European Lutheran Conference: Sharing Hope in Times of Fear

Some of the participants in the 2021 European Lutheran Conference.

EUROPE – The 26th European Lutheran Conference (ELC) was held online from June 2-4, 2021, following a year’s delay due to the pandemic. Participants gathered under the theme “Sharing Hope in Times of Fear.”

The conference featured three keynote presentations: Rev. Sebastian Gruenbaum of Finland presented on “Living in My Generation: Hopes and Threats of Our Time in the Light of Christ’s Word;” Rev. Dr. Christian Neddens of Germany spoke on “Living with Hope in Daily Life: How the Christian Faith Shapes Our Actions and Witnessing to Our Generation;” and Rev. Dr. Asger Christian Hoejlund of Denmark lectured on “Hope as Drawn from Martin Luther’s Writings of 1520.”

“The presentations stimulated lots of discussion,” noted Chairman George Samiec of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England (ELCE), who participated in the event. In addition to the pandemic, he said, topics of discussion included personalities, the Last Judgement, looking to the future with fear or love, and the question of whether society is becoming increasingly intolerant. “It occurred to me that our conference theme is applicable all the time and not just in a pandemic,” Chairman Samiec continued, “because our world is full of mishap and mayhem, sudden death and chronic conditions where injustice and the grave seem to have the last word. Jesus has a message for all time because His love can cast out fear (1 John 4:18).”

The conference also featured morning and evening devotions, reports from member churches, group discussions of presentations, and the writing of a paper on the conference theme.

The next conference is set to take place in 2023 in Aarhus, Denmark. The Executive Committee members for that event are the same as for 2021’s: Rev. Klaus Pahlen of Germany’s Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (Selbständige Evangelisch—Lutherische Kirche – SELK) will serve as ELC President; President Leif Jensen of the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church in Denmark (Den evangelisk-lutherske Frikirke i Danmark – ELFD) will serve as ELC Vice President; and Rev. Claudio Flor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England will serve as ELC Secretary.

The ELC is an association of Confessional Lutheran church bodies in Europe. Delegates at this year’s conference included representatives of member churches in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom, all of whom are also members of the International Lutheran Council. The event also saw guests from churches in the Czech Republic, Finland, Spain, and Switzerland.

Additional information on the European Lutheran Conference is available on their website at: euluthconf.org.

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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 www.corpuschristi.se.

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Czech Lutherans hold synod

SECAC holds its 2014 convention.
The Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession holds its 2014 convention. (Photo: SECAC).

Czech Republic – The Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (SECAC) held its national synod May 30-31, 2014 in Třinec, Czech Republic.

This year’s convention focused on the theme of Music and the Reformation, with Rev. Leszcek Czyz serving as guest lecturer. The event saw sixty-two pastoral and lay delegates come together to conduct the business of the church. They were joined by a number of guests from other church bodies.

Among other business conducted during the two days of convention, SECAC voted on whether to end fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brunswick—a member church of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD)—over doctrinal differences regarding morality, especially human sexuality. The vote did not pass, but illustrated a growing frustration in SECAC over the moral position of some of its partner churches.

SECAC earlier ended its partnership with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 2009 after the ELCA voted to bless same-sex marriages and admit non-celibate homosexuals to the ministry.

SECAC is a member church of the Lutheran World Federation, but has strong ties to a number of International Lutheran Council (ILC) churches. It holds a partnership agreement with Germany’s Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK) and cooperates with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) in a number of areas. Earlier in May, Rev. Ing. Libor Šikula of SECAC’s national Church Council represented the church at the ILC’s European regional conference in Germany, serving as one of the presenters.

SECAC operates primarily in the northeast corner of the Czech Republic, uniting believers of both Czech and Polish background. The church has more than 21 churches and preaching stations and a membership of more than 15,300 people, making it the largest Lutheran church in the Czech Republic.

UPDATE (July 15, 2015): An earlier version of this article incorrectly implied that the vote to break ties with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brunswick had passed. It did not.

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