Collver Nathaniel Bol and Shewmaker July 2015

Pictured (Left to Right): Dr. Collver, Rev. Nathaniel Bol, Rev. Russell Shewmaker

On 30 July 2015, Rev. Nathaniel Bol, the leader of the SSELC, visited the International Center to present his request for fellowship with the LCMS. The South Sudan Evangelical Lutheran Church (SSELC) was formed on June 12, 2011 in Bor, Jonglei State, South Sudan.

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Prior to June 2011, Rev. Nathaniel Bol was an Anglican priest and theological educator for 27 years in the the Episcopal Church of Sudan. He and 16 other ordained Anglican priests left the Anglican church to form this emerging Lutheran church body. The group did not attempt to take their congregations with them, but rather formed a small congregation consisting of 21 people at the church’s founding. Rev. Nathaniel Bol and the 16 other ordained pastors left the Anglican church over matters of Biblical interpretation, particularly the sexuality decisions made by the Anglican church. Rev. Nathaniel Bol also found the ecumenicalism of the Anglican church, particularly, worshiping with Pentecostals, Methodists, Baptists, to be unionistic and syncretistic. The reason this group departed the Anglican church according to them was for doctrinal reasons and no other reasons. Rev. Nathaniel Bol indicated that prior to departing the Anglican church, they studied what church body might hold a similar view of Scripture and an understanding of doctrine as they did. As a result, they found the Lutheran church, the mother of the Reformation, Eventually, over the internet they located the Missouri Synod. Today, the church has about 3,000 members.

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In December 2014, there was a conflict in Bol, South Sudan. many of the church members had to flee from the rebel fighters. The church members scattered to places in South Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya.

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It was good to meet the leader of an emerging church in South Sudan. The fellowship request goes to the CTCR for further discussion in September.

— Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, Director of Church Relations