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ILC Latin America regional conference meets in Mexico

Participants in the ILC’s 2021 Latin America regional conference.

MEXICO – The conference of the International Lutheran Council’s (ILC) Latin America Region met in Mexico City from December 2-5, 2021, following delays due to the pandemic.

ILC General Secretary Timothy Quill addresses the Latin America regional conference.

The conference brought together representatives from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina; the Christian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bolivia; the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil; the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile; the Lutheran Church of Guatemala; the Lutheran Synod of Mexico; the Lutheran Church of Panama; the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Paraguay; the Evangelical Lutheran Church-Peru; the Lutheran Church of Uruguay; and the Lutheran Church of Venezuela. The ILC’s General Secretary Timothy Quill and Assistant to the General Secretary Roger James were also present, as were a number of other guests.

Theological presentations were given on two themes: 1) “The Confessional Orthodox Lutheran Role in a Heterodox and Subjective Context” (Prof. Dr. Clóvis Prunzel of Concordia Seminary in Sao Leopoldo, Brazil); and 2) “Pastoral Vocation: Lack, Stimuli, and Contextual Factors” (Prof. Dr. Sergio Schelske of Concordia Seminary in Buenos Aires, Argentina). Discussion centered on two areas: 1) the need to recruit a larger number of pastoral candidates; and 2) unique challenges related to opening new missions in each country.

IELA President Arturo Truenow and ILC-Chile President Juan Pablo Lanterna sign a protocol agreement between their two church bodies.

During the conference, the Christian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bolivia officially announced its intention to seek full membership in the ILC after more than a decade as an Associate Member. Other noteworthy events included the signing of a mutual cooperation protocol between the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina (IELA) and the Confessional Church of Chile (ILC-Chile).

The gathering also celebrated the forthcoming publication of a new Lutheran hymnal in Spanish after fifteen years of work. The hymnal will be welcomed into use throughout Spanish-speaking countries in the region, as well as in other parts of the world.

“It was a great meeting, since it was finally possible to overcome the challenges that have delayed celebrating this moment due to the current pandemic,” noted President Juan Pablo Lanterna of the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile. “It should be counted as a historic moment.”


From a report by ILC-Chile President Juan Pablo Lanterna

Meetings between Mexican and American Lutherans


Back row: Rev. Arthur Rickman, Rev. Daniel McMiller, Rev. Ted Krey, Rev. Dr. Scott Murray, Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill. Front row: Rev. Dr. Lawrence Rast, Maria De Lourdes, President Alvaro Lopez Fajardo, Rev. Samuel Peréz.

MEXICO – Representatives of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) met with representatives from the Lutheran Synod of Mexico (SLM) on December 16, 2013 in Mexico City, Mexico. In the early 1980s, the LCMS largely withdrew from work in Mexico. On September 29 of this year, the SLM sent a letter to the LCMS’ President Matthew Harrison asking his church to resume and increase its partnership. The LCMS responded by sending Rev. Arthur Rickman to meet with Mexican church officials.

In the meetings, SLM officials explained the challenges faced their nation and their synod. Currently, the SLM has three ordained pastors, and expresses a need for theological education leading to ordained pastors. The church also expressed a need for increasing its Lutheran identity, and deacons and deaconesses.

“It was delightful to renew relationships that had gone fallow and to encourage a church body that felt orphaned,” Rev. Dr. Scott Murray (Fourth Vice President, LCMS) said of the meetings. “We discussed concrete action items for the future that were mutually agreed to. Through these opportunities we look forward to rebuilding our relationship as we walk together in the body of Christ.”


Rev. Roberto Bustamante lectures on Lutheran identity and the theology of the cross.

In cooperation with the Luther Academy (an American organization which promotes confessional Lutheran theology), the LCMS sponsored a conference for SLM pastors and laity. Rev. Roberto Bustamante from Concordia Seminary in Buenos Aries, Argentina, served as lecturer, focusing on Lutheran identity and the theology of the cross.


The Lutheran Center in Mexico City.

The conference was held at the Lutheran Center of Mexico City. The Lutheran Center was built in the 1960s largely through the support of the LCMS. As a result of the agreement, the LCMS has a place at the table to discuss how the facility is used to promote Lutheranism in Mexico and Central America. Participants in the event look forward to a closer partnership between the SLM and the LCMS.

Both the SLM and the LCMS are members of the International Lutheran Council (ILC).


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