Delegates joined their voices in song Wednesday afternoon as they officially recognized fellowship with the Lutheran Confessional Church in Norway (LBK-Norway) as an independent sister church.

"Coming here is a highlight in my ministry," says Rev. Egil Edvardsen, the president of the LBK-Norway and one of the church body’s two pastors. "Personally, [the recognition of fellowship] means very much for my everyday work in my congregation—to know that I’m not doing this alone. There is somebody else over there who will pray and support and help us in time of need."

The two congregations of the LBK-Norway have actually been in fellowship with WELS since 1978 when they left the state church in Norway and joined the Lutheran Confessional Church in Sweden. In 2009, however, the LBK-Norway decided to become an independent church body.

Referring to the Swedish church as the “mother church,” Edvardsen says, “The child has to grow and eventually leave the home when it becomes strong enough. It was time to leave the safe home and become independent and stand on our own feet.”

This synodical resolution recognized this new independence of the LBK-Norway.

As Edvardsen addressed convention delegates following the recognition of fellowship, he thanked WELS for all the support it has provided through the years to this 55-baptized-member church body—especially the encouragement and advice of the contact men sent through the synod’s Commission on Inter-Church Relations.

“It’s a great blessing for our church body to have you in the WELS and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod as our big brothers who can help us—hold our hands—in times of trouble,” he says. “I hope that you will do as the apostle Paul did—continue to send people to Scandinavia to find out how it goes with our faith and to encourage us and to strengthen us. And I hope also that we may be able—with our small resources—to give something back.”

Learn more about the Lutheran Confessional Church in Norway and the other church bodies WELS is in fellowship with through the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference at www.celc.info.