This blog post was submitted by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) Missionary, Deaconess Ashley Prothro, serving in England. Deaconess Ashley serves as a Globally Engaged in Outrage (GEO) missionary at Westfield House and Resurrection Lutheran Church in Cambridge, England. All photo credits to Samuli Siikavirta.
In late February, the Network of Young Lutheran Theologians (NYLT) held its annual conference. NYLT is associated with a summer youth convention for Northern European Lutherans called Corpus Christi, which is modeled after the Higher Things youth conference in which some of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod congregations participate.
At this year’s NYLT conference, approximately 35 young Lutheran theologians from around Europe gathered at the Församlingsfakulteten (Lutheran School of Theology) in Gothenburg, Sweden to discuss the current state of Lutheranism in their respective nations and to encourage one another in their shared confession. The group was comprised primarily Europeans: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Germany, Czech Republic, and the United Kingdom. There were also non-Europeans in attendance: a South African, a Brazilian, and five Americans. These theologians were seminary students, theology graduate students, pastors, a deaconess, and some theologically trained wives.
The NYLT group poses together. Attendees were from all over Europe and the world!
During the course of the three days, the attendees had many opportunities to share with one another their joys and concerns over the Lutheran church in their home countries. They discussed the difficulties of the past that each church is still working to overcome and their thoughts about the future of the church if it should continue on its current trajectory. For each context, they helped one another generate ideas about how to improve the state of affairs in church. While the details of the problems facing each church were different, the ideas for improvement often came back to the Lutheran emphases of preaching and teaching, equipping the pastors and laity to be faithful in each place and in each generation.
One of the organizers of the NYLT is a Finnish pastor named Jari Kekäle, who is pictured here illustrating a point.
During the three days, there was also a focus on corporate prayer and worship. Each day, the group gathered for Matins, and Morning and Evening prayer. On Sunday, the group celebrated the Divine Service together.
On Saturday afternoon, the participants enjoyed several free hours to explore Gothenburg together, and to continue getting to know one another and many continued the theological conversations as they visited cafes, historic churches and fortresses around the city.
I was encouraged very much to see the good work being done by my brothers and sisters who are striving to be faithful to our Lord in Lutheran churches throughout Europe. I was heartened by an atmosphere of collegiality from the very first moment of arriving at the Lutheran School of Theology. And I was delighted to learn from the challenges faced and successes enjoyed by fellow servants of Christ and His Church throughout this famously post-christian continent.
The NYLT members have much to look forward to. This summer’s Corpus Christi conference will be held June 30 through July 4 in Sätila, Sweden (not far from Gothenburg). And while next year’s NYLT conference dates and location have not yet been announced, I am confident that it will be another time of encouragement with fellow Christians and refreshment from God’s Word.
- Pray for the participants, that they would continue to be encouraged to stand firm in the Lutheran faith.
- Pray for the Corpus Christi meeting this summer, that it would be fruitful and helpful to all those who attend.
- Learn more about and/or support Deaconess Ashley Prothro.
Tags: Ashley Prothro, Brazil, Corpus Christi, Czech Republic, deaconesses, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Higher Things, Latvia, LCMS, Life Together, Network of Young Lutheran Theologians, Northern European Lutherans, Norway, partner churches, pastors, seminarians, South Africa, Sweden, theology graduate students, United Kingdom, USA