Pastors from several sister church bodies and from other Lutheran synods attended the WELS synod convention as special guests. WELS President Mark Schroeder introduced these men to the delegates Tuesday morning.
Four of these guests are from church bodies with whom WELS will be declaring fellowship during the convention: Rev. Dr. Kebede Yigezu from the Lutheran Church of Ethiopia; Rev. Titus Tse from South Asian Lutheran Evangelical Mission (Hong Kong); and two pastors from East Asia Lutheran Synod. More information about the fellowship declarations will be in tomorrow’s edition of Together.
Rev. Glenn Obenberger, the first vice president of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), will be addressing delegates on Wednesday about our sister synod based in Minnesota. Since its formation in 1918, this church body of about 19,000 souls in 130 congregations has been in fellowship with WELS.
Rev. Michael Eichstadt is visiting from the Church of the Lutheran Confession (CLC). Representatives from WELS, the ELS, and the CLC have been meeting over the past few years in formal doctrinal discussions to determine whether the three synods are still separated by doctrinal differences. Convention delegates will be voting whether or not to approve a statement that representatives from these three church bodies drafted that addresses the question of when church bodies in fellowship should separate if false doctrine appears. Formal doctrinal discussions will be continuing in the future.
A representative from the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS), Rev. Dr. Jon Vieker, is observing the convention. Over the past five years, WELS, the ELS, and the LCMS have been meeting for informal discussions to clarify where our synods agree and where disagreements remain. Another meeting is scheduled for later this year.
Finally Rev. Michael Herbst and his son Daniel traveled from Germany to the convention. Herbst, pastor at St. Johanneskirche, Zwickau-Planitz, is thrilled to represent our sister synod the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church (ELFK) in Germany at the WELS convention during this 500th anniversary year of the Reformation. “I’m very thankful to be invited,” he says. He especially enjoyed the opening worship service and being able to sing and celebrate the Lord’s Supper, all believing the same thing—“one voice,” he says. Herbst will share more with delegates about the ELFK and its work to share the pure gospel in Germany in a presentation on Wednesday.
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WELS churches and schools featured in their local media.