Twenty-one representatives from the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS), and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) met on Dec. 4–5, 2023, in Florida to continue our annual informal discussions. This meeting was the 11th in-person meeting. Like the others, it was an opportunity to compare notes on the challenges that our synods face and to talk about doctrinal points on which we agree and disagree—without any indication that we will come back into fellowship soon.
This year we had fruitful discussion about the cultural challenges that we face in the United States and Canada. All three synods have statements or are planning statements on issues like critical theory and gender identity. These are matters where all three synods speak in similar ways as they uphold scriptural principles.
There also was continued discussion about the doctrine of the ministry. Our three synods have practices in regard to the ministry that are very similar, but there have been differences in how we talk about the doctrine. We are trying to understand each other and to evaluate the nature of these differences.
Plans are being made to meet again in December 2024 and to distribute a fuller report about our meetings in 2025. There was some discussion about the possibility of holding free conferences to share more fully what we have learned in these meetings. God willing, the leadership of the three synods will remain the same for a few years. Pres. Glenn Obenberger of the ELS was reelected to a four-year term in 2022, Pres. Matthew Harrison of the LCMS was reelected to a three-year term in 2023, and I was reelected to a four-year term in 2023.
Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder