GERMANY – The Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (Selbständige Evangelisch Lutherische Kirche – SELK) of Germany held the first meeting of its 15th Synod in Gotha from June 13-17, during which time the church declared fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia (Latvijas Evaņģēliski Luteriskā Baznīca – LELB).
SELK Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt greeted the declaration of fellowship with joy. “Such ecclesial communion is a gift that we can only gratefully state and accept,” he said. “The relationship between our churches has grown steadily over the past three decades. We are united in our commitment to the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as well as to the Book of Concord, because in it the doctrine of the Lutheran Church is faithfully presented.”
Bishop Voigt went on to say that SELK wants to continue working to deepen ecclesiastical relations between the two churches, particularly by bringing congregations and church ministries into greater contact with one another than has been the case in the past.
Rev. Andris Kraulins, head of the LELB’s department for international affairs, was also present as a guest at SELK’s Synod in Gotha. “Our relationship with SELK began almost 30 years ago,” he noted. “During these years, we have been by each other’s side in joys and sorrows. We have learned from each other and strengthened each other in faith.”
“We at LELB are very happy because we are united with our brothers and sisters of SELK in an even deeper sense,” Rev. Kraulins continued. “Our Lord Christ is pleased that at a time when many are divided and the world emphasizes only the individual needs of each, we are united in Him!”
This was the inaugural meeting of the SELK’s 15th Synod. Additional meetings are scheduled to take place in 2024 and 2025, with the former being an online consultation and the latter being an in-person gathering.
The Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia are both member churches of the International Lutheran Council (ILC), a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies.