A new mission in London is one step closer to reality. The Board for World Missions is calling a full-time missionary to serve there after Larry Schlomer, administrator of the Board for World Missions, made an initial visit to the area in September.
During his trip, Schlomer met with a group of WELS families in London to talk about the possibilities. These members will serve as the “core group” for this mission and its work. “They are more than excited,” says Schlomer. “A couple of the members shared with me that they have been praying for a pastor for many years.”
In the past, this group in London—about 30 people—has been served by the WELS European chaplain, who travels monthly from Germany where he is based. The chaplain, part of WELS Military Services, ministers to WELS military personnel on large bases in Germany as well as serves civilians and troops in Germany, England, Switzerland, and scattered throughout Europe. Currently John Hartwig fills that role.
According to Schlomer, besides serving current members weekly with the Word, a new missionary will explore opportunities for reaching out to the many immigrant populations that settle in London. WELS already has some connections with several groups, including members and pastors from WELS’ sister synod in Hong Kong who have recently relocated to London. Once initial exploration has been completed, a second missionary may be called to work specifically with these immigrant groups. Funding has already been approved for both positions. “Right now our priority is to get someone there with this group of believers, and we’ll let the Spirit guide it as the Spirit will,” says Schlomer.
Phil and Sandy Parker, who have been members of this group in London since 2000, are excited about the possibilities. “London is such a multicultural area, and we think that the field amongst these immigrant populations will be particularly ripe because we can offer useful services, such as English as a foreign language classes, that can benefit them as they try to integrate into their communities,” says Sandy.
They also recognize the need for their English friends to hear the pure gospel message, something that is in short supply in London. “We know that the Holy Spirit is stronger than even the most stoic Englishman, and so, with a missionary here to help us with these conversations, we might be able to rest assured that our loved ones know God’s salvation too,” says Sandy.
Hartwig will continue to serve the group monthly in London until a missionary is able to take over. “The European Chaplaincy has been thankful to have the opportunity to work with the military and the civilians in the U.K. for many years,” he says. “We’re excited about the new turn this is taking and want to do everything possible to help that to happen.”
Learn more about five new world mission opportunities at wels.net/newworldmissionfields. Besides London, funding already has been approved for sending missionaries to Senegal. Schlomer is planning on visiting the area this month.
Volume 108, Number 11
Issue: November 2021