A letter of congratulation for Bishop Ivan Laptev from the LWF
“But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love (…) We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name”. Psalm 33:18.20-21
Dear Brother in Christ,
First and foremost, I would like to thank you for the invitation to attend your consecration as a new Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria.
It is with gladness in my heart that I congratulate you on behalf of the Lutheran World Federation, the worldwide Communion of 148 Lutheran member churches in 99 countries. I wish you God’s richest blessing and guidance for your new responsibilities.
You have been called to serve in the Church of Jesus Christ at a time when churches and our societies are facing many challenges. “There is no better time to be the church, than the very time in which we live today…” is a phrase of which we often remind our churches. Certainly, our challenges are huge, and sometimes scary. The questions and tasks are enormous. And yet we should never lose sight of what is entrusted to us as churches regardless of their size: the message of Jesus Christ in which we can all find life in abundance.
This message is desperately needed today and calls us to actively proclaim it, and to live it out daily as individuals and churches, reaching out in solidarity to those who need us, respecting the dignity of every human being, committing to justice, announcing hope and embodying love. The relevance of your ministry, the ministry of Word and Sacraments, the ministry of peace and reconciliation cannot be underestimated.
I join the prayer of many that as you put your hope in God, his unfailing love will rest upon you and on all people in your Church and country. In the words of Psalm 33, we are encouraged to firmly hope in God’s love and trust in his holy name, because God “is our shield’ and our “hearts rejoice in him’. The fear of God of which the psalmist speaks is an attitude of respect, a response of reverence and wonder, confidence, thankfulness and love. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’ (Psalm 110:10). I pray that God strengthens you in your ministry and that the favor of the Lord our God be on you.
As a global communion of Lutheran churches, we will gladly accompany you in your journey of faith and we are looking forward to our continued good cooperation.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr Martin Junge
LWF General Secretary