LELBA - Who We Are and What We Do
LELBA is one, albeit the largest, member of a larger body representing Latvian Evangelical Lutherans worldwide. Similar official organizations exist for the regions of Australia (including New Zealand), the United Kingdom, Germany (including Belgium and the Netherlands) and Sweden (including Denmark, Norway, Russia, and 2 congregations in Riga, Latvia). All of these groups take cover under the wings of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad (LELBAL) with its own archbishop.
LELBA has a hierarchical structure. It holds a synod once every three years to elect 7 directors to its board. The board of directors meets once annually . In addition, the board meets with its regional / district deans and ministry leaders once a year. Each individual congregation within LELBA acts independently of the parent organization in terms of maintaining its buildings and holding to its contract with its minister. LELBA intercedes in cases of conflict between pastor and parish.
LELBA works in conjuction with LEBAL in various ways. It strives to provide consistency in liturgy and to ensure qualified personnel. This pertains especially to the Church Liturgy and Music and Evangelization ministries. LELBA also works to publish Bibles, hymnals and educational materials. LELBA supports sister congregations, orphanages, needy schoolchildren and Sunday schools in Latvia. Together with LELBAL's Future Foundation and the Archbishop Arnolds Lusis Memorial Fund, LELBA financially assists theology students at the University of Latvia and elsewhere. In the same vein, LELBA provides scholarships to church leaders for attending or running continuing education courses, conferences, workshops and seminars. LELBA delegates partake in LELBAL's governing structure.
However, LELBA also acts independently of LELBAL. LELBA holds 4 yearly conferences, one in each district (East, West, Midwest and Canada). LELBA hosts biennial multi-congregation retreats which rotate from one district to the next. LELBA also provides meeting opportunities for confirmands. The Midwest District works in conjuction with the Latvian Center Garezers to provide religion classes and to encourage clergy to minister at the Center. In addition, in times of natural catastrophe, LELBA assists those in need.