By Gretchen Roberts
ST. LOUIS (July 22, 2013) — With a vote of 965 to 3, LCMS convention delegates overwhelmingly affirmed altar and pulpit fellowship between the LCMS and the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELC), in passing Resolution 4-02. After convention attendees rose to sing the Doxology in celebration and thanksgiving of this partnership in the Gospel, Bishop Vsevolod Lytkin, on behalf of the SELC, spoke to the delegates.
“Greetings to you in the name of our Lord. It brings me special joy to greet this assembly on behalf of the brothers and sisters of the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church. The LCMS has played a very special part in the life of the Siberian church, especially in providing matters of theological education,” Lytkin said.
“In terms of time, we in Russia are ahead of you. When we work, you are still asleep in your beds. When we celebrate the new year, you are still in the past. The situation is similar with the fellowship between the LCMS and the SELC. We are by default in fellowship with other Lutherans unless doctrine or other irreparable differences prohibit it. We know things should be done decently and in good order, and for this we praise Christ alone who is the source of contentment and good unity,” he concluded.
Synod President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison previously declared fellowship with the SELC in December 2010, after the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations recognized full agreement between the LCMS and SELC the same month. The SELC consists of approximately 21 churches and 21 pastors and deacons spread throughout Siberia, which is the largest geographical territory of the LCMS partner churches.