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Evangelical Lutheran Church – Synod of France

French Lutherans elect new president

EELSF President Gleisson R. Schmidt

FRANCE – The Evangelical Lutheran Church – Synod of France (Église Évangélique Luthérienne–Synode de France – EELSF) has elected Rev. Dr. Gleisson R. Schmidt of Paris to a four-year term as president.

Originally scheduled for April 2020, the EELSF’s Synodical Convention had to be postponed as a result of coronavirus restrictions. A condensed version of the convention was ultimately held electronically on November 15.

President Schmidt succeeds Rev. Martin Jautzy, who did not stand for reelection to a second term. Born in Erechim, Brazil, President Schmidt studied theology at Concordia Institute of São Paulo, and served congregations in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil (Igreja Evangélica Luterana do Brasil – IELB) from 2002-2018. Alongside his pastoring work, he also served as a professor of philosophy at Brazil’s Federal University of Technology – Paraná. In 2014, he earned his doctorate from the Federal University of Santa Catarina.

Rev. Schmidt often spent extended periods in Paris where he participated in the congregational life of St. Sauveur Evangelical Lutheran Church. He accepted a call to the congregation in 2018.

The International Lutheran Council’s (ILC) Chairman, Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt of Germany’s Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church, sent congratulations to President Schmidt on his election. “I want to congratulate you and extend to you my wishes for God’s grace and blessing upon your election and installation into the office of President and Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church – Synod of France,” Chairman Voigt wrote. “We pray that our Lord and Saviour keep and guide you during these challenging times.”

The convention also saw the election of three other members to the EEL-SF’s board alongside President Schmidt, including Rev. Philippe Volff (Strasbourg) as Vice-President; Noëlle Boisnault (Châtenay-Malabry) as Secretary; and Béatrice Grimaldi (Châtenay-Malabry) as Treasurer.

Other business of the convention included the election of auxiliary members to assist the board, the election of members of the church’s Committee of Theological Studies, and the presentation of several reports.


French Lutherans Elect New President

Officers of the synodical board are installed. (Photo: Eric Préaud).

Officers of the Evangelical Lutheran Church–Synod of France are installed. Officers from left to right are: Andrianhery Rakotoniaina (Treasurer), Rev. Philippe Volff (Vice-President), Rev. Martin Jautzy (President), and Rev. David Maffett (Secretary). (Photo: Eric Préaud).

President Martin Jautzy. (Photo: Eric Préaud)

President Martin Jautzy. (Photo: Eric Préaud)

FRANCE – Representatives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church–Synod of France (Église Évangélique Luthérienne–Synode de France – EELSF) held their synodical convention May 6-8, 2016 in Châtenay-Malabry, during which the church elected Rev. Martin Jautzy as their new President.

President Elect Jautzy serves as pastor at Paroisse de Sion in Schilldersdor, Alsace. Prior to his election as synodical President, he served as a regional president.

“President Martin Jautzy was elected president with a clear majority,” noted outgoing President Roger Jones. “Our church will greatly benefit from his pastoral qualities.”

“It was a great privilege for me to serve our Church the last four years,” President Jones continued, noting his ability to work only part-time in recent years following a serious stroke in 2014. He expressed thanks for the prayers of the international Lutheran community during his recovery. “I thank you for your support and well-wishes which were a great encouragement. With God’s blessings, I am able to continue to serve.”

Also elected during the convention was Rev. David Maffett, who will serve the ELCSF as Secretary of the Synodical Board. Rev. Philippe Volff and Andrianhery Rakotoniaina were reelected to serve as Vice-President and Treasurer of the synod respectively.


French Lutherans hold synod, establish relations with Swiss church


Rev. Walter Ralli  (Burgdorf, Switzerland); ELCSF Vice-President Philippe Volff; and ELCSF President Emeritus Jean Haessig.

The new French edition of Luther's Small Catechism.

The new French edition of Luther’s Small Catechism.

FRANCE – The Evangelical Lutheran Church – Synod of France (ELCSF held its synod November 9-11 in Schillersdorf, Alsace in France.

The convention opened the morning of Sunday, November 9 with a worship service alongside the congregation in Schillersdorf. The afternoon saw the official presentation of the ELCSF’s newly revised French edition of Luther’s Small Catechism. The same day saw the French church officially establish altar and pulpit fellowship with a group of confessional Lutherans in Switzerland.

“It is a joy to be able to recognize these Swiss Lutherans as our brothers and sisters in Christ,” said ELCSF Vice President Philippe Volff. “May God bless our ministry together as we proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to a broken world.”

Talks with the Swiss were conducted by ELCSF President Emeritus Jean Haessig. Rev. Walter Ralli (Burgdorf, Switzerland) attended the French church’s convention as a representative of the Swiss Lutherans.

Business continued Monday and Tuesday, with regular reports and a presentation on the finances of the church. Monday afternoon saw the exploration of this year’s convention theme: “Why I Am a Member of My Church.” Presenters on the topic included Rev. Jean-Louis Schaeffer, Rev. David Maffet, and Vice President Volff. Additional presentations focused on a discussion of the Church in the internet age.

The ELCSF holds its convention every two years, normally in May. This year’s convention had been postponed after President Roger Jones suffered a major stroke which left him hospitalized. The November date was eventually chosen to coincide with the release of the new catechism.

President Jones, who was elected to lead the ELCSF in 2012, recently began testing ministry related tasks to assess if he is ready to begin work again part-time. He returned to the pulpit for the first time since his stroke on October 19 and is currently leading a Bible study. He cannot yet travel and thus could not attend this year’s convention, so Vice President Philippe Volff substituted for him.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church – Synod of France has ten churches, eight pastors, and more than 700 members. It is a member of the International Lutheran Council.


France’s Lutheran Church President Recovering After Stroke

President Roger Jones.

President Roger Jones.

FRANCE – During meetings of the International Lutheran Council and the European Lutheran Conference (ELC) in Bleckmar, Germany, French representatives reported that President Roger Jones of the Evangelical Lutheran Church – Synod of France (EELSF) is making steady recovery in hospital following a stroke.

President Jones suffered a severe stroke in March 2014, resulting from a previously unrecognized heart condition. Since then, he has been in hospital, having to learn anew how to walk and write. Despite these challenges, President Jones has seen in them opportunity for spiritual growth. “While I wouldn’t wish a stroke on anyone,” he writes in a letter read to conference participants in Bleckmar, “I think we can all pray, ‘Lord, increase my faith.’”

The EFC has assured President Jones of their prayers and well-wishes. “We are indeed saddened by your circumstances,” they write in a letter, “and yet you have encouraged us to continue to trust in God and to be assured that he is gracious and good. We pray for your continued recovery and that God will hold you and Emily, your congregation, and your church in his hands.”

Signing the ELC letter to President Jones.

Signing the ELC letter to President Jones.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church – Synod of France has ten churches, eight pastors, and more than 700 members. President Jones was elected to serve the church as its president in 2012.


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