CANADA – French-speaking Lutherans from across the world gathered for a workshop on the basics of Lutheran liturgy in Montreal, Quebec from May 17-21, 2023. The event, which was hosted by Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC), also marked the official launch of a new African edition of LCC’s French hymnal: Liturgies et cantiques luthériens – Édition africaine (LCL-ÉA).
The workshop opened with remarks by LCC President Timothy Teuscher, bringing greetings on behalf of the Canadian church as well as the International Lutheran Council (ILC), which helped to sponsor the event. President Teuscher, who also serves as Vice Chairman of the ILC, encouraged the gathering to reflect on the necessity of right worship.
The gathering brought together participants from nine countries, including members of: Lutheran Church–Canada; Lutheran churches in Haiti, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (ELCH); five new African francophone congregations of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS); the Evangelical Lutheran Church – Synod of France (the Église évangélique luthérienne – Synode de France – EEL-SF); Lutheran churches in Burundi and Congo; Lutherans in Africa; and an African Pentecostal church body that is considering the adoption of Lutheran teaching. LCC, ELCH, the LCMS, and the ELL-SF are all member churches of the International Lutheran Council.
In addition to those present in person, the Saturday session saw students from the Concordia Theological Seminary of Haiti – Laochikit Centre (Séminaire Théologique Concordia d’Haiti – Centre de Laotchikit) participate online.
The development of French Lutheran hymnals by LCC French Ministries represents a major contribution to the worship life of the francophone Lutheran world. The new African edition of the hymnal (LCL-ÉA) is a fruit of the collaboration of LCC’s Francophone Lutheran Liturgical Institute (Institut liturgique luthérien francophone – ILLF). IILF members include Rev. Dr. David Saar (St. John’s Lutheran Church in Mount Forest, Ontario); Rev. Dr. David Somers (LCC Missionary-at-Large, French Ministries); and LCMS Cantor Phillip Magness, who served as main presenter at the workshop. Rev. David Milette (Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Moncton, New Brunswick) served as liturgist throughout the workshop.
In addition to the presentation of the LCL-ÉA, the workshop also provided an opportunity to showcase French Lutheran materials, many of which are available through Lutheran Church–Canada’s French Ministries, including the new Viens et vois Jésus (“Come and See Jesus”) Sunday school curriculum and accompanying lectionary-based children’s activity pages based on those prepared in English by Lutheran Laymen’s League of Canada.
Finally, the workshop provided a unique opportunity for confessional francophone Lutherans from three continents to get to know each other and become more familiar with the work and challenges of the world’s burgeoning French-language Lutheranism.
Support for the workshop was provided by the International Lutheran Council; the C.T. Wetzstein Donor Advised Fund in Support of Christian Education; the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League – Canada (LWMLC); the Laurentian District of the LWMLC; the Lutheran Heritage Foundation; Lutheran Laymen’s League – Canada; The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod; and Lutheran Church–Canada.
Additional French-language workshops on Lutheran liturgy in Africa are also being planned.
Adapted from a report by Rev. Dr. David Somers.