Stefan Süß.
The book is available from Edition Ruprecht.