For Immediate Release
Contact: Vicki Biggs, 314-996-1236, 314-556-3829 (cell), @theLCMS
Delegates also vote for continued discussions with two North American Lutheran churches
ST. LOUIS, July 22, 2013—Two actions today at the 65th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod centered on expanding relationships with certain Lutheran church bodies.
With a vote of 946 to 7, delegates voted nearly unanimously to ratify altar and pulpit fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Liberia (ELCL).
“The LCMS is in a position to help us bear witness to our nation,” said ELCL Bishop Amos Bolay, when official discussions with the church body began in December 2011. “We believe that the LCMS teaches the Bible correctly and holds to the Confessions. We want to have fellowship with the LCMS because we believe the same.”
LCMS missionaries first began witness and mercy work in Liberia in the mid-1970s; however, they were forced to flee the country during Liberia’s first civil war in 1989. After that time and throughout the country’s second civil war, which spanned the 1990s, Liberian Lutherans continued to gather and share the Gospel with others. After the fighting ceased, the ELCL eventually was formed in 2009.
Today, the ELCL has 137 congregations with more than 6,000 baptized and confirmed members, as well as 12 Lutheran schools.
LCMS President Matthew C. Harrison formally declared altar and pulpit fellowship with the ELCL May 10, 2012, subject to ratification by the subsequent Synod convention.
Delegates also voted overwhelmingly to encourage further discussions with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. With a vote of 949 to 21, the President of the Synod is encouraged to seek opportunities to continue conversations with both church bodies.
The Synod convention, which runs through July 25, serves as the principal legislative assembly for the church body. Along with the consideration of some 116 resolutions, the convention includes opportunities for worship and fellowship. Convention participants include 1,191 clergy and lay voting delegates.
About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is a biblical, confessional, witness-oriented Christian denomination with 2.3 million members – 600,000 households – in 6,200 congregations. Through acts of witness and mercy, the church carries out its mission worldwide to make known the love of Jesus Christ. Learn more at www.lcms.org.