LCA leaders have held initial conversations with representatives of two international Lutheran bodies this month, in response to General Synod’s resolution that the church investigates applying for full membership of the organisations.
Following a recommendation from the General Pastors Conference, the 2018 LCA Convention of Synod asked the General Church Board (GCB) to investigate the theological and church fellowship implications of full membership in both the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the International Lutheran Council (ILC). The GCB has assembled a project team to lead the investigation. A major component will be an examination by the Commission on Theology and Inter-Church Relations (CTICR) of the relevant theological issues. The LCA is currently an associate member of both the LWF and ILC.
Last week LCA Bishop John Henderson and Pastor Matt Anker, the Assistant to the Bishop – International Mission, met with LWF department heads and the General Secretary Rev Dr Martin Junge in Geneva, Switzerland. Earlier in the month they also met with Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt and Professor emeritus Dr Werner Klän of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany (SELK). Bishop Voigt is chairman of the International Lutheran Council (ILC).
Bishop Henderson said he felt encouraged by these conversations. ‘Leaders of both organisations have received our simultaneous approaches in a friendly atmosphere of mutual respect’, he said. ‘God willing, these initial meetings will be followed by further frank conversations with the representatives of both global Lutheran bodies.’
The GCB will report to the 2021 Convention on the outcome of the investigation, with a proposal on the possibility and advisability of the LCA applying for full membership in the LWF and the ILC, as asked for by the Synod.
Bishop Henderson and Pastor Anker have been in Europe attending a seminar hosted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.