23 April 2015
Today, we met with the steering committee of Jesus is Lord Mission (JILM) at Zion Lutheran Church in Walburg, Texas. Jesus is Lord Mission (JILM) was founded by Rev. Dr. Glenn O’Shoney in 2002. JILM was designed to be a mission society that did not have a narrow focus or was limited to a single country or region of the world. JILM has a goal to “rekindle in the leaders of the church a passion for Christ’s mission.”
Jesus Is Lord Mission (JILM) partners exclusively with the LCMS World Mission / Office of International Mission to expand the proclamation of the Gospel. JILM only funds projects evaluated by OIM. OIM suggests projects to JILM. JILM selects which projects they would like to support. To date, JILM has given $2.3 million to the Synod to support LCMS mission projects. Many former missionaries participate with JILM. This is truly a great partnership.
Please take a look at the Jesus is Lord Mission (JILM) website. We look forward to our ongoing partnership with JILM.
We met at Zion Lutheran Church in Walburg, Texas. It was founded in 1882.
Watch the dedication service of the International Lutheran Center at the Old Latin School in Wittenberg, Germany, on Sunday, May 3. The service begins at 8 a.m. Central Daylight Time, and it will be broadcast live on livestream.com/thelcms/wittenberg.
The project is a joint effort by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the Independent Evangelical—Lutheran Church (SELK) of Germany and the International Lutheran Society of Wittenberg (ILSW) to establish a distinctly Lutheran presence in the very cradle of the Reformation.
The International Lutheran Center will provide the place, the opportunity and the inspiration for people to gather and learn about the Gospel Luther preached there. It will provide a unique venue, attractive to all of our existing and emerging partners worldwide, to help us share the Gospel that Luther rediscovered in the 16th century — the Gospel our world desperately needs to hear today.
Watch the service in real time with the live stream or later by accessing the archived version.
Learn more about The Wittenberg Project: thewittenbergproject.org
On this most recent trip to Ethiopia, Rev. Mark Rabe and Rev. Eric Stinnett visited the Mekane Yesus Seminary (MYS) for the first time. Both of them recently received calls from the Board for International Mission (BIM) to serve as theological educators in Ethiopia at the Mekane Yesus Seminary. Watch the brief interview with them.
Pictured (left to right): Rev. Mark Rabe, OIM Theological Educator to MYS and Rev. Eric Stinnett, OIM Theological Educator to MYS.
Pictured: Dr. Albert Collver and Bishop Wilson Noah Rule
19 April 2015
Bishop Wilson Noah Rule of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sudan / South Sudan travelled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to meet regarding a request to have fellowship with the Lutheran Church— Missouri Synod. Bishop Rule originally requested fellowship with the LCMS in 2013. The geo-political events and difficulties in obtaining visas for travel prevented a face to face visit until now.
The ELCS/SS is based out of Juba, South Sudan. The church body was established in 1993 in Juba. Due to geo-political instability, the church was relocated to Khartoum. At the beginning of the 21st Century, the LCMS assisted the ELCS/SS with church plants in the Nuba Mountains and a seminary was established in Khartoum. Once again, geo-political instabilities forced a relocation. The seminary moved to Yambio and began classes in 2008. Lutheran Heritage Foundation was greatly instrumental in assisting the ELCS/SS.
The ELCS/SS currently has over 150 congregations and nearly half that many pastors, as well as approximately 100 evangelists. The church holds that the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God and subscribes to the Book of Concord without reservation.
It was a great blessing that Bishop Wilson Noah Rule was able to come to Addis Ababa for a meeting. The next steps will involve meetings with members of the CTCR as fellowship discussions continue. Deo Volente, the two churches will be able to recognize fellowship. May God grant it.
The Lutheran Heritage Foundation was instrumental in bringing Bishop Wilson Noah Rule to Addis Ababa.
Approximately 3,500 pastors of the Mekane Yesus church in Ethiopia gathered on April 15-17 for a pastors conference. They met on the campus of Mekane Yesus Seminary (MYS) in Addis Ababa. The conference theme was “Our Vocation: Devotion to Prayer, Ministry of the Word and Leadership.”
Dr. Wakseyoum, President of the 7.2 million member Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, interprets Dr. Berhanu’s presentation on Ephesians 4 for Dr. Collver.
Dr. Berhanu’s presentation focuses on Ephesians 4:1, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” Dr. Berhanu desired to encourage pastors in their vocation and calling. He told the pastors that they were first called by the Lord in their baptism. Every Christian has this calling. The Christian goes to church and hears God’s Word and then goes out into the World and shares Christ with people. Then Dr. Berhanu spoke about how St. Paul and Jeremiah were called directly by God. Jesus himself appeared to St. Paul and called him to be an Apostle. Dr. Berhanu said to the pastors you were called by Jesus too. Jesus called you to be pastors through the church. Then he asked them, “Are you certain of your call?” The group of pastors said, “Amen.” Dr. Berhanu said, “You are certain of your call because the Lord called you through the Church.” His presentation was both well received and inspirational.
The conference also had presentations on Lutheran identity. The EECMY in recent years has been interested in the topic of Lutheran identity, in particular how to preserve identity in the face of rapid growth and with a shortage of trained pastors. Over the next few years the EECMY would like to train approximately another 8,000 to 10,000 pastors.
The LCMS delegation observed a portion of the EECMY pastors’ conference from the top of the dinning hall, whose construction was assisted by the LCMS. Pictured (left to right): Rev. Shauen Trump, LCMS Area Director of East Africa; Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations / Regional Operations; Rev. Eric Stinnett, LCMS Instructor at MYS; Rev. Mark Rabe, LCMS Instructor at MYS.
A highlight of the pastors’ conference was the presentation of the Book of Concord in Amharic by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation. Rev. Dr. Robert Rahn and Rev. Matthew Heise presented them to Dr. Wakseyoum of the EECMY.
All 3,500 pastors received a copy of the Book of Concord in Amharic. Prior to this event, there were approximately 900 copies of the Book of Concord in Ethiopia. Now every pastor has a copy.
The pastors sitting under the tent looking at the Book of Concord.
The Book of Concord will be of great benefit for the EECMY as it seeks to enhance its Lutheran identity. The pastors’ conference was deemed a success.
— Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver