Monday, July 16, 2012
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Last evening, President Matthew C. Harrison asked me to bring additional greetings to you here in Palanga and to the Lutherans in Lithuania on his behalf and on that of the people of the Missouri Synod in the Name of Jesus! It is a great privilege and honor to be here among you today. It is a joy to see this church completed and ready to be used in worship.
For as long as I have served with President Harrison (both as President and when he worked as the director of Diakonia for the LCMS), he has spoken of the need to help our brothers and sisters in Christ who suffered under communism. He said we need to help them, to show mercy to them. Today, we heard Bishop Sabutis say, "This is a house of mercy." Indeed it is. It is the place the Lord comes and shows mercy.
It is a privilege and honor that the Lord allowed the people of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, in particular the Iowa East District, to participate in the building of this church in Palanga. It brings us joy to see this day.
We also heard how after the corner stone was laid in July 2005 how plans were made to dedicate this church in 2007. Yet those plans were delayed and now 5 years later we celebrate the opening of this church. Some may have thought the promise to build the church would not come true. Some may have even thought the Lord failed his promises. Hear this word of Scripture after Solomon finished building the temple, he "Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise." (1 Kings 8:56)
Indeed, today the Lord has given rest to his people as he has promised. Today he has given you rest in his promises. Not one word of the Lord has failed you. The Lord has given you his precious Gospel and his forgiving gifts. He has given you this sanctuary to worship him.
Today, we celebrate and rejoice with you at the completion of the Lutheran Church in Palanga. We pray that it will be blessing to you and to the people here. Remember that the Lord is faithful to his promise. He will never fail you. It is our duty to given him thanks and praise, for his Gospel and for this place of worship.
The Blessing of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be with you. Amen."
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
working agreement between ECAV and the LCMS
On 11 July 2012, The Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (ECAV) in the Czech Republic signed a working agreement with the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod at Saint Michael's Lutheran Church in Prague. The working agreement is not a declaration of altar and pulpit fellowship between the churches, but rather it expresses both churches commitment to engage in further discussion as they work together in limited ways externally. For instance, both churches agree to have regular contact between the churches' leadership, to strengthen the work of pastoral ministry through lectures and symposia, to invite each other to theological presentations, and to share theological opinions with each other, especially as these statements pertain to "theological and ethical problems of our civilization."
The other concrete area the agreement covers is the operation of the English speaking congregation of the ECAV in Prague. Specifically, the ECAV has agreed to allow the LCMS to operate the English congregation as if it were a LCMS congregation, including the right to select and install a pastor in accordance with the procedures and policies of the LCMS. This agreement will allow Rev. Tony Booker, LCMS Missionary to Eurasia, to serve the English congregation as a Missouri Synod pastor upholding the LCMS position on altar and pulpit fellowship and conducting the service according to the Lutheran Service Book.
Rev. Marián Čop, Superintendent of the ECAV, noted that this relationship with the LCMS was very important to his church. Dr. Collver noted that the desire for this working agreement shows that the LCMS has contributions to make to world Lutheranism, particularly in the realm of theological dialog, education, and in the social and ethical arenas. This short video introduces St. Michael's Lutheran Church in Prague and references the newly signed working agreement.
If you are interested in assisting Rev. Tony Booker with his work in Prague, please visit: http://www.lcms.org/booker
A few more pictures.
posted: 11 July 2012
-Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, LCMS Director of Church Relations and Assistant to the President