SPAIN – On February 14, 2023, Rev. José Luis de Miguel of the Spanish Evangelical Lutheran Church (Iglesia Evangélica Luterana Española – IELE) entered into glory. Rev. Luis was the first Spanish-born pastor to lead the Lutheran church in Spain—a role in which he served until shortly before his death when his health declined due to cancer.
Bishop Luis studied for the pastoral ministry at Seminario Concordia El Reformador in the Dominican Republic. He was ordained in 2017, after having first been made a deacon in 2012. In 2020, he was named the Spanish church’s first bishop, although the consecration could not take place until 2021 because of the pandemic.
In addition to serving the church, Rev. Luis also worked for the Spanish Association Against Cancer.
After Bishop Luis became ill, the Spanish church held an extraordinary convention on February 4, 2023 to elect a new leader. Rev. Felipe Lobo Arranz was selected to guide the church as president during this time of transition.
In a video address to the church following Bishop Luis’ death, President Lobo noted that the news had been very hard for the church. Expressing his condolences to the former bishop’s wife and children, President Lobo went on to say that the whole church “remembers him fondly, knowing that we will soon see each other again—that soon we will all be together with Christ, where [Bishop Luis] is right now, watching Him and contemplating Him.”
President Lobo encouraged members of the church to take comfort in the knowledge of the resurrection, pointing them to the promises of God in 1 Corinthians 15. “The reality of life is certain; the reality of death is certain,” he said. “But just as true is the reality of resurrection.”
Those who know Christ, President Lobo said, can look forward in hope to eternal life with Christ: “Remember that death has been defeated by Jesus Christ on the cross of calvary.”
The IELE grew out of mission efforts of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina (IELA), which was later supplemented by missionary support from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). Today the Spanish church has four congregations and, following the death of Bishop Luis, three Spanish-born pastors, as well as the support of one LCMS missionary.