Posts tagged Tanzania
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
We arrived in Mwanza, Tanzania, on 9 February 2013. Mwanza is on Lake Victoria and the second largest city in Tanzania. It is also the headquarters of the East of Lake Victoria Diocese (ELVD) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT). The Mid-South District of the LCMS had a partnership with the ELVD for more than a decade. In fact, Bob Allen of the Mid-South District is a name revered in the ELVD for his tireless work.
The East of Lake Victoria Diocese (ELVD) has a unique history in the Evangelical Luther Church of Tanzania (ELCT). Unlike the other dioceses which were a product of the various European mission societies, beginning with the Leipzig Mission Society in the 1840s near Mount Kilimanjaro, the ELVD was created by the Tanzania church for the purpose of mission. Only 15% of the population in the region are Christians and most of the people hold to traditional religion.
The tilapia fish in the logo of the ELVD represents not the fish in Lake Victoria, but the deep hard to reach mission areas in Tanzania. This is one of the fastest growing areas in Tanzania in terms of mission outreach.
The service and liturgy on Sunday is very similar to a Missouri Synod service from Lutheran Service Book (LSB). Both the ELCT and the LCMS drew their liturgy from the same source — the Leipzig Agenda. The German missionaries brought the Leipzig Agenda to Tanzania and CFW Walther brought the Leipzig Agenda to America. The liturgy is nearly identical and many of the hymns are the same.
Like the Missouri Synod, the ELCT has a mixture of historic and more contemporary or modern music. In the ELCT, the liturgy is used strictly and every congregation uses the same order, even as songs both ancient and modern are interspersed. This seems like a good model that perhaps the LCMS could learn from. (FYI: Worship began at 7 am and lasted three hours. The service starts early so people can go to work if needed. There also were three offerings which roughly corresponded to Witness, Mercy, Life Together — this is simply what the church does.)
We took the ferry to cross Lake Victoria so we could reach the newly created diocese — the South East if Lake Victoria Diocese (SELVD). Bishop Elect Emmanuel Makala, a doctoral student at the Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne and supported by the LCMS Mid-South District, will be installed on 5 May 2013 as Bishop. Bishop Elect Makala was the assistant to Bishop Gulle before being elected to serve as Bishop.
Children with the ELCT Hymnal memorizing the Small Catechism on Saturday Confirmation Class. When the children are admitted to Confirmation Class, the children’s parents are invited to the front of the church to pledge that their child will learn the Small Catechism. The ELCT hymnal has a rite for the beginning of catechism class that is used for this service. We had the opportunity to witness this on Sunday morning.
Bishop Gulle indicated that the greatest assistance the LCMS can be is to walk along side of the Tanzania church and assist with theological education. He also indicated that the Tanzanian Church is carefully watching the decision made by the Evangelical Ethiopian Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) to break fellowship with the ELCA and the Church of Sweden over the issue of same sex marriage and ordination. In 2010, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) issued the Dedoma Statement which affirms the Biblical teaching on marriage and commits that their church will affirm the Holy Scriptures rather than sociological doctrine from America and Europe.
The future of Lutheranism may reside in Africa rather than either Europe or America. In Africa today, there are more than 20 million Lutherans (that is, people who attend church nearly every Sunday — unlike Europe or America). The African Lutheran Churches are showing themselves willing to resist anti-Scriptural ideas imposed upon them by Europe and America. Of course, the African Lutheran Churches have many challenges as well. The day could come when Africa sends missionaries to pagan Europe and America. There would be a certain irony in this as Africa was one of the first places to adopt the Christian faith — think of the great theologians Athanasius and Augustin, not to mention the Ethiopian Eunuch in the book of Acts who took the Christian faith to Ethiopia.
… On way to Accra Ghana, Africa, for an African Theological Conference sponsored by the LCMS and the Luther Academy.
— Posted the Monday after Transfiguration by Rev. Dr.
Albert Collver in flight over central Africa.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone