LCiGB News ...
Advent Letter 2018
The Rev. Johann Rudolf Leopold Schneider
(25 Oct. 1921 - 15 Oct. 2018)
[The funeral of Pastor Johann was held on 14 Nov. at St. Mary's Church (Church of England), Walmer, Deal. The cremation took place at Barham on the same day. A memorial service was held on 25 Nov. at St. Mary's German Lutheran Church at Sandwich Street in Euston, London.]
When I visited Johann in his new house in Deal in Kent a few years ago I had a memorable time. On the second day Johann invited me to his daily morning prayer in his living room. The room opened through a patio door into a lovely garden. Here Johann meditated and prayed. It was a blessed moment and I was reminded of a scene from the Book Of Daniel where in chapter 6 we read: ‘Daniel’s house had windows in the upstairs that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he knelt there in prayer, thanking and praising his God.’ Johann’s faith in Jesus was steadfast. Prayer was part of his life and ministry.
Johann arrived in Britain in 1938 as a youngster from his native Czechoslovakia. He finished his education with a PhD in Statistics. He married his beloved Barbara who shared his life to the full. The Schneiders adopted Peter who now lives in the USA and Monika who lives in Kent. After Johann’s retirement they moved from London to Deal to be closer to Monika. Early on both Johann and Barbara joined St Mary’s German Congregation in London. Here Johann devoted his time and talents to Jesus. Under the leadership of Pastor Hans Herbert Kramm, Johann served as a layman. In 1951 Pastor Kramm introduced monthly services in English and in 1956 this became St John’s English Lutheran Congregation, today St Anne’s Lutheran Church. Pastor Johann was a founding member of the Congregation and a member until his death on 15 October, 2018.
To serve as an ordained minister was Johann’s deepest wish. He retired from his secular job in the Department of Statistics and at the age of 61, after three years of study, was ordained by the then Dean of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain (LCiGB), Robert Patkai, assisted by the Senior Pastor of the German Synod, Eckhard von Rabenau, and myself as Deputy Dean of LCiGB. Johann served both congregations, St Mary’s and St Anne’s, as Assistant Pastor. In 1988 he was appointed Interim Pastor of St Anne’s for 9 months where he served with dedication at a difficult time. At that time Pastor Johann also became convener of annual retreats for LCiGB clergy showing imagination in choosing topics and speakers.
At my consecration as Bishop of LCiGB in 2000, Pastor Johann agreed to be my chaplain and I often relied on his advice and wisdom. His knowledge of Lutheran theology and especially the teaching of the role of sacraments in the life of the Church was well known.
Pastor Johann was a true ecumenist. He was a long standing member of the Anglican-Lutheran Society and regularly attended the local Anglican parish church in Deal. From time to time he was invited to celebrate the Eucharist in the church.
The last few years without Barbara were ‘not to my liking’ he used to say. However, he treasured Monika’s and the extended family’s dedication, and always welcomed friends. He will be greatly missed by us all.
‘If we live, we live to the Lord and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.’ (Rom. 14:8)
-- By Bishop Emeritus Walter Jagucki
Photo and text: from St. Anne's Lutheran Church Events Newsletter Oct/Nov 2018
2018 Joint Lutheran Reformation Service
31 October, Wednesday, 7 p.m. @Swedish (Lutheran) Church in London
All are welcome!
LCiGB Synod 2018 at Nottingham, 21 April（Saturday)
Host congregation: Trinity Lutheran Church, 67 Homefield Road, Nottingham NG8 5GH
Theme: Sustainability of Congregations
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the Synod (Church Session) of LCiGB were attended by the pastors, the congregational delegates and the local guests. THe AGM approved the annual report and the financial report and elected officers to the Council.
The Church Session received the report by Bishop Martin Lind and featured the presentation by Mr. Aled Griffiths on the theme, "Sustainability of Congregations".
Griffith, senior leader of Community Church in Derby and co-leader of the City Prayer Network in Nottingham, presented the challenges faced by most congregations. He suggested ways on how to sustain the challenges facing church members and leaders today.
The Q&A and group discussions followed the presentation prompted more explorations of the day's theme.
Copies of Griffith's presentation will be available to the participants at the Church Office.
Special Service at Westminster Abbey to mark
the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's Reformation
Full Press Release on the Porvoo Celebration, 14th June
Celebration in London of Full Communion between LCiGB and Church of England
On Sunday, 14 June, 2015, the Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain, the Rt Revd Dr Martin Lind, and the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, led a celebration of the Holy Eucharist to give thanks for the establishment of full communion between the Church of England and the Lutheran Church in Great Britain (LCiGB). The relationship between the churches is a consequence of the signing of the Porvoo Agreement by Bishop Lind on behalf of the LCiGB in September 2014 in York.
The service was held at St Mary at Hill, a Church of England parish in London, at which St Anne's Lutheran Church, a congregation of the LCiGB, conducts regular worship. The rector of St Mary at Hill, the Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkins, and the priest-in-charge of St Anne's, the Revd Eliza Zikmane, were also involved in leading the worship.
The Porvoo Communion, formally established in 1996, acknowledges and promotes visible communion among the signatory churches. The Communion now includes the national Lutheran churches of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden, the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad and the Lutheran Church in Great Britain. The Anglican churches in the Communion are those in England, Ireland, Portugal, Scotland, Spain and Wales.
The Porvoo Communion agrees that any baptised member of a Porvoo church is to be regarded as a member of any other Porvoo church and should be welcomed to receive sacramental and other pastoral ministrations. Episcopally ordained clergy in any Porvoo church are able to serve as bishops, priests or deacons in any other Porvoo church, subject to the procedures of the receiving church. At the 14 June service, the Bishop of London granted the Revd Eliza Zikmane Permission to Officiate (PTO) in the Diocese of London, the first LCiGB pastor to receive a PTO.
The Nordic and Baltic Lutheran churches that have congregations in Britain are under the jurisdiction of their home churches and bishops, and function largely as chaplaincies of those overseas churches, with a number of their priests having Permission to Officiate in dioceses of the Church of England. The membership of the LCiGB in the Porvoo Communion is distinctive, as it is based in Britain, with its central office in London. In other parts of the world, such as the USA and Canada, Anglicans and Lutherans are also in full communion and have offices and bishops in the same geographical areas. In the Porvoo context, however, the proximity of the LCiGB and the Church of England is a special case that might serve as a model for developing common mission and greater unity in new ways within the Porvoo family of churches.
Information about the Porvoo Communion is available at www.porvoocommunion.org.
Synod held in London: Building a Future
On 25th April, 2015, the annual AGM and Church Session (Synod) of the LCiGB were held at the International Lutheran Student Centre in London.
Some very interesting and important discussions were held on the future of our church; more news is bound to follow.
Please find here a few photos of some the participants and delegates to give you a flavour of the event.
A Letter from Bishop Lind - for the Lent season 2015
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
In front of us lie the forty days of Lent. Empty days, empty time. We are to fill those days with our activity, our everyday life and our efforts to live for each other. Before Lent we may pray that God blesses our days and helps us to fill these days with a meaningful time.
Every Lent I read the Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I may not read all the letters, but some lines every day. There is so much to reflect on and to be challenged by. Some weeks ago I read his letter to his parents, dated 15 May 1943. It is there he writes about his love for the biblical Psalms. “I am reading the Psalms daily, as I have done for years. I know them and love them more than any other book in the Bible”.
But in this letter he also mentions his ongoing work with an essay on time, “the feeling of time” (Zeitgefühl). It is according to him difficult for anybody to understand the conditions in prison. Of course, he writes, to be in prison is something very different from life outside.
Each single moment may not be so different from the life outside prison. He is every day reading, meditating, writing, walking up and down in his cell. He reflects on what is possible to do, and what is not.
But in the midst of these experiences, without any greater significance, he meets something completely different. Without any reason he feels attacked. All of a sudden he meets tribulation and temptation (Anfechtung). His life starts shaking, the peace and the calmness are disturbed. It is an attack, an invasion from outside. Evil powers threaten his life’s dearest treasures. And he can’t explain it, hardly understand it. But it is a reality.
This is certainly for him very significant for his life in prison. Time itself carries everyday life and all of a sudden carries the most threatening attacks, invasions directly against the centre of his life.
Maybe these experiences will help him better to understand what it is to be human, he reflects in his letter.
One of his predecessors in the same cell, number 92, has written on the wall: “In a hundred years it will all be over”. That was his way to overcome.
His own impression is that time is empty, Bonhoeffer writes, completely blank. Time carries everyday life, all the small things we do all the time. But time also carries the attack, the invasion that threatens life itself.
In Psalm 31,15 he finds the biblical answer on this problem: “My time is in your hands”. Whatever happens, our time rests in the hands of God. That is comfort. But there is one more biblical answer in Psalm 13: “How long, O Lord?”.
His reflections are – as usual – very honest and human, and therefore, according to my view, close to life, also close to our lives today. We badly need to be reminded of our God who gives us time. There is no time without God, we could say. But we are also allowed to raise the question: How long, O Lord?
In the Psalm 13 the author continues: “How long will you hide your face from me?” Bonhoeffer does not quote this part of the Psalm, but it might help us in our reflection.
We know the Hebrew understanding of God’s presence. We, human beings, may not always experience that God is with us. Quite the opposite, we may experience God’s absence. Even Christ on the cross does that: Why have you forsaken me? This question by Christ is found in two of our gospels, Matthew and Mark. The Hebrew view is that God is there, but God hides his face. O Lord, how long? That is the question in the Psalm and it is certainly also our question.
In this perspective the priestly benediction by Aaron is overwhelmingly merciful: “The Lord make his face shine upon you”. We need the blessing. We need to believe that God looks on us, sees us, is with us.
Our Lent is a time for inner reflection, for self-criticism and openness for change. It is a time when we again follow our Saviour Jesus Christ on his way towards his death and resurrection. It is a time when we may allow ourselves to deepen our Christian piety and to meditate on the meaning of our lives.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a good companion on your way in Lent. He will provoke you, if you listen and let him do it. There will certainly be many other companions who are worth listening to in this time. But don’t miss the opportunity to find time for meditation and reflection. Lent is a time given to us – empty, but possible to fill with the most expressive and moving thoughts.
With many good wishes for you Pray for me as I pray for you.
LCiGB sign the Porvoo Agreement, now a full member of the Porvoo Communion - Bishop Lind
On Friday, 19 September 2014, I signed the document stating that our Lutheran Church in Great Britain now is a full member of the Porvoo Communion. It all happened in the chapel in Bishopthorpe, the Palace of the Archbishop of York. The chapel was crowded with people as it is a rather small chapel.
See the full letter of Bishop Lind here.
Re-forming Diakonia in Europe: After two years of preparation and holding two workshops, one in Järvenpää, Finland (Dec. 2011) and the other Odessa, Ukraine (Jan. 2013), about 26 church representatives from 13 countries in Europe have published the 52-page report about how they wanted to re-form diakonia in Europe. They celebrated the landmark publication in Nuremburg, Germany 14-17 Jan. 2014 and announced themes for the coming three years till 2017 when the Lutheran World will mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Rev. Dr. Martin Lind installed as new bishop of LCiGB
The Rev. Dr. Martin Lind was installed as new bishop of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain at the Gustaf Adolf Nordic Church in Liverpool, 11 Jan. 2014.
The Holy Communion service and Reception of Bishop Martin was attended by pastors and lay ministers of LCiGB, the Church Council members of LCiGB, and the representatives of church partners from Europe, North America and the ecumenical Porvoo Communion. The service featured readings of the Scripture in languages used in LCiG congregations such as Polish, Cantonese and Swedish. The words of Scripture read for the affirmation by the new bishop were read in Estonian and Cantonese by Dean Lagle Heinla of the Estonian Lutheran Church in London who is also secretary of the Council of LCiGB and David Lin, Chairman of the LCiGB Council respectively. The service was adapted from the Swedish Mass. Bishop Martin was bishop of Linköping, Sweden, an office he held for 16 years before his retirement. The bible quotation - Psalm 116:5 was chosen as it is close to Bishop Martin's heart and his Lutheran identity as a Christian.
The highlight of the installation was the Nordic reception after the service in which gifts and greetings were brought in from representatives of churches in different countries and ecumenical and Lutheran communions in Europe and around the world. Below are some photos about a memorable and remarkable life occasion of LCiGB.
Photos (from top clockwise): 1. Bishop Emeritus Walter Jagucki, Dean Tom Bruch and Bishop Emerita Jana Jeruma-Grinberga with Bishop Martin
Lind; 2.&3. Bishop Martin presides at the eucharist assisted by the ministers of the LCiGB (from right: Lay Minister Moses Shonga, Rev. Libby Toomsalu, Rev. John Rollefson, Rev. Mark Hardy and Bishop Emeritus Walter. He also preaches at the service. (Below clockwise) 4. Rev. George Samiec of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in England and Bishop Emerita Jana share a laughter. 5. Rev. Steve Nelson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Global Mission. 6. Bishop Gregor Duncan of the Scottish Episcopal Nordic Church Liverpool. 7. Ms. Beate Fagerli brings greetings from Church of Norway and the Porvoo Communion at the reception held at the basement of the Gustav Adolf Church after the installation service. 8. Archbishop ElmÄrs Ernsts RozÄ«tis of the Latvian Church Abroad brings greetings for the Geneva, Switzerland-based Lutheran World Federation. 9. Dr Jaakko Rusama, Church of Finland, Anglican-Lutheran Society.
The rose and the heart with darker lines encapsulate the meaning of love of God, the Resurrection, Church unity and, above all, Luther's Reformation. We hope you like this fresh corporate impression of LCiGB which is designed by Sarah Farrow of St. Anne's Lutheran Church, a member congregation of LCiGB.