Lutheran young adults worship in Liepāja’s Holy Trinity Cathedral during the 2023 Corpus Christ Conference. (Photo: Liepājā Diocese’s social media).

LATVIA – Lutheran young adults from across Europe gathered in Liepāja, Latvia from July 24-28 for the 13th Corpus Christi Conference. This year’s theme was: “Built on the Rock.”

Serving as plenary speaker for the 2013 conference was Rev. Jakob Appell. Over three sessions, Rev. Appell discussed St. Peter’s confession that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and Jesus’ response that “on this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:16,18).

Rev. Jakob Appell speaks during the 2023 Corpus Christi Conference (Photo: Corpus Christi’s YouTube channel).

“Can we see from Peter’s own life what it means to be built on the rock?” promotional material for the conference asks. “He certainly had his ups and downs. And what does it mean for the Church to stand safe and protected from the gates of hell, ‘even when steeples are falling,’ as we will be singing in this year’s theme hymn (LSB 645)? What is so important with the confession of Peter, and of all the apostles and prophets? Why is the Lutheran Confession important for us today?”

Rev. Appell is a pastor in the Mission Province of Sweden and an Instructor in Practical Theology at the Lutheran School of Theology in Gothenburg. He is also one of the founders of the Corpus Christi conference.

The pop-up choir for the 2023 Corpus Christi Conference sings during the distribution of the Lord’s Supper.

Participants also had a choice of presentations each day made by Revs. Nathaniel Jensen (USA/Germany), Samuli Siikavirta (Finland), and Tapani Simojoki (Engliand/Finland). Rev. Jensen addressed “Basic Lutheran Doctrine” in the areas of 1) Justification, 2) the Lord’s Supper, and 3) Man and Woman. Rev. Siikavirta addressed the topic of “Confessing Christ” in 1) the Liturgy of the Divine Service, 2) Baptism and after Baptism, and 3) the Prayer Life of the Home. Rev. Simojoki addressed the subject of “Confessing Christ” to 1) Unbelievers and Members of Other Religions, 2) Evangelicals and Charismatics, and 3) Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox. A fourth option alongside these presentations was participation in sessions of the Network of Young Lutheran Theologians (NYLT). Rev. John Bombaro (Czech Republic/USA) led these sessions.

Some of the participants at the 2023 Corpus Christi Conference. (Photo: Corpus Christi’s social media.)

Additional discussion groups and seminars offered in various languages throughout the conference addressed subjects ranging from artificial intelligence and climate change to reading the Old Testament in the light of Christ and the concept of vocation in Titus 2.

Participants also held a special commemoration of Bishop Bo Giertz of Sweden, as this summer marked the 25th anniversary of his death. Giertz’ novels and spiritual writings—which can be found in English, German, and the Nordic languages—continue to comfort and instruct Lutherans across the world. All participants at the 2023 Corpus Christ Conference received a copy of the booklet Liturgy and Spiritual Awakening, which is an excerpt from a work written by Giertz in 1949 upon being made a bishop.

Some of the participants at the 2023 Corpus Christi Conference. (Photo: Corpus Christi’s social media.)

The Corpus Christi Conference is an annual event which brings together confessional Lutheran young adults from across Europe for biblical teaching, liturgical worship, and international fellowship. Corpus Christi describes itself as “an independent Evangelical Lutheran association promoting churchly and biblical renewal among young adults in Europe.”

Additional information on the Corpus Christi Conference can be found at their website at www.corpuschristi.eu. Video of worship and conference presentations can be found on their YouTube channel.

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