Corpus Christi celebrated a remarkable achievement in 2018. The conference was the 10-year anniversary of working towards biblical and churchy renewal among young adults in Europe! Anniversaries need to be celebrated, that’s why our plenary speaker was one of our all-time favourites, the Reverend Kurt Reinhart. We stayed in a dedicated conference hotel, which allowed us to eat, explore the city, study, pray, worship, and have fun together as a community throughout the week.
Future and Hope
Plenary speaker Rev. Kurt Reinhardt addressed the following questions during his plenary session. What are some of the causes of human hope and why does it always fail? What’s the difference between “I hope?” and “I hope.” Who alone can turn “I hope?” into “I hope.” How does my past give me hope of a future? How does hope of a future give me hope in the present? How does God use the trials of life to build up genuine hope in me? Why should all the trouble in the world cause me to get my hopes up?
Just minutes from where the Reformation began, Corpus Christi gathered and celebrated the 500thanniversary of the reformation, and the lovely city of Halle also provided churches closely associated with the reformation for our worship services. As the conference moved to central Europe, the number of participants reached an all time high, enriching the fellowship that has become so significant for the Corpus Christi conferences.
Rev. Esko Murto, born in Finland, married to a German, and theology professor in Canada talked about the centrality of Christ in the celebration of the 500thanniversary of the Reformation. It was Christ alone that drove the whole Reformation. Indepth sessions addressed the other Solas of the Reformation: Faith alone, Grace alone, Scripture alone.
Hidden and Revealed
Pastor John Fiene from the U.S. used the story of Adam, hiding from God after the fall, to show how we hide from God and how God is searching for us, by revealing himself to us in Christ, and leading us into the light of God’s grace. Indepth sessions asked 1) God, where are you? 2) Church, where are you? 3) World, where are you going? To address some critical questions for God’s people today.
The conference was in Eastern Europe for the first time, even though participants had come from Eastern Europe, primarily Latvia, to all conferences. The capital of Latvia provided fantastic medieval churches for worship services, very useful facilities at Luther Academy, and nice free time opportunities in the flourishing old city of Riga.
Finland’s second largest city provided great facilities for the conference, as well as a devoted local working group, and free time could be spent on beaches of this lovely west coast city. The character of the conference had changed into a fully English-speaking conference, gathering many participants from outside the Scandinavian-speaking countries, leading also the establishment of an international organization of Corpus Christi.
Life in Christ
Plenary speaker Kurt Reinhardt came back from Canada and talked about a life in Christ, drawing our attention to the words of Jesus about the vine and the branches (John 15). Pastor Reinhardt had even prepared a little card/bookmark for each participant portraying a glass window and symbolism connected to his lectures.
Participants from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the UK, Latvia, the USA and Canada joined the conference and enjoyed the combination of uplifting worship in the main church of Varberg, edifying lectures at Campus Varberg, and joyful free time experiences in the old fortress of Varberg as well as on the beaches.
Come, Holy Spirit
Canadian pastor Kurt Reinhardt joined the Corpus Christi conference for the first (but not the last!) time and gave powerful presentations on the person and work of the third person of the Trinity. Jari Kekäle from Finland led the sessions for pastors and theology students, which eventually led to the establishing of Network of Young Lutheran Theologians, an independent branch of the work of Corpus Christi specifically aimed at forming and equipping future pastors in a confessional Lutheran setting in Europe.
Kristinestad / Kristiinankaupunki
Corpus Christi was located outside Sweden for the first time, namely in the lovely little city Kristinestad, also known as Kristiinankaupunki, on the Finnish west coast and attracted lots of new people, especially Finnish youth. More than 200 participants joined the conference for the first time.
Rev. Peter Bender came back as plenary speaker and talked about the second person of the Trinity, Jesus, the Son of God, who is the King of kings – crowned with thorns. Indepths addressed aspects of Christ’s kingship and for the first time one session was specifically designed for pastors and theology students, in which the future of the Church was discussed under the leadership of Timo Laato.
The conference once again was located on the Swedish west coast, providing excellent opportunities from free time activities and fellowship among Lutheran youth in Northern Europe. The magnificent church in the city centre contributed to a worship experience when the Corpus Christi community continued to develop its style of chanting Psalms.
This was the first ever Corpus Christi Conference! Youth from all over Scandinavia, and from Latvia, came to the beautiful summer city Varberg on the Swedish west coast to be part of something amazing. The conference found inspiration in the American Lutheran youth conference arranged by Higher Things and used the same motif in the set up: When we worship we worship! When we study we study! When we play we play!
Rev. Peter Bender from the U.S. addressed the topic For You, highlighting God’s grace through some of the parables of Jesus. The indepth-sessions looked deeper into the means through which God delivers his grace, God’s Word, Baptism, the Lord’s Supper. The services followed the liturgy of the hours and were held in both Swedish and English.