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II International Theological Conference
of SELC Lutheran Theological Seminary

Catechises in the Lutheran Church

March 2-3, 2005

The Second International Theological Conference organized by the Lutheran Theological Seminary was held in Novosibirsk on March 23. The theme of Catechises was widely discussed at the Conference. Among numerous current problems of contemporary Lutheranism in Russia, the necessity for clear and comprehensive catechetical instruction is of prime importance.

Besides presenters from SELC, specially invited guests from the U.S.A. and United Kingdom participated in the conference work. Seminary Professor Fr. Alan Ludwig gave a foundational lecture on the need for catechetical training of adults. Library director and LTS graduate Alexei Vinogradov, who does layout and design for the SELC annual calendar, spoke to the listeners about the church calender structure, singling out its main parts and describing the history of its development. He devoted much attention to a demonstration of the differences between Western and Eastern calculations methods for the date of Easter. An Anglican priest and scholar of Luthers theology, Dr. Jonathan Trigg, gave lectures on the Luthers theology of baptism expressed in his Large Catechism, and on the role of the means of grace in Luthers ecclesiology. Seminary graduate Fr. Vladislav Ivanov gave a presentation on confession and absolution as an essential part of the biblical and Lutheran catechises. Fr. Alexander Hahn shared with the group a history of Lutheranism in Tomsk, having made an emphasis on catechetics and the changes that took place in the congregation in the last few years. This theme was especially interesting for the conference guests who came from other churches. CTS Professor Dr. Larry Rast delivered a presentation on the influence of the Pietistic movement, a subject that he investigates professionally. LTS Rector Fr. Alexei Streltsov emphasized in his presentation that catechises is grounded in the Scriptures, leading the hearer to fellowship with God in the sacraments of the church. The conference reports were well balanced overall and seemed to be a coherent whole.

There were more than 40 participants at the conference that came mostly from SELC parishes. Almost all the clergy of SELC were able to attend, which was especially good, as this event is organized primarily for their sake. The conference guests indicated the relevance of the topics under discussion. At the end of the conference, a possible theme for the conference next year was announced. Most likely it will be Holy Ministry.

The LTS conference has already produced good fruit in the church. Fr. Alexander Hahn, deacon at St. Marys parish in Tomsk, sent this SMS in just a couple of days after the conference: I came back from Yurga, where I conducted a service and the first class on Christian doctrine for everybody (young and old). As a teacher of parishioners, I think that this was a result of the conference. Tomorrow I plan to do the same in Tomsk in both congregations there.

Materials from the LTS II International Theological Conference will be published in Russian before the end of the year. Those lectures that were originally delivered in English will appear online on this site.

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