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Australian and Canadian church leaders meet

September 27, 2012 No Comment

Front Row: Rev. Greg Pfeiffer, Dr. Leonard Harms, Rev. Thomas Kruesel, Rev. Robert Bugbee, Rev. Michael Semmler, Rev. Noel Noack, Rev. Donald Schiemann Back Row: Rev. Warren Hamp, Rev. Nolan Astley, Rev. Paul Zabel, Rev. Nevile Otto, Dr. Ralph Mayan, Rev. Mark Dressler, Rev. Thomas Prachar, Rev. Greg Pietsch

SURREY, British Columbia National and district leaders of the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) and Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) began a week of meetings September 24 to deepen the relationship between the two churches, and to explore potential new areas of cooperation.

“This is actually the second such joint meeting between our Council of Presidents (COP) and our Australian colleagues,” noted LCC President Robert Bugbee. “The first took place in 2008 before I took office, so there has been quite a turnover in the ranks of leadership on both sides of the Pacific.”

A special confessional relationship between LCC and LCA has existed since the 1993 signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. The two churches have much in common: fairly small memberships working in geographically large countries, a strong commitment to the Bible as God’s Word and to the Lutheran confessions, a heritage as churches within the British Commonwealth, challenges of ministry in societies that have become very secularized, and a desire to move forward in mission efforts both in their own countries and abroad.

“There are a lot of things we have in common,” said LCA President Michael Semmler, noting a number of areas where the two churches could work together. “It seems that time is short and the world is small, if I may say so, and it would make sense to pool our resources when possible.”

Joining President Bugbee as representatives of LCC were synod’s vice-presidents Nolan Astley (First VP), Thomas Kruesel (Second VP), and Mark Dressler (Third VP), as well as district presidents Don Schiemann (Alberta-British Columbia), Tom Prachar (Central), and Paul Zabel (East). LCC was also represented during some sessions by Dr. Leonard Harms, LCC’s former mission executive, and Rev. Warren Hamp, chairman of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR).

The Lutheran Church of Australia was represented by President Semmler, district presidents Noel Noack (Queensland), Greg Pietsch (Victoria-Tasmania), and Greg Pfeiffer (Western Australia), as well as by mission executive Rev. Nevile Otto. Presidents Semmler and Bugbee took turns serving chairing the various discussion sessions.

Daily meetings began with morning devotions and Bible studies conducted by retired LCC President Dr. Ralph Mayan, who over the years has been a strong supporter of the relationship with the Australian church.


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