Joint Statement on Koinonia Meetings
The Lutheran Church—Canada and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
April 21, 2023
On February 26–28, 2023, about fifty pastors from The Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC) and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) gathered for a koinonia meeting at Christ Our King Lutheran Church, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, to deepen their mutual work on mission and ministry in Canada. Facilitated by Rev. John Hill, district president of the LCMS Wyoming District, the meeting examined and applied Scripture passages regarding koinonia (fellowship) in Christ, gifts in His Body the Church, reconciliation among brothers, and virtues in service of koinonia. LCC attendees included the Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee (pastor of First Lutheran Church, Windsor, and LCC’s past president), the Rev. Joel Kuhl (chairman of the LCC’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations), the Rev. Marvin Bublitz (LCC East Regional pastor), and about twenty additional LCC pastors serving in Ontario and Quebec. The Rev. Dr. Timothy Teuscher (LCC president) was unable to attend due to snow-related flight cancellations. LCMS attendees included the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison (LCMS president), the Rev. Dr. Jamison Hardy (LCMS English District bishop/president), the Rev. Waldemar Vinovskis (SELC District president), the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Shaw (LCMS Church Relations director), the Rev. Michael Frese (LCMS Church Relations deputy director), and about twenty additional LCMS pastors serving in Canada.
Services of morning and evening prayer, and of Holy Communion, framed the koinonia meeting. Discussions were lively based on a united confession in Christ, a brotherly love, and an honest desire to understand differing perspectives on mission and ministry. Koinonia participants shared confession, absolution, brotherly understanding, and renewed commitment to meet together for fellowship, ministry, and support. A recurring theme was the need for LCC and LCMS pastors and congregations in Canada to meet together regularly to build trust, cooperation, and joint ministry activities.
A number of positive recommendations grew out of the February 2023 koinonia meeting. Most significantly was the LCC-LCMS commitment to meet together in an Annual Koinonia Coordination Meeting (AKCM) meeting to take up specific joint mission and ministry proposals for discussion and action for the upcoming year.
The first AKCM occurred on April 21, 2023, in Fort Wayne, Ind. and by Zoom. In that meeting, the same LCC and LCMS leaders participated, but with Rev. Dr. Timothy Teuscher (LCC president) and without Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee. Agenda items for the upcoming year (July 2023—June 2024) include:
- A 2023 LCC President’s Ministry Council—LCMS Council of Presidents meeting November 13–16, 2023, in Irvine, Calif., to discuss joint strengths, weaknesses, and mission and ministry opportunities.
- A 2024 LCC-LCMS conference for 55 pastors February 8–10, 2024, in Mississauga, Ontario, to discuss joint strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and challenges, and ethnic ministries.
- Ensure that both the LCC East regional pastor and the appropriate LCMS district president meet together with any LCC congregation considering an issue bearing on inter-Synod fellowship.
- Address a path forward for First Lutheran Church, Kingsville, Ontario from independent status to LCMS English District membership for the sake of fellowship and pastoral care.
- Address a path forward for St. Luke’s Lutheran Church (Farsi), Toronto, Ontario to become a new LCMS English District ethnic mission congregation.
- Encourage SELC/Montreal-based LCMS-LCC joint services, Fall Foro attendance, and facility care.
About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (lcms.org)
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, with nearly 2 million baptized members in some 6,000 congregations coast to coast, is a mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination headquartered in St. Louis. Through acts of witness and mercy, the church carries out its mission worldwide to make known the love of Jesus Christ.