The more than 100 registered delegates and visitors representing 33 different countries who attended the Seventh Triennial Convention of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference (CELC) in New Ulm and Mankato, Minn., June 4-6, are expressing how they’ve been encouraged by their participation.

Rev. Davison Mutentami, representing the Lutheran Church of Central Africa (Zambia), offered a keynote essay titled “The Mission of the Church.” Mutentami says the most valuable aspect of the convention was “to get to see the challenges the Lutheran church throughout the world is facing.” “I can see that even if we come from different countries, each country has its own challenge,” he says. “We are not the only ones facing challenges.”

Also attending was the WELS contact in Pakistan, who requests to remain anonymous for security reasons. Representing the fledgling Confessional Evangelical Church of Pakistan, the contact says: “I need the communion, the community of saints I have found here. We are very happy because we can discuss many things with our brothers about the Bible. We can refresh ourselves here.”

During the three-day convention, delegates voted to approve full or associate membership to three new churches: All Saints Lutheran Church of Nigeria, Lutheran Confessional Church–Norway, and East Seoul Canaan Church. “Receiving the three new churches was special, but what was perhaps most moving was hearing the reports from all the different churches at the convention,” says Prof. Thomas Nass, CELC secretary. “To hear what God is doing in the churches of our Lutheran fellowship all around the world was spiritually exhilarating for everyone in attendance.”

The convention also resolved to accept the invitation of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Peru to hold the 2014 convention there. This will be the first time that the convention has been held in South America.

In an interview, Rev. Davison Mutentami shared more about the challenges facing the Lutheran Church of Central Africa.