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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Working Agreement with the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession

Bob Rosin, Brent Smith, Albert Collver,
Bishop Stanislav Pietak, Bishop Jan Waclawek, Adam Cieslar
Sign Working Agreement
Working Agreement Between the SCEAV and LCMS
On Saturday, 13 November 2010, a working agreement between the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (SCEAV) and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) was signed. Now this working agreement did not recognize no differences in doctrine, nor did it enter the two churches into pulpit and altar fellowship. This agreement calls for the two churches to have regular contact between the church leadership, the holding of theological lectures and convocations, and invitations to each other's theological presentations. There is a call for cooperation in diakonal work -- in fact, the LCMS has worked with the SCEAV in diakonal projects before this agreement. At the convention, Bishop Pietak thanked the LCMS for the working together in diakonal projects (a future post will show one of the SCEAV's diakonal projects). The hope of the agreement is that further contact between our two churches will "give us the opportunity to more fully realize our unity as Lutheran Christians so that on the basis of agreement in doctrine and practice the two churches may share full altar and pulpit fellowship." The LCMS' working agreement is modeled after the agreement SELK (our German partner church) has with the SCEAV.

The City Church is next to the headquarters of the SCEAV
The SCEAV Synod Convention opened with worship in the city church. This congregation is simply known as the city church.

The Sanctuary of the city church

A Czech Hymn with a familiar melody

Brent Smith, Bishop Pietak, Albert Collver, Bob Rosin in the city church
In the SCEAV's convention, we were able to hear some of the projects they are working on and the challenges and struggles they face. The SCEAV has about 35 pastors, 100 church workers, 21 congregations, about 15,000 members who regularly attend church and another 15,000 members who attend for baptisms, weddings, and funerals. Despite being much smaller than the LCMS, the SCEAV and LCMS face many of the same struggles -- faithfulness to the Scriptures and the Confessions, decreasing gifts and offerings, etc. In one of the papers presented to the convention, Pastor Marek Rican focused on three areas of emphasis and challenges for the Silesian church: 1) the Sacraments -- regular use and the belief in the real presence, 2) Law and Gospel distinction, and 3) Lutheran identity.

Voting at the SCEAV Convention
Voting is much simpler at the SCEAV convention -- a numbered piece of paper raised in the air. Unlike LCMS conventions, there were no jokes, training sessions, or complaints about "electronic" voting. No tutorial was needed -- just raise your hand with your number.

It was a great experience and privilege being invited to attend the SCEAV Synod Convention.

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