SPAIN – On October 9, 2021, the Spanish Evangelical Lutheran Church (Iglesia Evangélica Luterana Española – IELE) celebrated the consecration of its new bishop, Rev. José Luis de Miguel, during the church’s Annual Assembly in El Escorial.
Bishop Miguel has been a pastor in the Spanish church for four years. A worker-priest, he also serves as a health promotion technician for the Spanish Association Against Cancer. He succeeds Rev. David Warner, a missionary of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), to become the first native-born Spaniard to lead the church in Spain.
“Lutheranism has always developed in Spain through foreign missions, mainly from Argentina and the United States,” the IELE noted in a release. “The installation of the new bishop is a sign of the maturation of the Spanish Lutheran church.”
The multi-language consecration service featured involvement from churches in Finland, Portugal, and the United States, as well as from LCMS missionaries stationed in other regions. Bishop Juhana Pohjola of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland (ELMDF), President Adalberto Hiller of the Portuguese Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELP), and Fifth Vice President Christopher Esget of the LCMS all participated in the service, together with Rev. James Krikava (LCMS Eurasia Director), Rev. Joel Fritche (LCMS Dominican Republic), LCMS pastor Fred Gaede, and other church representatives.
The 2021 Annual Assembly also featured the ordination and installation of a new pastor, as well as a lecture by Rev. Dr. Arthur Just of Concordia Theological Seminary (Fort Wayne, Indiana), who spoke on “Mercy in the Gospel of St. Luke.”
The IELE has four congregations and approximately 100 members. The church first began to emerge in the 1990s, when Spaniards interested in Lutheranism made contact with Lutherans in France. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina (IELA) subsequently began to send missionary pastors to Spain in 2000, followed later by missionaries from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.