Missouri Synod and Czech Republic Lutherans sign ‘working agreement’
Published 14 July 2012 | ASSIST News Service
Representatives of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (ECAV) in the Czech Republic signed a “working agreement”.
The document signed on 11 July pledges continuing dialogue between the two church bodies and allows the LCMS to operate an English-speaking congregation in Prague.
The agreement was signed at that congregation – St Michael's Lutheran Church – by the Rev Dr Albert B Collver III and the Rev Tony Booker of the LCMS, and the Rev Marián Cop and Dr Jaromír Neumann of the ECAV.
Collver is director of LCMS Church Relations, Booker is an LCMS missionary who serves as pastor of St. Michael's in Prague, Cop is superintendent of the ECAV and Neumann is the ECAV's senior consistor.
“The agreement is not considered a declaration of altar and pulpit fellowship between the two church bodies, but rather it expresses both hurches' commitment to engage in further discussion as they work together in limited ways externally,” Collver said.
Both churches have agreed to have regular contact between their leaders, strengthen the work of pastoral ministry through lectures and symposia, invite each other to theological presentations, and share theological opinions with one another, especially as those opinions pertain to the “theological and ethical problems of our civilization.”
The other concrete area the agreement covers is the operation of the English speaking congregation of the ECAV in Prague.
Specifically, the ECAV has agreed to allow the LCMS to operate the English congregation as if it were a LCMS congregation, including the right to select and install a pastor in accordance with the procedures and policies of the LCMS.
This agreement will allow Rev Tony Booker, LCMS Missionary to Eurasia, to serve the English congregation as a Missouri Synod pastor upholding the LCMS position on altar and pulpit fellowship and conducting the service according to the Lutheran Service Book.
Rev Marián Čop, Superintendent of the ECAV, noted that this relationship with the LCMS was very important to his church. Dr Collver noted that the desire for this working agreement shows that the LCMS has contributions to make to world Lutheranism, particularly in the realm of theological dialogue, education, and in the social and ethical arenas.
The 2.3 million-member Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is a mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination headquartered in St Louis.