5th Conference

of the International Loehe Society

24-27 July 2022 - Dubuque/Iowa, USA


Is Christian identity in crisis?

What does Christian faith mean in a time of crises?

Why do we need the church in the world today?

These are the questions that many people in the 19th century asked themselves as they were unsettled by enormous upheavals. Seventy million people, mostly younger men and women, saw no future in Europe, and so left their homes and moved into a new, unknown world. Wilhelm Loehe and his companions developed visions and practical models for the church of the future.

At the 5th Conference of the International Loehe Society 2022, 55 participants from North America, Europe and Australia discussed the current relevance of these new approaches in the fields of theology, liturgy, mission and diaconia.


The conference was made possible with support from: German American National Congress (DANK), Diakoneo (Diakonie Neuendettelsau), Gesellschaft für Innere und Äußere Mission and Wartburg Theological Seminary.

Program and Speakers

Flyer_ILoeS Conference 2022_EN.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 657.0 KB


The papers from the 2022 Loehe Conference have been published in the January and April 2024 issues in Currents in Theology and Mission.


Comments from Participants at the 2022 Conference

Thank you for the work that you are doing, critically exploring the legacy of Wilhelm Loehe: challenging assumptions, bringing new insights and helping us learn more about who we have been, in service of who we are becoming.

Kristin Johnston Largen, President

Wartburg Theological Seminary


This year's gathering of the International Loehe Society once again demonstrated the resilience of Wilhem Loehe's legacy and variegated refractions of that legacy in contemporary church life. I especially appreciated the impulses for pastoral theology and missiology in several of the papers. For me a highlight of this year's conference was Stephen Pietsch's treatment of Loehe view of the pastoral office. I was pleased with the global scope of the conference as we had speakers not only from the ELCA and LCMS but also from Australia, Canada, and Germany.

John Pless, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Mission

Concordia Theological Seminary (Fort Wayne)


It was inspiring to meet so many Loehe scholars, and to learn more about his life, theology, ministry and work. The sacrifices of so many so long ago, to answer the call to word and sacrament and to service in many places around the world gave me a deep appreciation and renewed dedication to my own call to follow and to serve Jesus.  Seeing the history, buildings and communities springing from their efforts reminds us that our faith is not in vain!

Harlan Kaden, Pastor

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Lake Wilson, Minnesota


Our inheritance from Loehe is a commitment to engage the open questions of our church, of our confessions, of our society.

Peter Heide, Pastor

Baraboo, Wisconsin


As the spouse of a student, I always wondered, "Who was this guy Wilhelm Loehe? Why is the chapel named for him?'" This week I learned Loehe embodied, "Where learning leads to mission and mission leads to learning.”

Susan Heide

Baraboo, Wisconsin


All the presentations were excellent and showed a great range of scholarship and perspectives connected to Pastor Loehe.

Martin Lohrmann, Associate Professor of Lutheran Confessions and Heritage

Wartburg Theological Seminary


Gathering at Wartburg Theological Seminary, we experienced the spirit of life together in Christian community. The conference theme helped us retrieve and claim the witness of our founder, Wilhelm Loehe, for the challenges of mission in our time.

Craig Nessan, Professor of Contextual Theology and Ethics

Wartburg Theological Seminary


As a person living in Neuendettelsau I found it interesting how many participants knew about Neuendettelsau and had visited our small town. The lectures showed the large influence Loehe had on the development of Lutheranism in America in spite of controversies and limitations. I appreciated getting acquainted with personalities of LCMS and better understand their history and theological standpoints.

Hermann Vorländer, Direktor i.R

Missionswerk der ELKB, Neuendettelsau



It was a very interesting conference that gave a differentiated picture of the significance of Loehe's work for today. The various lectures were reflective and on the highest level.

Mathias Hartmann, Vorsitzender

Diakoneo, Neuendettelsau


As a first-time participant in the International Wilhelm Loehe Society, I assumed that the presentations and discussions would be engaging and scholarly--and that assumption was well-founded. I did not anticipate, however, the invigorating level of collegiality and camaraderie that the meeting engendered. In the USA, the fractured Lutheran churches (particularly between the ELCA and the LCMS), do not often allow scholars from the respective communions to occupy the same spaces. The Loehe Society provides a rich setting for learning and for the kind of "mutual care and consolation" that Martin Luther valued so highly.

William R. Russell, Coordinator

The Lutheran Confessions' Project, Lutheran World Federation


It was an excellent experience for me to interact with the other participants while being at our beloved Wartburg Seminary. It was also an excellent way to begin some sabbatical time in Iowa as it provided much food for thought and reflection. The most meaningful thing for me was to hear how Loehe’s approach to pastoral care and ministry was so servant oriented. In fact it was very diaconal in nature. I am an ordained pastor who previously was a diaconal minister. I came to understand that a diaconal orientation or approach to ministry as an ordained pastor can be integrated in a very holistic way. This is a way of ministry for me that allows me to embrace my call to ordained ministry while continuing to have a diaconal self-identity. 

David Thoresen, Pastor

Atonement Lutheran Church, Sebring, Florida


Wartburg Theological Seminary

333 Wartburg Pl, Dubuque, IA 52003

Phone 1-563-589-0200

Rückblick auf die Konferenz 2022

Comments on the 2022 Conference


Database on the "Neuen-dettelsau Letter Collection"

Neue Datenbank zur „Briefsammlung Neuendettelsau“


A Film about Loehe

Ein Film über Löhe