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  • Gustavo Driau

Global Mission Executive Director, lectured to Bishops in the Lutheran Church in Brazil (IECLB)

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lutheran Confession in Brazil (IECLB) is an ELCA companion church in South America.

IECLB Presidency, Pastor Sílvia Genz, invited Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, Executive Director of the Global Mission Unit, to lead a capacity development seminar in “Church Leadership and Episcopal Ministry in Lutheran perspective” on February 18-19, 2019, in Porto Alegre / RS.

The seminar was organized by the IECLB´s Presidency and the IECLB´s secretariat to offer resources for Synodal Pastors (bishops) of the eighteen IECLB´s synod to exercise espiskope ministry (oversight ministry).

Pastor Sílvia Genz, Pastor President of the IECLB, and Fr. Odair Braun, 1st Vice-President of IECLB, opened the seminar worshiping and celebrating Lord´s Supper.

In her prayer, Pastor Silvia invited Pastors and Synodal Pastors, and General Secretariat team, to be 'constructors' and 'builders' of bridges. Pastor Silvia pointed to be bridges of peace, in allusion to the motto “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you.” (John 14:27a), and the theme of the IECLB in 2018-2019, "Church - Economy - Politics".

Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, Executive Director of the Global Mission Unit, lectured on “Leadership, Episcopal Ministry and functions of Synodal Pastors” arising several theological and practical dimensions of the oversight ministry.

The terms episcopacy and episkopé build on the Greek verb episkopein, which means to look upon, discern and exercise oversight. In Lutheran churches, episkopé (oversight) in the broad sense is exercised by ordained persons, synods and specially designated collegial institutions.

As part of this episkopé, Lutheran churches assign specific tasks of oversight to a regional ministry by bishops and similar officials with other titles (church president, ephorus and, synodal pastor), who exercise personally, collegially and communally, a supra-congregational form of ordained ministry for the sake of spiritual discernment and leadership; involving both lay and ordained persons, according to established rules and regulations.

Rev. Rafael Malpica's Ministry in Global Mission has inspired the concept of 'accompaniment' as tool, lens, and hermeneutics for the Church's mission in the 21st century, presenting a model that seeks to contribute effectively to God's Mission.

IECLB presidency, Synodal pastors (Bishops) and the IECLB secretariat evaluated very positively the lecture given by ELCA representatives, as well as the reflections provided by the tasks and evaluations carried out during the Seminar.

The day after, IECLB presidency, Synodal pastors (Bishops) and the IECLB secretariat continued their work discussing on the Mission Goals of the IECLB, approved at the XXXI IECLB Council.

There was also time to visit the Vineyard Valley, which is located close to Porto Alegre, in Serra Gaúcha mountains. The hillsides are beautiful with paths that are garlanded with hydrangeas, orchids and azaleas.

The visit included stop-offs to small traditional Italian and German migrants’ wineries, in a stunning environment of subtropical forest.

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