Holy Communion with our brothers and sisters in the Gauteng Diocese of the LCSA – Reformation Festival.
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is in pulpit and altar fellowship with two separate church bodies in Southern Africa: the Free Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Africa (FELSiSA) and the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (LCSA).  Both churches rise out of the efforts of German Lutheran missionaries in the late 19th and 20th centuries (the Hermansburg Mission and later the Bleckmar Mission of our partner in Germany, the Selbstaendig Evangelisch-Lutherishe Kirche, SELK).  

First Vice President Herbert Mueller preaching at the Lutheran Church in Katlehong, near Johannesburg, 23 October 2011.

Recently, as First Vice President, I had the privilege of visiting both churches and presenting our theme of Witness, Mercy and Life Together for both groups.  As indicated previously, I was also there to represent the Synod and to preach for the blessing of the first deaconesses in the LCSA.  We also had the opportunity to preach in congregations of both synods – Katlehong in the LCSA and St. Paul, Fairlands (Johannesburg), in the FELSiSA.  

The LCSA is mainly black (Zulu and Tswana, mostly) and the FELSiSA is historically German and white, though there are many English speaking people that have joined in recent years (both white and black) and some Afrikaans people as well.  FELSiSA recently brought into associate membership a black congregation near Fairlands.  Tentative efforts are under way to seek to bring both groups together, including perhaps also a third group of independent Lutheran churches founded by a graduate of our seminary in Fort Wayne now in Middelburg, RSA.  I was privileged to be present for the first joint meeting of the Church Councils of both the LCSA and the FELSiSA in some years while present.  

Bishop Dieter Reinstorf of the FELSiSA (also pastor in Pietermaritzburg) is on the left, and Pastor Christian Tiedemann of the English congregation in Wartburg, Kwa-Zulu Natal is on the right, standing in front of a LCSA church near Wartburg. It was a pleasure to get to know these men more fully as we share in the same ministry.

Pray that God draws both of these partners closer together and that the terrible legacy of apartheid may be overcome by God’s grace and forgiveness in the blood of Christ.  We met many people, fine Christians one and all, seeking to serve the Lord faithfully where He has placed them.  Pray for true unity in the Gospel that can be expressed in the coming together of these churches into one Synod.  Already they are in fellowship with us and with each other, but pray that they are able, by God’s grace, to overcome the past and to unite in one confessional Lutheran Church in Southern Africa.  

And after these things, I looked, and behold, a great crowd, which no one could number, from every nation (ethnic group) and every tribe and people, and every tongue, standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and they were crying out with a loud voice saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’ (Revelation 7:9-10).

God be praised for He makes it so even now! 

 

The offering at the Mpumalanga Diocese (LCSA) Women’s League Convention at Mayflower, near Fernie, South Africa, on 29 October 2011.  In the LCSA they sing and dance as they bring their offerings forward to the Lord. The women wear uniforms to identify themselves as members of the League.
 

+Herbert Mueller
First Vice President