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Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi joins the ILC

A presentation during 2023’s Corpus Christi Conference in Latvia. Photo: Dr. Samuli Siikavirta.

EUROPE – The International Lutheran Council (ILC) has accepted Europe’s Corpus Christi Association into membership as a Recognized Organization.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Corpus Christi into the International Lutheran Council,” said Rev. Dr. Klaus Detlev Schulz, General Secretary of the ILC. “Corpus Christi does remarkable work bringing together young Lutherans from across Europe to study God’s Word and to worship together. May God continue to strengthen the ties between our organizations as together we seek to make the good news of Jesus Christ known.”

Corpus Christi is a Lutheran young adults association first established in Sweden but which has grown to serve young adults from Lutheran churches all across Europe. Its motto is: “For the churchly and biblical renewal of young adults in Europe,” and the association encourages practice of historic Lutheran liturgy and knowledge of Scripture as the foundation of faith.

Rev. Dr. Samuli Siikavirta, chair of Corpus Christi’s board. Photo: Māra Siikavirta.

While Corpus Christi welcomes participants from many Lutheran church bodies in Europe, the association itself is independent. “By becoming a recognized organization of the ILC, we will not lose our independence” noted Rev. Dr. Samuli Siikavirta, Chairman of Corpus Christi’s board, on the decision to seek membership, “but we are making a clear statement that this is the kind of Lutherans that we are. We stand with those who want to hold to the Holy Bible and the Lutheran Confessions.”

 “We look forward to deepening our cooperation in the future,” he continued.

Worship during 2023’s Corpus Christi Conference in Latvia. Photo: Dr. Samuli Siikavirta.

The cornerstone of Corpus Christi’s work is its annual conference, which is held in a different country each year. Today the annual conference attracts approximately 250 participants from 20 countries annually—primarily from Europe but attracting participants also from the Middle East, North America, and South Africa. 2024’s conference is scheduled to welcome a number of participants also from Australia.

This year’s Corpus Christi Conference will take place July 22-26, 2024, in Wittenberg, Germany. Rev. Dr. Joel Biermann of Concordia Seminary (St. Louis, Missouri) will serve as keynote speaker for the event, discussing the Body of Christ in the manger, on the cross, on the altar, and in the pews. Additional speakers this year include Rev. Sebastian Grünbaum (Finland), Rev. Esko Murto (Finland), and Rev. Dr. Armin Wenz (Germany). Further information on the 2024 conference is available from Corpus Christi’s website here.

Corpus Christi held its first conference in 2009 in Sweden, with young adults from Finland and Norway also attending. From its beginning, the conference has invited speakers from ILC-associated churches to teach at its conferences. As Corpus Christi grew, so did international involvement from the rest of Europe, leading the association to update its governing statutes in 2020 to reflect the international nature of the organization. The board of Corpus Christi today reflects that international character: Rev. Dr. Samuli Siikavirta (Finland); Lukas Johansson (Sweden); Hanna Simojoki (United Kingdom); Jarl Roar Simonsen (Norway); Jordan Tomesch (United States of America); and Rev. Dr. Michael Wenz (Germany).

Planning for 2024’s Corpus Christi Conference in Germany. Photo: Dr. Samuli Siikavirta.

In addition to its annual summer conference, Corpus Christi has begun to host regional conferences in Germany, Finland, and Norway during the winter seasons. Additional regional events are in the planning stages for places like the Balkans and Southern Europe.

Corpus Christi maintains positive relations with a number of church bodies which support its work, including the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland (Suomen evankelisluterilainen Lähetyshiippakunta – ELMDF), the Mission Province in Sweden (Missionsprovinsen i Sverige – MPS), and the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (Selbständige Evangelisch—Lutherische Kirche – SELK) in Germany—all member churches of the ILC.

The International Lutheran Council is a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies which proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the basis of an unconditional commitment to the Holy Scriptures as the inspired and infallible Word of God and to the Lutheran Confessions contained in the Book of Concord as the true and faithful exposition of the Word of God.


Corpus Christi 2023: Lutheran young adults gather in Latvia

Lutheran young adults worship in Liepāja’s Holy Trinity Cathedral during the 2023 Corpus Christ Conference. (Photo: Liepājā Diocese’s social media).

LATVIA – Lutheran young adults from across Europe gathered in Liepāja, Latvia from July 24-28 for the 13th Corpus Christi Conference. This year’s theme was: “Built on the Rock.”

Serving as plenary speaker for the 2013 conference was Rev. Jakob Appell. Over three sessions, Rev. Appell discussed St. Peter’s confession that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and Jesus’ response that “on this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:16,18).

Rev. Jakob Appell speaks during the 2023 Corpus Christi Conference (Photo: Corpus Christi’s YouTube channel).

“Can we see from Peter’s own life what it means to be built on the rock?” promotional material for the conference asks. “He certainly had his ups and downs. And what does it mean for the Church to stand safe and protected from the gates of hell, ‘even when steeples are falling,’ as we will be singing in this year’s theme hymn (LSB 645)? What is so important with the confession of Peter, and of all the apostles and prophets? Why is the Lutheran Confession important for us today?”

Rev. Appell is a pastor in the Mission Province of Sweden and an Instructor in Practical Theology at the Lutheran School of Theology in Gothenburg. He is also one of the founders of the Corpus Christi conference.

The pop-up choir for the 2023 Corpus Christi Conference sings during the distribution of the Lord’s Supper.

Participants also had a choice of presentations each day made by Revs. Nathaniel Jensen (USA/Germany), Samuli Siikavirta (Finland), and Tapani Simojoki (Engliand/Finland). Rev. Jensen addressed “Basic Lutheran Doctrine” in the areas of 1) Justification, 2) the Lord’s Supper, and 3) Man and Woman. Rev. Siikavirta addressed the topic of “Confessing Christ” in 1) the Liturgy of the Divine Service, 2) Baptism and after Baptism, and 3) the Prayer Life of the Home. Rev. Simojoki addressed the subject of “Confessing Christ” to 1) Unbelievers and Members of Other Religions, 2) Evangelicals and Charismatics, and 3) Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox. A fourth option alongside these presentations was participation in sessions of the Network of Young Lutheran Theologians (NYLT). Rev. John Bombaro (Czech Republic/USA) led these sessions.

Some of the participants at the 2023 Corpus Christi Conference. (Photo: Corpus Christi’s social media.)

Additional discussion groups and seminars offered in various languages throughout the conference addressed subjects ranging from artificial intelligence and climate change to reading the Old Testament in the light of Christ and the concept of vocation in Titus 2.

Participants also held a special commemoration of Bishop Bo Giertz of Sweden, as this summer marked the 25th anniversary of his death. Giertz’ novels and spiritual writings—which can be found in English, German, and the Nordic languages—continue to comfort and instruct Lutherans across the world. All participants at the 2023 Corpus Christ Conference received a copy of the booklet Liturgy and Spiritual Awakening, which is an excerpt from a work written by Giertz in 1949 upon being made a bishop.

Some of the participants at the 2023 Corpus Christi Conference. (Photo: Corpus Christi’s social media.)

The Corpus Christi Conference is an annual event which brings together confessional Lutheran young adults from across Europe for biblical teaching, liturgical worship, and international fellowship. Corpus Christi describes itself as “an independent Evangelical Lutheran association promoting churchly and biblical renewal among young adults in Europe.”

Additional information on the Corpus Christi Conference can be found at their website at Video of worship and conference presentations can be found on their YouTube channel.


Lutheran young adults in Europe to hold online conference

EUROPE – Corpus Christi will hold its annual conference virtually this year, gathering online from July 30-31, 2021.

The decision to hold an online conference comes following the difficulties posed by current pandemic restrictions. 2020’s conference was postponed as a result of the pandemic.

This will be the 12th Corpus Christi Conference, and it will gather under the theme “Sharing in God’s Holiness.” Rev. Dr. John W. Kleinig of the Lutheran Church of Australia will be guest lecturer for the event.

“What happens when people no longer have a sense for God’s holiness, when they live as if nothing was sacred any longer?” Dr. Kleinig asks in promotional material. “They are unable to enjoy him and his goodness in the church and in the world. In these two sessions I intend to examine the surprising teaching of holiness in the Bible and show how the triune God purifies us from spiritual pollution and shares His holiness with us through His most holy Word by the proclamation of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments in the divine service, so that as His saints we can have access to His holy presence together with His holy angels and serve Him as His holy priests already now here on earth.”

Rev. Dr. John Kleinig presents on “borrowed holiness” for Corpus Christi in May 2021.

Dr. Kleinig taught at Australian Lutheran College from 1982-2009, and is widely recognized for his work as a biblical expositor and pastoral theologian. He is the author of Grace Upon Grace: Spirituality for Today, as well as commentaries on Hebrews and Leviticus for the Concordia Commentary Series.

In the leadup to Corpus Christi’s online conference, Dr. Kleinig presented a prefatory lecture entitled “Borrowed Holiness” on May 22, 2021.

In addition to Dr. Kleinig’s lectures, the schedule for Corpus Christi’s 2021 conference also lists times of bible study, prayer, and more.

Corpus Christi is an independent Evangelical Lutheran association which pursues churchly and biblical renewal among young adults in Europe. For more information on Corpus Christi, or to register for the online conference, visit their website at


Young European Lutherans to gather in the Czech Republic for 2018 Corpus Christi

Participants in the 2017 Corpus Christi conference gather for worship.

PRAGUE – Young Lutheran adults across Europe are looking forward to celebrating the 10th annual Corpus Christi conference, set to take place July 23-27, 2018 in Prague. Corpus Christi is an independent Evangelical Lutheran association promoting churchly and biblical renewal among young adults in Europe.

More than 150 people have already registered for the upcoming conference, and the board of Corpus Christi expects a total of more than 200 attendees to come to this year’s event in the Czech Republic. Plenary speaker for the event will be Canadian pastor Rev. Kurt Reinhardt, who will be presenting on the subject of Christian hope. For additional speakers and more information on the schedule of events, visit Corpus Christi’s website here.

Last year’s Corpus Christi conference in Halle, Germany was a huge success with more than 200 attendees. In Lutheran style, the 2017 event celebrated the 500 year anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation with the theme “In Christ Alone.” The conference was well received, especially since it was the first year that attendees were able to use a physical copy of the Lutheran Service Book (LSB). Every day during the week long conference, young adults sung the liturgy, psalms, and Lutheran hymns. The hymnals came as a gift from the International Lutheran Council (ILC).

Participants are eager to use the ILC’s wonderful gift of LSB’s again this coming summer. This year the ILC has agreed to finance ribbons for the hymnals, to assist those not yet familiar with the Lutheran Service Book.

For more information on Corpus Christi, visit their website at


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