The WELS Commission on Inter-Church Relations (CICR) held its fall meeting last week. The CICR serves under the Conference of Presidents in the following ways:
- To preserve and strengthen—on the basis of complete unity in scriptural doctrine and practice —the bond of confessional fellowship with those church bodies with which such fellowship already exists.
- To extend the bond of confessional fellowship with other church bodies where complete unity in scriptural doctrine and practice becomes apparent.
- To extend the true doctrine and practice of the evangelical Lutheran church by offering testimony and assistance—outside of fellowship—to groups that show a desire to grow in their understanding of scriptural doctrine and practice.
- To keep itself informed on doctrinal trends as they become evident in the church at large.
- To formulate doctrinal statements needed for dealing with other church bodies and, upon request, to address other doctrinal issues.
The members of the CICR keep in contact with churches around the world that are a part of our worldwide fellowship. Those contacts are intended to provide encouragement and support to those churches and to keep our synod informed of how God is blessing those church bodies. In addition, members of the CICR are also assigned to monitor and observe what is happening in Lutheran church bodies that are not a part of our fellowship. A good part of the meeting was spent reviewing reports from CICR members.
The CICR also participates in reviewing requests from Lutheran groups around the world seeking possible fellowship with our synod. In the past two years, the CICR has recommended to the synod convention to recognize and declare fellowship with Lutheran church bodies in Ethiopia and Kenya. Other opportunities continue to increase, especially in Africa, with inquiries coming to us from countries like Liberia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Congo, Guinea-Bissau, and others. The same can be said about Asia (Vietnam, Bangladesh, the Philippines) and Latin America (Costa Rica, Ecuador, Argentina, Paraguay, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Cuba, and others)
God continues to open doors of opportunity for the proclamation of the saving gospel. Please pray that God would continue to build his church around the world. Pray also for your Commission on Inter-Church Relations as it works diligently to strengthen these fellowship relationships.
Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder