Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Sees ‘Profound Unity and Purpose’ in Kenya

The Rev. Peter Anibati Abia, ELCSS/S bishop, and the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, LCMS president, distribute the Lord’s Supper at the closing Divine Service for the 2022 LCMS Church Relations Conference in Kisumu, Kenya, on Sunday, Sept. 18. (LCMS/Erik M. Lunsford)

On Sept. 17 and 18, representatives from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) gathered in Kisumu, Kenya, with representatives from 34 of the Synod’s partner churches to discuss the work of the confessional Lutheran church around the world. One of these church bodies, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Sudan/Sudan (ELCSS/S), became an LCMS partner church at the conference with the celebration of altar and pulpit fellowship during the conference’s concluding Divine Service.

The LCMS currently has relationships of varying degrees with 98 Lutheran church bodies in 76 countries. These relationships can involve theological conversation, theological education and mercy work. However, of these, only 40 are partner churches of the LCMS.

A “partner church” is a church body with whom the LCMS has full altar and pulpit fellowship. Formal recognition of such a partnership is taken up by the Synod in convention every three years. The LCMS has also given authority to the LCMS president to recognize fellowship with a church body — especially one that is small and emerging — between conventions, with the approval of the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR). The CTCR granted such approval regarding the ELCSS/S prior to the conference. This summer in Milwaukee, the Synod in convention will be asked to officially endorse this partnership with the Sudanese Lutherans.

‘A tremendous event’
In Kisumu, participants joined together in devotion and prayer, listened to presentations and panel discussions, and enjoyed meals and fellowship together.

“It was a tremendous event. COVID had prevented international interaction, and all of our friends were delighted to be with each other. We are enjoying profound unity and purpose in confessing Christ,” said LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison.

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Source: LCMS Reporter