Corpus Christi joins the ILC

by | Jun 26, 2024

A presentation during 2023’s Corpus Christi Conference in Latvia. Photo: Dr. Samuli Siikavirta.

EUROPE – The International Lutheran Council (ILC) has accepted Europe’s Corpus Christi Association into membership as a Recognized Organization.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Corpus Christi into the International Lutheran Council,” said Rev. Dr. Klaus Detlev Schulz, General Secretary of the ILC. “Corpus Christi does remarkable work bringing together young Lutherans from across Europe to study God’s Word and to worship together. May God continue to strengthen the ties between our organizations as together we seek to make the good news of Jesus Christ known.”

Corpus Christi is a Lutheran young adults association first established in Sweden but which has grown to serve young adults from Lutheran churches all across Europe. Its motto is: “For the churchly and biblical renewal of young adults in Europe,” and the association encourages practice of historic Lutheran liturgy and knowledge of Scripture as the foundation of faith.

Rev. Dr. Samuli Siikavirta, chair of Corpus Christi’s board. Photo: Māra Siikavirta.

While Corpus Christi welcomes participants from many Lutheran church bodies in Europe, the association itself is independent. “By becoming a recognized organization of the ILC, we will not lose our independence” noted Rev. Dr. Samuli Siikavirta, Chairman of Corpus Christi’s board, on the decision to seek membership, “but we are making a clear statement that this is the kind of Lutherans that we are. We stand with those who want to hold to the Holy Bible and the Lutheran Confessions.”

 “We look forward to deepening our cooperation in the future,” he continued.

Worship during 2023’s Corpus Christi Conference in Latvia. Photo: Dr. Samuli Siikavirta.

The cornerstone of Corpus Christi’s work is its annual conference, which is held in a different country each year. Today the annual conference attracts approximately 250 participants from 20 countries annually—primarily from Europe but attracting participants also from the Middle East, North America, and South Africa. 2024’s conference is scheduled to welcome a number of participants also from Australia.

This year’s Corpus Christi Conference will take place July 22-26, 2024, in Wittenberg, Germany. Rev. Dr. Joel Biermann of Concordia Seminary (St. Louis, Missouri) will serve as keynote speaker for the event, discussing the Body of Christ in the manger, on the cross, on the altar, and in the pews. Additional speakers this year include Rev. Sebastian Grünbaum (Finland), Rev. Esko Murto (Finland), and Rev. Dr. Armin Wenz (Germany). Further information on the 2024 conference is available from Corpus Christi’s website here.

Corpus Christi held its first conference in 2009 in Sweden, with young adults from Finland and Norway also attending. From its beginning, the conference has invited speakers from ILC-associated churches to teach at its conferences. As Corpus Christi grew, so did international involvement from the rest of Europe, leading the association to update its governing statutes in 2020 to reflect the international nature of the organization. The board of Corpus Christi today reflects that international character: Rev. Dr. Samuli Siikavirta (Finland); Lukas Johansson (Sweden); Hanna Simojoki (United Kingdom); Jarl Roar Simonsen (Norway); Jordan Tomesch (United States of America); and Rev. Dr. Michael Wenz (Germany).

Planning for 2024’s Corpus Christi Conference in Germany. Photo: Dr. Samuli Siikavirta.

In addition to its annual summer conference, Corpus Christi has begun to host regional conferences in Germany, Finland, and Norway during the winter seasons. Additional regional events are in the planning stages for places like the Balkans and Southern Europe.

Corpus Christi maintains positive relations with a number of church bodies which support its work, including the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland (Suomen evankelisluterilainen Lähetyshiippakunta – ELMDF), the Mission Province in Sweden (Missionsprovinsen i Sverige – MPS), and the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (Selbständige Evangelisch—Lutherische Kirche – SELK) in Germany—all member churches of the ILC.

The International Lutheran Council is a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies which proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the basis of an unconditional commitment to the Holy Scriptures as the inspired and infallible Word of God and to the Lutheran Confessions contained in the Book of Concord as the true and faithful exposition of the Word of God.


By Mathew Block

Mathew Block is Communications Manager for the International Lutheran Council. He is also editor of The Canadian Lutheran magazine, and formerly served as Communications Manager for Lutheran Church–Canada.

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