Churches joining hearts and hands

Dear Friend,

Two church bodies recently joined hearts and hands with us to uphold and proclaim the saving truth of Scripture. At the 2023 synod convention, WELS affirmed fellowship with Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional and declared fellowship with Obadiah Lutheran Synod.

These two sister synods are on different continents. Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional, created in October 2021, is a gathering of believers across Latin America—from Bolivia and Colombia to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Obadiah Lutheran Synod is a gathering of believers in the African country of Uganda. They speak different languages, have different cultures, and organize congregations differently. Yet these two church bodies have much in common. Both are eager and active in spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.

Working together with WELS Academia Cristo, Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional set a goal of having 1,000 grupos sembradores (groups gathered around the gospel) throughout Latin America by 2028. They are working with Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary’s Pastoral Studies Institute to establish seminary education throughout Latin America. Latin Americans are gathering groups in homes and rented spaces in the towns and cities where they live to teach the gospel to neighbors and friends.

Obadiah Lutheran Synod is all about gathering a community to learn the gospel. These Ugandan believers organize knitting clubs as outreach and then invite friends—including their Muslim neighbors—to attend. They have a big heart for welcoming into their lives Sudanese refugees from the north. Their goal is to establish one main church that also serves as a teaching center in each district of their land.

Both church bodies take ownership of their work. They are well organized and well led. Pastor Herrera, president of Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional, is a long-time acquaintance of WELS workers in Latin America. Pastor Musa, president of Obadiah Lutheran Synod, was instrumental in talks with WELS workers in Africa over the past couple of years. Both synods are making, and are committed to, plans to fund their work.

Your WELS Commission on Inter-Church Relations (CICR) invites you to share in the joy of our new fellowship with these brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray for them. Give thanks to God for them. And consider offering a gift that expresses our joy in working together with them for the truth.

Your gift to the WELS CICR Fund helps these and other sister synods with their ministry. It will help Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional with travel costs for synod leaders to visit the developing grupos sembradores spread across Latin America. It will help them to fund a full-time worker who will travel extensively to build and maintain bonds of fellowship between the new synod and its new membership groups. Your gift will also assist Obadiah Lutheran Synod with purchasing a vehicle, constructing teaching centers, and carrying out compassion ministry to refugees within Uganda.

Praise and thanks to God, who continues to join hearts and hands together in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Serving Christ,
Rev. James Danell
Chairman, Commission on Inter-Church Relations

Prayer: Lord, how good and pleasant it is when your people live together in unity! We rejoice in our synod’s declaring fellowship with the Obadiah Lutheran Synod of Uganda and affirming fellowship with Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional in Latin America. May our joint ministry be strengthened as a result. Bless the Obadiah Lutheran Synod especially as they serve Sudanese refugees in their country. Be with Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional as they strive to gather 1,000 groups across Latin America around the Bible in the next five years. May your Word and your Spirit guide your Church! Amen.