Consultative Talks on establishing Church Fellowship

FELSISA - Consultative Talks on establishing Church Fellowship Bishop Dr Dieter Reinstorf, Pietermaritzburg

On 14 January 2020 representatives of the three confessional Lutheran Churches in South Africa met for a first round of unity talks in Pretoria.

The Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (LCSA) was represented by Bishop Modise Maragelo, Deputy Bishop Mandla Thwala and Rev. John Nkambule, the Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod in South Africa (FELSISA), by Bishop Dr Dieter Reinstorf and Deputy Bishop Helmut Paul, and the Confessional Lutheran Church in South Africa (CLCSA) by Bishop Mandla Khumalo and Rev. Geoffrey Skosana.

These first talks in Pretoria focused on establishing church fellowship between both the LCSA and the FELSISA (who are already in declared church fellowship with one another) and the more recently established CLCSA. The foundational articles of the respective churches, as well as the central doctrines of the Lutheran Church as contained in the Book of Concord, were extensively discussed. The three churches will now provide feedback to their respective church councils in the hope that church fellowship will be formalized in the upcoming church conventions.

These unity talks were largely prompted by discussions held at a meeting of the Africa Region of the International Lutheran Council (ILC) in Pretoria, South Africa from 17-20 September 2019. At this meeting, gratitude was expressed for the number of newly established confessional Lutheran churches in Africa, while also raising concern that many of these Lutheran Churches work independently with no formal relationship being established that brings formal expression to its unity in doctrine. As a result, a motion was adopted to encourage confessional Lutheran Churches, in particular in the same country, to make every effort to keep the unity of the church. Part of this process is to formally establish church fellowship where there is agreement in doctrine and to consider amalgamation or the establishment of a federation of confessional churches.

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