European Lutheran Council elects new president

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President Klaus Pahlen and President Emeritus Jean Thiébaut Haessig.

GERMANY – The European Lutheran Conference (ELC) elected Rev. Klaus Pahlen as its new president on May 24, 2014. The election came on the final day of the ELC’s 2014 conference held in Bleckmar, Germany.

President Klaus Pahlen has served as Dean of the Western District of Germany’s Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church since 2010. He was first elected to the committee of the ELC in 2012 when he became Vice-President. President Klaus continues to serve as a pastor of the Lutheran Church in Essen, Germany. From 1987-2003, he worked in Botswana translating the Bible into the Kalanga language.

President Pahlen succeeds President Jean Thiébaut Haessig, who served as ELC President from 2002-2014. President Haessig had earlier announced that he would not be seeking reelection. In addition to serving as President, Rev. Haessig served the ELC as Vice-President (1990-1993) and Secretary (1993-2002). He had served in these positions while President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church – Synod of France (EELSF), from which he retired in 2012. In total, President Emeritus Haessig had served 36 years on the EELSF’s Synodical Board, twelve of those years as President.

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The newly elected ELC Comittee: Vice-President Leif Jensen, President Klaus Pahlen, and Secretary George Samiec.

Also elected to serve on the ELC’s Committee was Rev. Leif Jensen as Vice-President and Rev. George Samiec was reelected to serve as Secretary. Rev. Jensen is President of the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church in Denmark. He previously served as Secretary of the ELC during the 1980s. Rev. Samiec is Vice-Chairman of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in England. He has served the last eight years as Secretary for the ELC and also served a term as Vice-President.

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ELC: Living in an ecumenical world

ELC President Jean Thiébaut Haessig takes part in group-discussions on "living in an ecumenical world." In the back, ELC Secretary George Samiec listens in.
ELC President Jean Thiébaut Haessig takes part in group-discussions on “living in an ecumenical world.” In the back, ELC Secretary George Samiec listens in.

GERMANY – The European Lutheran Conference (ELC) continued into its second day of meetings May 23 in Bleckmar, Germany.

Discussion of this year’s theme—“Living in an Ecumenical World”—continued Friday, with Chairman Jon Ehlers of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in England (ELCE) giving the event’s third major presentation. Chairman Ehlers, who also serves the International Lutheran Council as its European world region representative, spoke on the practical challenges confessional Lutheran churches face today, using the experiences of the ELCE to illustrate. Among the topics he discussed were who can serve as baptismal sponsors, visitors attending worship services at which Holy Communion is being served, participation in local ecumenical events, and more.

Conference participants then broke into small groups where they discussed Chairman Ehler’s presentation, before reporting their thoughts back to the larger conference. A day earlier the same groups discussed two additional topics: the nature of the church, and how confessional Lutherans should relate to other denominations. The conclusions drawn by the ELC in these discussions will be used in the formation of a guidance document on “Living in an Ecumenical World”—a series of recommendations on the subject for confessional Lutheran congregations in Europe.

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