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ILC brings greetings as new bishop installed for Australia and New Zealand

Bishop Emeritus John Henderson (right) installs Rev. John Henderson as Bishop of the Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand.

AUSTRALIA – The Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand (LCANZ) installed its new bishop, Rev. Paul Smith, during a service of celebration in Adelaide on February 20, 2022, and the International Lutheran Council was present to bring greetings. The theme for the service was Galatians 5:1—“For freedom Christ has set us free.”

Bishop Smith was elected to lead the LCANZ in October 2021. Prior to his election, he served as bishop of the LCANZ’s Queensland District from 2005-2021. He is the sixth leader to head the LCANZ since the unification of Australia’s Lutheran churches in 1966.

“I ask you to pray for me and for all the people of our evangelical Lutheran Church in New Zealand and Australia,” Bishop Smith said in remarks following his installation, “and for the people of all Christian churches of the world, that we would gladly serve in the Lord’s name.

President Antonio Reyes of the Lutheran Church in the Philippines (LCP) was present for the installation of Bishop Smith to bring greetings on behalf of the International Lutheran Council. President Reyes represents the Asia World Region on the ILC’s Board of Directors.

LCANZ Bishop Paul Smith and LCP President Antonio Reyes.

“It is amazing how God’s promise of providing for His people and never abandoning them still continues to be fulfilled today,” President Reyes said. “It is our prayer that the Holy Spirit will guide you, Bishop Paul, as the shepherd of God’s flock here in Australia and New Zealand. May the Lord of the harvest grant you wisdom, strength, and courage as you serve Him and His people.”

President Reyes also expressed his thankfulness for the LCANZ’s longstanding participation in the life of the International Lutheran Council. “My presence here signifies the ILC’s wholehearted intention to walk and work with you,” he said, “to continue to study and learn with you and your pastors the Holy Scriptures—the inspired Word of God—and the Lutheran Confessions as the correct exposition of God’s Word.”

President Reyes also expressed thanks for the cooperative work which exists between the LCANZ and the Lutheran Church in the Philippines, and especially for the love they showed the LCP during the pandemic.

President Reyes’ full remarks can be read here.

Additional information on the installation of Bishop Smith is available here.

The LCANZ is an Associate Member of the ILC,  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 expounded in the Lutheran Confessions.

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New Bishop for Lutherans in Australia and New Zealand

Bishop Elect Paul Smith (Image: LCA)

AUSTRALIA – On October 1, the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) elected Rev. Paul Smith as its new bishop. The election came during the LCA’s 20th Convention of General Synod, which is being split into two parts: one online in October 2021, and a second in-person gathering scheduled for 2022.

Bishop Elect Smith was ordained in 1988, and has served in parishes and school ministry in Queensland and South Australia. At the time of the election, Rev. Smith was serving a temporary placement at St Peter’s Lutheran College Indooroopilly. He previously served as bishop of the LCA’s Queensland District from 2015-2021.

Also on the ballot for president was Rev. Matt Anker, LCA Assistant to the Bishop for International Mission. The nominees were selected at the LCA’s General Pastors Conference in July.

Bishop Elect Smith succeeds Bishop John Henderson who announced earlier this year that he would not be seeking reelection. The transition in leadership will take place towards the end of the year. More information on Bishop Elect Smith is available from the LCA here.

Also elected during this online portion of the Convention of General Synod was Rev. Neville Otto to serve as Assistant Bishop of the LCA. Rev. Otto succeeds Rev. Dr. Andrew Pfeiffer, who did not stand for reelection as Assistant Bishop. Rev. Dr. Stephen Pietsch was also on the ballot.

The LCA’s 20th Convention of General Synod’s theme verse is Isaiah 55:3—“…come to me, listen, that you may live.” The convention will reconvene in-person in 2022.

The Lutheran Church of Australia, which includes the Lutheran Church of New Zealand, is an Associate Member of the International Lutheran Council (ILC).

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