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Noted French Lutheran theologian was friend of LCC

October 27, 2011 One Comment

Rev. Dr. Wilbert Kreiss

A vibrant voice for Lutheranism in the French-speaking world is now silent. Rev. Dr. Wilbert Kreiss, former president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church–Synod of France and Belgium, was attending a conference of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation in Africa and died in his sleep October 24. He was 74.

Rev. Dr. David Somers, LCC’s missionary in Quebec called Dr. Kreiss a “trusted consultant and resource” for French-speaking LCC pastors and members. “He was the face of  Lutheranism—in print— for francophones in Quebec; a guiding light used as God’s instrument to the point of being a patriarch of francophone LCC.”

He was a guest professor for two seminary (St. Catharines) intensive courses held in Montreal for francophone students; contributed several hymn texts to Liturgies et cantiques luthériens (LCL) and was the chief translator of Lutheran Service Book’s Divine Service IV for LCL. “His works still constitute the bulk of all confessional Lutheran works written in French,” noted Dr. Somers. Many of his contributions are online at http://www.egliselutherienne.org/

For the last thirty-five years, Dr. Kreiss also took a deep interest in Africa serving as theological trainer of Congolese pastors. He travelled fifteen times to both Congos to help build up two confessional Lutheran churches there. At the same time he wrote the French seminary courses for the LCMS Board for Missions, mainly for its African missions in Togo, Ivory Coast, and Guinea where he also taught. These courses form the basis for LCC’s French-language Pastors with Alternate Training (PAT) studies in Quebec.

Dr. Kreiss studied theology at the Centre d’Etudes Théologiques in Châtenay-Malabry and at the Lutherische Theologische Hochscule in Oberursel in Germany. He earned a doctorate of theology at France’s University of Strasbourg and received three honorary doctorates from both LCMS seminaries.

He served the Lord as pastor at St-Pierre (Châtenay-Malabry) from 1962 to 1964 and simultaneously at four congregations in Alsace from 1964 to 1972, then at two congregations from 1972 to 1973. He then served as director and professor at the Centre d’Etudes Théologiques (seminary) in Châtenay-Malabry until his retirement in 1997.

He served the Evangelical Lutheran Church–Synod of France and Belgium as vice-president from 1974-1992 and then as president from 1992-2000. 

While funeral arrangements are in process, LCC President Robert Bugbee asks for prayers for Dr. Kreiss’ wife, Marguerite, and his family.

Based on a report from Rev. Jean Thiébaut Haessig, president of Église Évangélique Luthérienne—Synode de France.


One Comment »

  • Muhlenberg Louis said:

    Hi my name is Muhlenberg Louis my email is ilcappo33@hotmail.com I just got new of Rev Dr. Kreiss passing. I am the 2nd son of the deceased Rev Dr Doris Jean Louis founder of First Evangelical Lutheran church of Haiti. I would like to get Marguerite Kreiss email address, phone number and mailing address so my mother can pay her respects as their family was friends of my father. Thank you for any feed back .

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