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Here are accounts of Annual General Meetings held between 2007 and 2013

The 2013 AGM was on Saturday 9th March

The Lumen Centre in Tavistock Place, London, UK, is a delightful place in which to meet. There is a restaurant, chapel and quiet space, secluded garden and some light and airy meeting rooms. So, on arrival, everyone was greeted by steaming cups of coffee and tea, and then invited into the conference room.

The Business Meeting was brief.

Our Moderators, Rupert Hoare and Jana Jeruma-Grinberga, reported that 2012 had been a very successful year, a highlight being the conference for theological students and newly authorised ministers held at Mirfield, UK, in the September.

The Treasurer, Erich Rust, reported that the finances were in good order (a small loss on the general account but a healthy bursary and conference fund had been formed) and then the National Co-Ordinators’ reports were received.

Then came the election of officers. This was significant because both Co-Moderators and our Secretary, Roy Long, were retiring.

Our Anglican President, Dr John Arnold, spoke warmly of Roy Long. “We have benefited greatly from his diligence and attention to detail,” he said. “I have particularly appreciated his quiet championing of Lutheran orthodoxy.” Roy has been forced to step aside because he has been given new responsibilities in the Lutheran Church in Great Britain. Bishop Rupert gave him a gift in appreciation of all he has contributed to our Society.

Dr Arnold then turned his attention to Bishop Rupert Hoare. “The Society has flourished under his 'just and gentle rule', and I want to take this opportunity also to thank Gesine for her unseen contribution to our common life and for being so generous in letting us have so much of Rupert.” Rupert received a gift from our Lutheran President, Bishop Jürgen Johannesdotter.

Speaking of Bishop Jana Jeruma-Grinberga Dr Arnold said, “Like Rupert she has gone well beyond the line of duty in her engagement in the executive work of the Society. She is a Mary as well as a Martha. Her combining of lightness of touch with underlying deep seriousness has been characteristic of her ministry and, dare I say, of this Society at its best.” He then presented Jana with her gift.

The elections followed.

Erich Rust was re-elected Treasurer and Canon Dick Lewis was voted in as our new Secretary. Everyone was delighted that the Rev Dr Jaakko Rusama of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (left) and the Rt Rev Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Woolwich, had agreed to be nominated as Co-Moderators of the Society. Their election was unanimous.

 

The Worship
The meeting was immediately followed by worship in the Lumen Centre’s beautiful Chapel. Bishop Jana presided at Luther’s Deutsche Messe (in English). The singing was enormously rich and enthusiastic and there was a strong feeling of fellowship in the Holy Spirit as people from so many different theological and liturgical traditions received communion together.

In a memorable sermon, based on Luke 18.9-14 and Hosea 5.15-6.6, Bishop Rupert began by warning against false pride in ecumenical attitudes. “Only when one’s spirit is broken, one’s heart is broken and contrite, (or, better, crushed), only then can the Psalmist say, ‘Create in me a new heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.’ That’s our only starting point, again and again and again.”

He then turned to an exposition of the Hosea passage. “Until human beings begin to say to one another, ‘Come let us return to the Lord, let us seek the healing which God the creative healer can bring to us all - we’ve made a mess of things, we’ve each gone our own way, we’ve been pursuing our own ends, caught up in our own little worlds and preoccupations, and the result has been confusion, disarray, alienation’, until human beings say that, in a sense destruction comes from God, for God has made the world for unity and peace, cohesion and harmony, and when we don’t go that way disintegration and death are going to follow, as night follows day.” But there is hope, Hosea assures us. “He will bring together again what has been torn apart, separated out and therefore disintegrated. So, Hosea can see that after two days God will revive us. On the third day he will raise us up, and we will live literally before his face or in his presence.”

The full text of the sermon is found here.

Christian Community : Being and Acting
After an excellent lunch in the restaurant the main topic for the day was addressed. In many parts of the world people are searching for spiritual meaning but do not seem to be finding what they are looking for in the traditional churches. All over the place new communities are springing up. Why is this? And what can the churches learn?

There were two presentations

First, Dr Petà Dunstan of Cambridge University, UK, gave an account of Anglican religious communities. “Community,” she said, “is a part of the normative Christian life in all denominations, although it takes different forms from church to church.” In England it was sociological, theological, and political factors that allowed the re-emergence of Anglican communities in the mid-19th century. The ‘Oxford Movement’ and urban poverty after the Industrial Revolution provided the context, coupled with the Romantic Movement, which looked back to the Middle Ages, and which produced the Gothic Revival in architecture.

In what was quite a hostile environment these 19th century communities could justify their existence by providing service to the poor. They also provided a means by which people could express a spirit of rebellion and take up counter-cultural standpoints.

The crisis came when the state began to take over their work. Many members of religious orders felt they were becoming ‘redundant’. This did not mean that they had failed, commented Dr Dunstan. In fact they had succeeded because they pricked the social conscience of society.

There is now a need for communities to engage with the world in new ways, acknowledging that Christendom has ended, and that the secular world is largely indifferent to the claims of Christianity. The key feature now is to avoid building up institutions.

Dr Dunstan, looking to the future, felt that although there will be smaller numbers in traditional religious communities than in the past, we are witnessing a remarkable growth in vocations to other forms of deeply committed religious community life, including third orders, informal communities, the development of the “single consecrated life”, as well as the traditional celibate monastic life.

The full text of Dr Dunstan’s presentation can be found here.

Next, Dr Dominik Klenk, former Leader of the Offensive Junger Christen in Germany, told us of his experience in a new informal Christian community which is now based in Reichelsheim in Northern Bavaria.

The community was started by a couple who were influenced by John Chrysostom, who had answered the question ‘How do I become a Christian?’ by saying, “Come and live with us for a year.” They invited young people to live with them for a year. Dr Klenk described how the pace of social life has been doubling every 20 years since 1968. This has led to a feeling of discomfort, especially among young people, and to a poverty of relationships. Communal life is one answer to this dysfunctionality, reflecting as it does the Trinitarian fellowship which is the essence of God.

Dr Klenk described the different “circles of commitment” within the OJC. It started by inviting young people for just one year. Now the pattern has developed into full time (for life) membership, six years, one year, or short periods, all depending on the individual’s needs. From tiny beginnings in 1968 the community now has 20,000 supporters worldwide.

Crucial to the Community is the “Liturgy of Daily Life” which includes an hour of silent prayer in the morning of each day, Daily Prayer at noon, a weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and a monthly Retreat Day. All this is described in a recent German publication entitled “The Grammar of Community.”

The full text of Dr Klenk’s presentation is available here.

Discussion Groups
The meeting was divided into five groups. They were charged to discuss all that they had heard, to respond to it from their own experience, and to produce one question for the panel during our closing plenary.

The groups applied themselves to their task and the building was filled with lively debate.

Group One asked ‘What can the wider church learn from the communities?’ Dominik Klenk reiterated the importance of the ‘Liturgy of Daily Life’. Sunday worship only is not enough. Every individual must find time for God in every part of every day. Petà Dunstan emphasised that prayer and community service must go together. Bishop Jurgen Johannesdotter, who grew up in a house where there was no religion, stressed the need is to get talking with young people.

Group Two’s question was ‘How do communities survive the death of a charismatic leader?’ to which Petà wryly commented that ‘Founders should retire at an opportune time to empower the membership to carry on.’ Dominik said how important it is for communities to create a charism that is not connected to the founder or any individual leader. A member of the Bruderhof Community at Nonnington, near Canterbury, UK, remarked that ‘If Jesus is the centre of the community it will survive. If its focus is the leader or the organisation itself it won’t.’

Group Three wanted to know ‘How does a community establish an oversight that can be trusted?’ This is a tricky issue. Petà said that Anglican religious communities have an Advisory Council which recognises and advises them. They are not regulated by Canon Law as is the case in the Roman Catholic Church. Bishop Jürgen commented that many Lutheran communities in Germany have good relationships with their bishops, but the big question always is ‘What makes a legitimate community?’ In Germany those that are recognised are listed in a booklet which is published. Dominik felt that Roman Catholics have clear lines of oversight. They relate to their bishop and to the parishes. The Protestant churches are learning new ways and patterns of oversight. Their communities are not institutionalised but are being shaped.

Group Four (there were more of them than this!) wondered ‘What is the scope for conflict and conflict resolution between those who join communities for a short period of time and those who are ‘lifers’ with regard to decision making that effects the whole community?’ Dominik felt there were no fixed lines on this. Those visiting for short periods are like people invited to visit a family. They share its life but should not try to tell the family how it ought to behave. In the OJC they ask associates to spend three years finding out how the community works. After that they are welcome to suggest changes. Petà said the Rule of St Benedict suggests that differences between members should be sorted out between the two of them, perhaps with the help of the abbot. But other people should not be involved. It is destructive of community when people take sides.

Finally, Group Five wanted to know ‘How quickly can a new person change a community?’ Petà replied that a newcomer is like a new baby in a family. It must be listened to and adapted to. John Arnold commented that ‘the smaller the group the bigger the impact a newcomer has on it’. Dominik spoke of an unwritten rule which states ‘culture beats everything’! Finally, Bishop Jürgen warned that good will is not enough to keep communities together. There are circumstances in which the proper thing is to allow a voluntary split in the hope that the two communities that result will work at re-establishing good relationships and come together again.

With that the Annual Meeting ended. We look forward to the next one in March 2014.


 

In 2012 the AGM was on 10th March

Around 40 members and friends gathered at Westcott House, an Anglican Theological College in Jesus Lane, Cambridge UK, at the beginning of a fascinating day which included the Society’s Annual Meeting, but focused around the topic 'Cambridge, a Cradle of the Reformation’. There was a buzz of conversation as coffee was served, people greeting old friends and meeting new ones.

After a word of welcome from the Rev Dr Will Lamb, Vice-Principal of the College, our Anglican Moderator, Bishop Rupert Hoare, invited everyone to remember in prayer Canon Guy Smith, former Treasurer and a wonderful servant of the Society, who had died just a few days before the meeting.

Dr Daniel Trocmé-Latter, seen here with Bishop Rupert, an historian and musicologist from Homerton College, then gave a brilliant introduction to the day, describing Martin Bucer’s time in Cambridge from his arrival in England in 1549 until his death in 1551. Bucer was Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge and was influential with Archbishop Thomas Cranmer who is said to have asked his advice on many points, in particular to do with the Anglican Ordinal of 1550. The full text of Dr Trocmé-Latter’s presentation is available here. It was followed by a short but lively question and answer session.

Then the Rev Jochen Dallas (left), Senior of the German Lutheran congregations in England, led us all to the Old Library at St John’s College. There we were met by Dr Mark Nicholls (below), the chief librarian.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He gave a brief introduction to the library and then showed us the library’s collection of Martin Bucer material.

From there we made our way to Great St Mary's Church for Mid-day Prayers in the place where Martin Bucer was twice buried, the first time after his death in 1551 and the second time in 1560. When Queen Mary came to the throne she had Bucer tried posthumously and condemned as a heretic. His casket was exhumed and his remains burned. Queen Elizabeth the First rehabilitated him and a brass plaque in the church marks the original location of his grave.

Lunch was in Westfield House of Theological Studies, which belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England and where students prepare for ministry. We were made very welcome by the Preceptor, Dr Reg Quirk (below), and enjoyed a meal prepared by members of his staff.

Then followed the Annual General Business Meeting. Our Moderators, Bishops Rupert Hoare (Anglican) and Jana Jeruma-Grinberga (Lutheran) were re-elected, and thanked for their enthusiasm and for all they do for the Society. Bishop Jana was unable to be present because she had been asked to address a meeting of Bishops in Ireland. The Secretary, the Rev Dr Roy Long, and Treasurer, the Rev Erich Rust, presented their reports, and we heard from our National Co-ordinators.

Senior Jochen Dallas, whose period of office as pastor of the local German-speaking Lutheran Congregations is ending, was thanked by Dr Roy Long for all that he has contributed to the work of the Society, and in particular in making the arrangements for this day. He hoped that Jochen would continue to be active in promoting the aims of the Society in his new post in Germany.

During a plenary session the topic ‘The Reformation Today’ was addressed. Dr John Arnold and Bishop Jurgen Johannesdotter gave brief presentations, followed by contributions from Fr Rob Mackley (Little St Mary’s Church), Dr Joel Humann (Westfield House), Fr Philip Swingler (Roman Catholic Observer), Dr Roy Long and the Rev Alex Faludy. Click on their names to read them.

The day ended with Lutheran Evening Prayer in The Resurrection Lutheran Church in Westfield House, led by Dr Reg Quirk.

A full account of everything that happened, and a summary of the presentations can be found in the April 2012 edition of The Window.

 

A report of the AGM in March 2011

Our Annual Meeting on 5th March 2011 was held at the St Ethelburga Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, 78 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AG, and was attended by more than 50 members.

Opening the meeting, our Anglican President, Dr John Arnold, welcomed everyone and gave a brief history of St Ethelburga's.

Thanks were expressed to all the Society's officers, and especially to Canon Guy Smith (Anglican) who, after more years than he cares to remember, has resigned as Treasurer.

Bishop Rupert Hoare thanked Guy for his enthusiasm, and for keeping the committee on the financial 'straight and narrow', and Mr Ron Bentley for assisting him so ably. They were both presented with small gifts expressing everyone's appreciation of all they had done.

 

The meeting elected the Rev Erich Rust (Lutheran) as our new Treasurer.

 

Everyone was delighted that Bishops Rupert Hoare (Anglican) and Jana Jeruma-Grinberga (Lutheran) were both willing to stand as Co-Moderators, and they were elected by acclaim.

The Rev Roy Long (Lutheran) was re-elected as Secretary.

This year we had to elect a new Executive Committee. The following will join the Officers and serve for the next three years: The Rev Tom Bruch (Lutheran), The Rev Alex Faludy (Anglican), Mrs Helen Harding (Anglican), The Rev Patrick Irwin (Anglican), Canon Dick Lewis (Anglican), The Rev Eliza Zikmane (Lutheran). In this way we have equal numbers of Anglicans and Lutherans as Trustees of our Society.

Next came the reports from our National Coordinators and then Rupert Hoare told the meeting of the plans for the Salisbury Conference later this year and the consultation planned for Theological Students at Mirfield in Yorkshire, UK, in 2012.

Finally, our Membership Secretary, Mrs Helen Harding, reported that there has been an increase in membership in the UK, that the website is attracting members from various parts of the world, that our German co-ordinators are working hard to gain more members there (and will have another recruiting drive at the Dresden Kirchentag later this year). However, things in the USA are not too healthy and their National Coordinator,Ms Laura Lincoln, had asked that the new committee address a number of issues she had raised.

The meeting began and ended with prayers.

 

Our Lutheran President, Bishop Jürgen Johannesdotter, then took the chair and introduced the topic for the day:

'The Situation Facing the Christians in Jerusalem and the Holy Land'

Bishop Jürgen began by welcoming Mr Yusef Daher, Executive Secretary of the World Council of Churches Inter-Church Centre in Jerusalem. He then expressed disappointment that Bishop Suheil Dawani, the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, was after all unable to address us. (We later learned that his Jerusalem residency status had been revoked by the Israeli authorities and that he was having to fight his case in the courts.) However, Bishop Jürgen was delighted that Bishop Suheil had sent as his representative Canon Samuel Fanous, a priest from Ramle, not far from Tel Aviv in Israel. Our new Patron, Bishop Munib Younan, Lutheran Bishop of Jordan and the Holy Land, had already told us that he was unable to attend. His duties as President of the Lutheran World Federation had taken him to Malaysia. But, said Bishop Jürgen, a way had nevertheless been found for the meeting to hear some authentic Lutheran voices from the Holy Land.

Canon Dick Lewis had been in Bethlehem the weekend before and had interviewed three members of the Lutheran Christmas Church there. The recording of their thoughts on their experience as Christians in the West Bank was played, and provided the backdrop to the presentations by Canon Fanous and Mr Daher that followed.

Canon Fanous spoke from the point of view of an Arab Christian who is an Israeli citizen working in a Palestinian community not far from Jaffa. Palestinian Arab citizens in Israel, he said, are part of the Israeli political system but have their own language and culture. He described how events in the West Bank and Gaza can make life difficult for Israeli Arabs. Though they speak fluent Hebrew they use their Arabic language amongst themselves and this makes them easily identifiable. So when there have been flare-ups along the borders their Jewish neighbours sometimes react. But despite discrimination most Israeli Arabs wish to remain Israeli and are fighting for equal rights with Jews. As a minority within the Arab minority in Israel, Arab Christians witness to love, peace and reconciliation to both Jews and Muslims and Bishop Suheil has established a mechanism whereby young Jews, Christians and Muslims are drawn together. Within that Christian minority Anglicans represent only a small minority, said Canon Fanous, and there are no Lutheran congregations at all in Israel. He appealed to everyone to be even handed in their attitude and approach to to situation in the Holy Land. 'To be one sided means hurting the others,' he said, 'and Christians are called to be healers.' Throughout his presentation Canon Fanous quoted many personal stories and experiences. Something of the flavour of what he said will be found in the May edition of The Window. A summary of his presentation can be found here.

Next, Mr Daher gave a presentation on Churches and Christians in the Holy Land. He reminded the meeting that Israel/Palestine has a long history of occupation, and described the variety of church families that have taken root there. Today only around 2% of the population, both of Israel and Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, is Christian, while anything up to 500,000 Palestinian Christians are scattered across the world. The problem of dwindling numbers is of real concern and Mr Daher outlined some of the underlying reasons for emigration, especially among the young. He described some of the many initiatives, ecumenical, social and political, being taken by the Churches and appealed for support for the Christians in the Holy Land from Christian communities around the world. This support could come, he suggested, through prayer, pilgrimage, visits, exchanges, ethical tourism, and by responding to the Kairos Palestine document of 2009. He illustrated his talk with a PowerPoint presentation which you can see here.

After lunch the meeting resumed with a presentation on the

The Kairos Palestine Document of 2009, 'A Moment of Truth'.

First Mr Daher introduced the Kairos Palestine Song, sung by Manal Abdo. You can watch and listen by clicking here.

He then went on to tell the meeting that the Kairos initiative began with a small group of Christians writing to heads of churches; they established an office and began the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme (EAPPI) and this impetus eventually led to Kairos.

The Document was issued in 2009 by leaders of Churches and Church organisations in the Holy Land. It calls for an end to the occupation of Palestine by Israel. The call echoes a similar summons issued by South African churches in the mid-1980s at the height of repression under the apartheid regime.

‘The Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is a sin against God and humanity because it deprives the Palestinians of their basic human rights, bestowed by God,’ the Document states, thus ‘distorting the image of God in the Israeli who has become an occupier, just as it distorts His image in the Palestinian living under occupation.’

‘Kairos’ means ‘the time, or the moment’. 2009 was a Kairos moment for Palestine. Everyone had lost hope of peace, said Mr Daher. ‘This was our moment to say what, from our point of view, was going on.’

The document has three significant messages.

The first, a message of Faith, is addressed not to the outside world but to Palestinian Christians. ‘Our message is that we believe in a God who is good. God would not want killing or taking of land,’ he said. ‘We believe the Old Testament and the New Testament to be one book. We don’t look at the Old Testament alone. It is one story from beginning to end. We believe in Jesus Christ. When Jesus came to the Jews his message was inclusive. It did not stay in Israel. We believe God’s message is inclusive – it is for everyone.’

The second message is Hope. The Kairos Palestine Document gave Palestinian Christians hope, he told us. ‘It said Christians have been on this land for 2000 years, always a minority, always afraid, but God has blessed you.’

Finally, a message of Love. This was the key issue, Yusef asserted. The hardest commandment is to love your enemy. ‘In Jericho church leaders reflected on how to love our enemy,’ he told us. After much heartache and soul searching they identified their enemy today as the State of Israel (not the people, but the actions of the state). This is controversial. Some people think they were wrong, but that is what they decided.

Some critics have claimed that the Document is anti-Semitic. But it is not. ‘We love our Jewish neighbours,’ he told us, ‘but we don’t love the evil they do. We resist them so as to free them from their evil and restore their dignity as children of God.’

‘Jesus did not ask us to love evil,’ Mr Daher reminded us. ‘He said the enemy is evil. The Occupation is evil. We need to resist evil. But Jesus also said: “Don’t resist evil with evil”.’

He went on to outline some of the many non-violent ways of resisting the evil of the Jewish State: living there, talking here, civil disobedience, a boycott of Israeli settlement goods, divestment from companies supporting the occupation, and sanctions. ‘This is controversial,’ he said. ‘But we mustn’t forget, this is the following the example of South Africa and Martin Luther King.’

Mr Daher appealed to everyone at the meeting to spread the word in their own churches and communities. They should tell people what is really happening in Israel/ Palestine and then spread the word of Faith, Hope and Love.

He ended with a reference to the events unfolding in the Middle East. They show that the spectre of the anti-Christian Muslim is generally a lie. What we have witnessed on our TV screens is young Muslims and Christians praying and protesting in the square in Cairo together. ‘We have a long tradition of Muslim Christian co-existence,’ he reminded us.

Young Palestinians, he said, are calling for the re-establishment of the Council of Palestine, representing Palestinians in Israel the Occupied Territories and overseas.
Faith, Hope and Love are the key to finding a peaceful solution in Israel/ Palestine he concluded, emphasising Jesus’s words: ‘Don’t resist evil with evil.'

 

Some lively discussion followed, chaired by Bishop Jana, some of which will be reported in May issue of The Window.

Then, after tea, the meeting ended with a celebration of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion Service. It was introduced by Dr John Arnold, the celebrant was Bishop Rupert Hoare and Bishop Jana Jeruma-Grinberga preached. The text of her sermon can be found here.

 

The next Annual General Meeting will be on Saturday 3rd March. So put the date in your diary now. Details of time and venue will be published as soon as we have them.

 

The 2010 AGM

was held on Saturday 13th March at Christus Kirche, the German Church in Montpelier Place in London's Knightsbridge.

The Business Meeting was chaired by Bishop Rupert Hoare. His Lutheran Co-Moderator, Bishop Jana Jeruma-Grinberga, was unable to attend the meeting and sent sincere apologies to the members, who had gathered from all over Europe and the UK.

The Co-Moderators reported that the Society had enjoyed a good year. The Conference in Turku, Finland, had been a great success, and appreciation was expressed to the Rev Dr Jaakko Rusama (right), our National Co-Ordinator in Finland, and his team, whose hard work had born such wonderful fruit. The Moderators reminded the meeting of the next Conference, to take place in Salisbury, UK, 16th-20th September, 2011, and informed the meeting that a conference for theological students from across the world was being planned for 2012. Details of both will appear on the 'Conferences' page as soon as they are available.

The Treasurer, Canon Guy Smith, reported that the Society's finances are in good order. He gave notice that he would like to relinquish the post next year. So if you have any ideas who might take on the Treasurer's role please contact the Moderators.

Our Moderators were both re-elected. The Executive Committee has one more year of its three year stint to serve. But the Rev Siggi Arnarson had resigned and so the Rev Elîza Zikmane of the Latvian Church Abroad (left) was elected to serve for one year.

Written reports were received from our National Co-Ordinators, who were thanked for their hard work on behalf of the Society.

Two members of the Executive Committee will be travelling to Tampa in the USA in April to support members of the American Chapter of the Society (known in the USA as the 'International Lutheran-Episcopal Society') in advertising our work to those attending the Annual National Workshop on Christian Unity there. The Society will also have a stand at the Second Ecumenical Kirchentag in Munich in May.

Following the meeting, members turned to the topic for the day:

'MAKING MEISSEN WORK'

Our Anglican President, Dean John Arnold (pictured here) briefly reminded the meeting of the steps that led to the Meissen Agreement. Full text here.

Then the Co-Chairmen of the Meissen Commission, the Rt Rev Jürgen Johanesdotter, former Bishop of the Landeskirche of Schaumburg-Lippe (and also Lutheran President of the Society) - full text here - and the Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Croydon (left) - summary here - described some of the ways in which the agreement was being implemented on both sides, and some of the successes, disappointments and challenges that have been encountered along the way.

Full summaries of these three presentations will be published in the April 2010 edition of 'The Window'.

 

After a splendid Mediterranean lunch members were invited to share experiences with one another and with a panel that included Bishops Baines and Johannesdotter, the Rev Dr Leslie Nathaniel from the Council for Christian Unity of the Church of England, and Rev John Yule, Vicar of Fen Drayton in Cambridgeshire who, together with his wife, has been very active in developing relations between the Diocese of Ely and the North Elbian Lutheran Church in Germany. It is hoped that some of the points raised in discussion will also appear in 'The Window'.

The closing worship was led by the pastors of the German-speaking congregation, Anne-Kathrin and Wolfgang Kruse.

 

The 2009 AGM

was held on Saturday 7th March at The Augustana Centre, 30 Thanet Street, London WC1H 9QH. It was the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Society.

During the business meeting The Rev Tom Bruch stood down after many years of faithful service as Lutheran Co-Moderator. The meeting expressed deep appreciation for all that he has done. The Rt Rev Jana Jeruma-Grinberga, Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain was elected as his successor.

Reports were received from the Co-Moderators, the Treasurer and the National Co-ordinators. Members were given an update on the preparations for the conference in September, and details can be found on the 'Conferences' page.

The rest of the day focussed on Anglican-Lutheran relations. The Rev Dr Charlotte Methuen, a member of the Anglican Lutheran International Commission, set the scene, describing the current state of Anglican-Lutheran relationships around the world. To read a transcript of her talk click here.

Then Bishop Michael Westall, former Bishop of the Anglican Southwest Tanganyika Diocese, spoke about relationships between our two communions in Tanzania, and commented on recent developments in the Anglican Communion from an African perspective. To read his paper click here.

After lunch the Rev David Cornick of the United Reformed Church and Fr Phillip Swingler, Roman Catholic, responded to what they have heard during the morning session. They were then joined by Dr Methuen and Bishop Westall, and the meeting ended with open discussion and plenty of questions and contributions from the floor. A summary of this plenary can be found here.

The day concluded with Lutheran Vespers led by Bishop Jana Jeruma-Grinberga. The preacher was the Rev Tumaini Kallaghe, Pastor of the Swahili congregation at St Anne's Church in London. The Furaha Choir led the singing in both English and Swahili.

Members can find a full account of the day's events in the April 2009 edition of 'The Window'.

The 2008 AGM

was on Saturday 8th March, 2008 at St Matthew's Church, Westminster

After a brief business meeting, during which the new constitution was adopted, the topic for the rest of the day was a celebration of the Icelandic priest-poet, Hallgrimur Petursson (1614-1674). His 'Passion Hymns', telling the story of the passion of Christ, have provided Icelanders with spiritual support during the most difficult times in their national and personal history. They are read, all fifty of them, on Icelandic State Radio during the season of Lent. The largest church in Reykjavik, Hallgrimskirkja, is named in his honour.

The Icelandic Ambassador in London, His Excellency Mr Sverrir Gunnlaugsson, under whose patronage this part of the event took place, welcomed the large audience.

Dr Einar Sigurbjornsson from the University of Iceland described Hallgrimur's theology, his place within the Lutheran tradition, and the spiritual importance of the 'Passion Hymns'.

Dr Margret Eggertsdottir of the Arni Magnusson Institute in Reykjavik spoke of his place within the literary heritage both of Iceland and of Western Europe as a whole.

The Rev Berhardur Gudmundsson of the National Church of Iceland described the place and significance of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland among all the other Churches of the world.

All three papers can be found on our 'Papers and Publications' page. Just click here.

The day ended with a celebration of the Lord's Supper according to the Icelandic Rite.

The 2007 AGM

took place on Saturday 10th March at the Finnish Church, 33 Albion Street, Rotherhithe, London SE16 7HZ.

After reports from the officers thanks were expressed to the Rt Rev Erik Vikström, Bishop of Porvoo (Borga), Finland, who, after serving for 11 years, had resigned as Co-President of the Society. In appreciation of his enormous contribution he was made a Life Member of the Anglican   Lutheran Society, a distinction he shares with Ronald Englund, a former Lutheran Co-Moderator.

The meeting was delighted to learn that the Rt Rev Jürgen Johannesdotter, Bishop of Shaumburg-Lippe in Germany, had been invited to succeed Bishop Erik, and his appointment was received with acclamation.

The theme for the day was 'Touching the Fringe', a consideration of some of the ways in which Anglican and Lutheran congregations are trying to draw people on the edges of the Church into a deeper relationship with Christ.

Bishop Erik in an excellent paper reminded members that it is in the fringe areas, where life is uncertain and risky, that the Holy Spirit seems to prefer to work. Then, after lunch, the Rev Ian Mobsby, Priest Missioner to the Moot Community and Associate Missioner to the Archbishops' 'Fresh Expressions' team, described a number of ways in which Christian congregations in England are engaging in mission by encouraging new and different expressions of church life.

The day ended with a celebration of the Finnish 'Thomas Mass' at which members of the Society were joined by a group of young people from Sweden who had come to England with their Pastor, herself a member, to find out about church life here.

 

In 2006, in Southwark Cathedral, our meeting focused on the question, ‘Must ethical issues necessarily be Church dividing?' The papers read by Kenneth G. Appold of the Institute for Ecumenical Research, Strasbourg and Jeremy Morris of Trinity Hall, Cambridge can be found by clicking here .

 

In 2005, in the Swedish Church, the life and achievements of Danish theologian, educationalist and hymn writer Nicolai Grundtvig were introduced and evaluated by Canon Donald Allchin and Professor Sid Bradley. We also enjoyed singing a number of Grundtvig's hymns during our worship together.

 

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