Posts tagged LCMS
23 August 2015
Several news items from Africa this past week in Ghana, Nigeria, and Tanzania.
GHANA AND THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH OF GHANA
Last Sunday, 16 August 2015, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana (ELCG) held a conference on same sex marriage and homosexuality in Africa. The conference was broadcast on Ghana Television (GTV). Below is a clip from the conference with an interview with Dr. Paul Kofi Fynn and Dr. Albert B. Collver. (The video can be seen on YouTube at https://youtu.be/UdTJQrEg63I)
NIGERIA and the Lutheran Church of Nigeria
The Lutheran Church of Nigeria (LCN) has a synod theme called, “Christ Lives in Me.” The theme is tripartite: “Christ Lives in Me for Witness”; “Christ Lives in Me for Mercy”; “Christ Lives in Me for Life Together.”
The chorus of the theme song:
Christ Lives in Me
he lives in Me
Christ lives in me
He has given us the grace
He has given us the grace to rule the world
He has given us the grace to overcome the world
He lives in me
Christ lives in me
Christ lives in me for witness
Christ lives in me for works of mercy
Christ lives in me for life together
The song can be listened to at: https://soundcloud.com/collverab3/christ-lives-in-me-lcn
TANZANIA — Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania Elects New Presiding Bishop
This past week (16 August 2015) the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) elected a anew presiding bishop, Frederic Shoo.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) is the second largest Lutheran church in the world with about 6 million members after the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY), which has about 8 million members. The Missouri Synod is not in altar and pulpit fellowship with the ELCT, however, the Missouri Synod does have friendly relations with some of the bishops in the ELCT.
Presiding Bishop Frederick Shoo is known as the “tree bishop” due to the large amount of trees he and his North Diocese have planted to help preserve the glaciers on top of Mount Kilimanjaro. PBS did an interview with Bishop Frederick Shoo a few years ago here: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/2012/07/13/july-13-2012-kilimanjaro-trees/11790/#
— Rev. Albert B. Collver, Ph.D., Director of Church Relations
Pictured (left to right): Hjalmar Bø, Øyvind Åsland, Albert Collver
On 19 August 2015, Øyvin Åsland, Executive Director of Norwegian Lutheran Mission (NLM), and Hjalmar Bø, Director NLM International Department, came to Saint Louis to visit with the Missouri Synod and to learn more about the International Lutheran Council (ILC). The Norwegian Lutheran Mission (NLM) was formed in 1891 as Det Norske Lutherske Kinamisjonsforbund (the Norwegian Lutheran Federation for Mission in China). NLM is connected to the revival movements in Norway and adheres to the Holy Scriptures, the Ecumenical Creeds, the Augsburg Confession and the Small and Large Catechisms. NLM’s slogan is “The World for Christ.” The Norwegian Lutheran Mission operates in several of the same countries where the Missouri Synod also operates. For instance, the Norwegian Lutheran Missionaries established Tabor Evangelical College in Ethiopia. Currently, some of the faculty from Tabor Evangelical College are attending doctorate classes at Concordia Seminary in Saint Louis. Missionaries from NLM have frequent contact with Missouri Synod missionaries in places such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Latin America, and Africa. Although there have been many informal contacts through the years, this is the first time that the Norwegian Lutheran Mission has sought official contacts with the Missouri Synod and with the International Lutheran Council.
Øyvind Åsland and Hjalmar Bø at Concordia Publishing House
Since 1891 (three years before the Missouri Synod engaged in international mission work), the Norwegian Lutheran Mission has been seeking to plant Lutheran churches around the world. NLM always has been a movement within but not under the Church of Norway and has been primarily a lay movement that sought to engage in missions. The Norwegian Lutheran Mission does not support the ordination of women. Most recently, the Norwegian Lutheran Mission voted to “establish religious communities” by a vote of 548 in favor to 121 against.
The vote for the Norwegian Lutheran Mission (NLM) to establish “religious communities” is rather significant as it marks the shift of NLM from being purely a mission agency to also a church. As such NLM has begun to wrestle with the implications of this decision, such as how it will relate to other churches in the world and what sorts of relationships it will seek.
Pictured (left to right): Rev. Paul McCain, Dr. Albert Collver, Jonathan Schulz, Øyvind Åsland and Hjalmar Bø
At Concordia Publishing House, the representatives from the Norwegian Lutheran Mission received an overview of CPH products that might be of interest to the mission field. In the past, NLM has translated a few books from CPH into Norwegian. They also received a tour of the facilities.
After visiting Concordia Publishing House, the NLM representatives had the opportunity to visit Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis. Once again, the Norwegian Lutheran Mission is familiar with Concordia Seminary as some of their missionaries and leaders have studied there in the past.
Dr. Jeff Kloha Provides An Overview of the Campus
At Concordia Seminary, the representatives from NLM saw highlights of the campus including the rare book room, where they saw the Bach Bible and Codex Vaticanus. The representatives from NLM noted how it is amazing that an institution remained faithful to the Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions for 175 years, which only happens by the grace of God.
The first formal visit with the Norwegian Lutheran Mission went well and we are looking forward to more visits in the future.
— Rev. Albert B. Collver, Ph.D., Director of Church Relations
The Lutheran Church of Nigeria held a deaconess conference with the LCMS on the theme, “Deaconesses in Mission.” Approximately 200 women attended.
The women were very eager to join the conference.
Deaconess Grace Rao spoke about the role of women in the church.
Dr. Collver reflected on the Lutheran Church of Nigeria’s Theme, “Christ Lives in Me,” and used the Gospel of Mark to describe the Christ that lives in you, while tying it to mercy works.
Dr. David Erber assisted with the conference.
Nigeria in the rainy season.
The Lutheran Church Of Nigeria (LCN) was the LCMS’ first African mission start. The church began in 1936 in Uyo, Obot Idim. Archbishop Christian Ekong in the video above outlines some basic information about the Lutheran Church of Nigeria and speaks about the challenges of needing to train 100 pastors immediately at the Jonathan Ekong Memorial Seminary (JEMS) while only having a handful of professors to teach. The church has about 133,000 members in 355 congregations with 250 pastors and 50 evangelists.
Archbishop Ekong in Seminary Library
Jonathan Ekong Memorial Seminary Sign
Student at JEMS holding his CPH Book Lutheranism 101
LCMS individuals meet with the Mekane Yesus Fellowship board
and LCMS pastors who originally came from the EECMY.
The Ethiopian LCMS Annual Pastors’ Conference and the Mekane Yesus Fellowship Board meet at the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Retreat Center in Newhark, Ohio, from July 22-26, 2015. Approximately, 150 people attended the conference mostly consisting of LCMS Ethiopian pastors and their families. Four delegates represented the EECMY from Ethiopia also attended.
Attendees at the conference engaged in worship, fellowship, and discussion. Ethiopia is the second largest African nation by population after Nigeria and is expected to become one of the most populous nations in the next 50-100 years. Unlike some African nations, the Ethiopian diaspora is well organized in the United States and in other parts of the world. Ethiopians constitute the second largest African immigration group in the United States after Nigerians. As both the white and african american population declines demographically, the Ethiopian population increases in the United States (See article “As Black Population Declines, Little Ethiopia Increases.”) The large number of Ethiopian immigrants makes it an important focus for the LCMS national mission as well as a potentially significant population group for Christianity in the West.
Dr. Yared Speaking About the Importance of LCMS Support for the EECMY
The group had the goals of exchanging ministry experiences, organizing the diaspora community, and to strengthen the LCMS-EECMY relationship. Items discussed the working relationship between the EECMY and the LCMS, the EECMY’s Diaspora Mission Awareness and Opportunities strategic conversation, Raising awareness and support in the diaspora community, and confessional and theological discussions toward the future. LCMS representatives included (in alphabetical order): Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations; President Terry Cripe, Ohio District President; Rev. Bart Day, Executive Director of the Office of National Mission; Rev. Roosevelt Gray, Director of Black Ministry for the Office of National Mission; Dr. Detlev Schulz, Director of Graduate Studies Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne; Dr. Brent Smith, Representative from the South East District; Rev. Mark Wood, Director of LCMS Witness & Outreach Ministry.
Pastor Wondimu Mathewos, Dr. Albert Collver, and Dr. Tilahun Mekonnen Meet before Conference
Pastor Wondimu Mathewos is the Director of the International Mission Society (IMS) for the EECMY in Ethiopia. The EECMY is best known for its domestic mission which has taken the EECMY from about 25,000 members in 1959 to about 7.2 million members in 2015. Until recently, the EECMY had been focused on domestic proclamation of the gospel. The formation of the EECMY International Mission Society mark the Mekane Yesus’ church’s effort to proclaim the gospel internationally.
Dr. Detlev Schulz listened to the needs to train EECMY pastors both at the B.TH and Masters level in Ethiopia. Dr. Schulz spoke about his experience teaching in Ethiopia and about the Ethiopian students who are attending LCMS seminaries in the United States.
President Abraham Mengesha
Pastor Abraham Mengesha, President of the Central Ethiopian Synod, presented a paper at the LCMS’ mission summit in November 2014 on the “Factors That Contributed to the Growth of the EECMY in General and the Central Ethiopian Synod in Particular.” The paper may be helpful to those in the LCMS desiring to understand some of the history and background to the Mekane Yesus Church, the largest Lutheran church in the world. The EECMY report 7.2 million members. The paper was published in the Journal of Lutheran Mission (JOLM). The paper was published in the June 2015 issue found here. A copy of the paper is provided below: