Leaders from WELS and Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) missions as well as from national church bodies from Japan to Indonesia gathered in Seoul, South Korea, Oct. 28–30, 2015, for the first Asia-Oceania regional conference of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference (CELC). These participants were able to learn from each other and grow in the fellowship they share in Jesus Christ. Representatives from the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Australia, Kingdom Workers and WELS Multi-Language Publications also were able to attend.
The overall teaching focus of the conference centered on the sacrament of Baptism, with essays written and delivered by Pastor Takeshi Nidaira of the Lutheran Evangelical Christian Church of Japan and by a pastor from Gereja Lutheran Indonesia.
Of vital importance to all participants was the opportunity for fellowship with their brothers and sisters in the faith. Many of the leaders were from small church bodies and new mission fields where there is little, if any, contact with fellow believers. Many also live in areas of the world in which Christianity is almost non-existent or even illegal. They were able to talk and share with one another, for the first time, their joys and struggles as they carry out the work the Lord has given to them.
On the final day of the conference, Seoul Lutheran Church, the conference host, provided a tour of various historical sites around the city.
On the Sunday following the conference, Seoul Lutheran Church, a mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, held a service celebrating its tenth anniversary. This congregation, served by Pastor Young Ha Kim, has worked closely with many WELS area Lutheran high schools to bring Korean students to the United States for their high school education. This unofficial partnership has provided countless blessings to the congregation. The students have been able to not only receive a solid education but one that is grounded in the Christian faith. The high schools and their other students have also benefited from learning about Korean culture from these young Lutherans.
These few days of learning and celebration ended much too soon for many of the participants. All expressed a desire for this regional conference to be held on a regular basis.
Pastor Paul Fries
ELS communication director
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Author: Rev. Paul Fries
Volume 103, Number 02
Issue: February 2016
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