Search This Blog

Monday, February 28, 2011

3-fold emphasis + Diakonia Martyria Leiturgia Koinonia Artwork

Last week when Bishop Voigt from the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK) visited the International Center last week, he saw the Witness, Mercy, Life Together banner in chapel and in the cafeteria during lunch. Over lunch, Bishop Voigt said to me, "I really like the Witness, Mercy, Life Together banner. It reminds me of a sculpture we have in Germany." He then went on to describe a hand that represented diakonia, martyria, leiturgia, and koinonia. It is pictured above. Bishop Voigt sent me the photograph today.

Leiturgia is the glue that binds the three fold emphasis together. In a sense, leiturgia is what flows out of witness (martyria), mercy (diakonia), and life together (koinonia). Leiturgia is the Lord at work through His church in the areas of witness, mercy, and life together. The three-fold emphasis is not really a new thing, but something the church has done ever since the Lord founded her; it simply describes what the church does.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bishop Voigt Visits President Harrison's Office

Bishop Voigt of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK)
Today while President Harrison attended the end of the Council of Presidents' meeting and the Presidium meeting, Bishop Voigt from our sister church in Germany (SELK) visited the International Center for an International Lutheran Council (ILC) Executive Committee meeting. President Bugbee from the Lutheran Church of Canada (LCC) and President Emeritus Mayan from the LCC also were present.

Bishop Voigt commented on how the content of his library was very similar to that of President Harrison, particularly Luther's works. Bishop Voigt, like President Harrison, has both Walch editions of Luther's works. Bishop Voigt said he preferred reading Luther in the Walch 2 edition (the yellow/golden volumes pictured on the far left with red and black bands). He said, "Thank you Missouri Synod for producing that edition." The Walch 2 edition of Luther's works was produced by Concordia Publishing house between 1880 and 1910.

Dr. Robert Kolb has written a fascinating article on how Concordia Publishing House came to produce this edition of Luther's works. I have reproduced his article below for your reading enjoyment.

Cover from the 1580 Book of Concord

Luther for German Americans STL Edition Kolb Opt

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center Video

Here is a great video from Luther Memorial Chapel in Shorewood, WI. This is where I served as a vicar in 1995 - 1996 under Rev. Dr. Ken Wieting. It is a compelling video about the church and student center. Give the video a look and if in Shorewood, WI on a Sunday go and visit Luther Memorial Chapel.

You can visit Luther Memorial's website:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Issues Etc -- According to Nature, Adiaphorn, and Ordination

The guys at Issues, Etc. interviewed me today about my essay, "According to Nature, Adiaphorn, and Ordination" in Natural Law: A Lutheran Reappraisal. You can listen below.

As a side note: My family and I were able to get away on a short-little vacation in Minnesota...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Witness Connected to Liturgy -- BJS Conference

The Brothers of John the Steadfast held a conference on Witness, Mercy, Life Together. President Harrison spoke at the banquet. I did not attend the conference as I was in Africa, however, BJS has made the audio of the presentations available. The one that caught my attention was by Cantor Philip Magness, who also serves as the Secretary on the Board for International Mission (BIM). The part of his presentation that I appreciated the most was his explication of λειτουργία (litergia) in terms of witness, mercy, and life together. Magness identified six occurrences of λειτουργία (litergia) in the New Testament that can be divided into Witness, Mercy, and Life Together. To usages of λειτουργία (litergia) correspond to Witness, two to Mercy, and two to Life Together. λειτουργία (litergia) is found 6 times (Lk. 1:23; 2 C. 9:12; Phil. 2:17, 30; Hb. 8:6; 9:21). In any case, it is worth a listen.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

LCEF Presentations

Back in November 2010, LCEF held the Fall Leadership Conference at the Grand Ole Oprey in Nashville, Tennessee. President Harrison presented on Witness, Mercy, Life Together. 

I had the opportunity to do one of the morning devotions on "That they may all be one." The devotion focused on koinonia and mission opportunities around the world.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kwaheri Kenya (Goodbye Kenya)

At the airport in Kisumu
The trip to Kenya was very good. Had an opportunity to see old friends and view various LCMS projects in the ELCK. Had the opportunity to meet with all of the bishops in the ELCK, except for the South West Diocese. The group from the LCMS consisted of District Presidents (Fondow and Baneck), people from Concordia Lutheran Ministry (CLM) (Wolf and Hardy), Project 24 (Weinlaeder), LCMS Church Relations (Collver), and the LCMS Board for International Mission chairman (Seter).

All in all a good trip. Thank you to our friends in the ELCK for your hospitality.

A good book on the history of the Lutheran Church in Kenya is A Door Opened by the Lord: The History of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya by Rune Imberg, published in 2008.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya Dioceses

Map Showing Location of ELCK Parishes
In the video below Archbishop Walter Obare explains the start of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya,  and provides information about the location of the dioceses, parishes and congregations. It is a good primer on the ELCK.

About the ELCK

The ELCK began in Kisii in 1948 with the sending of Martin Lundström of the Swedish Lutheran Mission (SLM). The tribal group in this area are the Kisii (click here for a Wikipedia article on the Kisii). This territory today is known as the South West Diocese and was the first diocese of the ELCK. As of 2008, the South West Diocese had about 25,000 members.

The second diocese of the ELCK is the Lake Diocese on Lake Victoria. The tribe from this area is predominately Luo (click here for a Wikipedia article on the Luo people). As of 2008, the Lake Diocese had about 10,000 members.

The third diocese of the ELCK is the North West Diocese. This region of Kenya was primarily evangelized by the Norwegian Lutheran Mission among the Pokot people (click here for a Wikipedia article on the Pokot). The majority of the Christians in this part of Kenya are Lutherans, followed by the Anglicans and the Roman Catholics. As of 2008, the North West Diocese had about 25,000 members.

The fourth diocese of the ELCK is the Central Diocese which boarders the other three and is the largest geographic diocese. As of 2008, the Central Diocese had about 12,000 members.

The fifth diocese of the ELCK exists constitutionally. It is the Cathedral Diocese located in Nairobi. It is the Archbishop's diocese. 

The total size of the ELCK is between 75,000 and 100,000 members with about 130 pastors.

The ELCK has been shaped by five mission societies primarily from Nordic countries: Swedish Lutheran Mission (SLM), Swedish Lutheran Evangelical Association of Finland (SLEAF), Lutheran Evangelical Association of Finland (LEAF), Norwegian Lutheran Mission (NLM), and World Mission Prayer League (WMPL). These groups all have different cultural backgrounds, philosophies on how to conduct mission, various views on the liturgy, laity, ordination, and the clergy. It makes for an interesting mix. Most recently, as of 2003, the LCMS has been involved as well.

On our trip in Kenya this past week, we visited Mombasa, Wema, Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret, Kitale, Kapenguria, and Chepareria. The only region we did not get to see was the northern region where the drought is occurring. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Othoro Rescue Kisumu Kenya

Othoro Rescue Center for Boys
Pictured above are the boys at the Othoro Rescue Center. Currently, there are about 58 boys housed here. The center has broken new ground to expand so that 100 boys can be housed at the center. Roger Weinlaeder speaks about the LCMS and ELCK partnership in Project 24 and 1001 Orphans.

The Othoro Center along with Udom Rescue Center are two of the model centers for orphanages in the ELCK. The Othoro Center was constructed as a partnership between LCMS World Relief and Human Care and Project 24 in 2006.

The Othoro Center was dedicated by Rev. Matthew C. Harrison in 2006, when he served as the Executive Director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care. 

As with most of the ELCK's orphan centers, there is a congregation located on site. Archbishop Obare many years ago served at the Othoro parish.

The 1001 Orphan Program is more than "human care." The orphan program run by the ELCK cares for the entire person, body and soul.

The children compete in Bible clubs to creatively learn the Catechism. The video below is a short excerpt demonstrating how the children learn the catechism.

We heard several groups of children recite the catechism in creative ways. It was amazing to see the children compete with one another over the catechism.

Boys playing the drums at the Othoro Congregation

Leaving the Othoro Rescue Center

I had hoped to post more but am currently in Amsterdam and need to run to catch my flight... more later...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Udom Rescue Center Part 2 and Lake Victoria

The children at the Udom Chepareria Rescue Center gave us a warm greeting of song when we arrived after a 2 1/2 hour drive from Eldoret. The Udom Rescue Center is in the territory of the Pokot Tribe. In Kenya, Christianity among the tribes has expressed itself primarily as Anglicanism or Roman Catholicism. In the Pokot Tribe, the majority of the Christians are Lutheran. In fact, the Anglicans and the Roman Catholics look to the Lutherans for social care, etc. Bishop William Lopeta oversees the pastors in the North West Diocese.

The singing went on for almost an hour. The children then began to sing, "I Love You Jesus."

The view from the Udom Rescue Center is gorgeous.

Here is a view of the new dinning hall.

After visiting the Udom Rescue Center, we drove for 6 hours to Kisumu. Today, we will visit sites around Kisumu including the first rescue center the LCMS assisted the ELCK in Othoro, named after Matthew Harrison. Last night, we checked into a hotel, the Sunset Hotel, on Lake Victoria. Below was the view from my window this morning.

I had hoped to share more photos today, but even with the hotel internet, the uploading of the two short video clips took well over an hour. Time to hit the road in the environs of Kisumu.

Udom Chepareria Rescue Center

The Udom Chepareria Rescue Center is a partnership between the ELCK and the LCMS, including 1001 Orphans, Project 24, LCMS WR-HC, and Concordia Lutheran Ministries. Currently, the center has about 62 children in the program with the capacity for 30 more children. This center is located about 2 1/2 hours away from Eldoret.

Collver with Bishop William Lopeta, Bishop of the Northwest Diocese.

Unfortunately, I did not make the dedication in April due to the volcano in Iceland.

Evangelist Wilson said that it is the task of Christ's church to care for the entire person, both the body and the soul. This rescue center takes care of the material needs of the body, food and shelter, and Christian education consisting of the Bible and Small Catechism along with church attendance.

A church that will hold about 800 people is being constructed on the site of the center.

Concordia Lutheran Ministries donated motor bikes to the deaconesses so that they can visit the children more easily.

Deaconess Grace (pictured here) travels more than 200 kilometers to see the children assigned to her. The motor bike will make her job much easier as she no longer has to rely on public transportation.

The deaconess symbol for the ELCK has the Luther Rose on it.

Districts President Fondow and James Baneck are pictured with Bishop Lopeta and Archbishop Obare.

I hope to post more about the Udom Chepareria Rescue Center with video later once a faster Internet connection can be found.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Kapenguria - Lodwar Rd,Chepareria,Kenya

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ukunda and Wema Update

Here is an update from a Project 24 and 1001 Orphans.

The Ukanda Project 24 site is pictured here. This site should be fully operational by April 2011. Currently, a few children are living here.

Project 24 focuses on bricks and mortar, building the rescue centers. It is a partnership with LCMS.

Pastor Jamison Hardy and Jim Wolf from Concordia Lutheran Ministries, sponsors of 1001 Orphans stand near a well funded in part by CLM people.

After visiting Ukanda, we went to Wema station where 21 children, who are sponsored by 1001 Orphans stay.

The Wema station is within 10 miles of the Indian Ocean near Mombasa. The area has a high Muslim population. One of the pastors who serves in this area had been born a Moslem and after he converted to Christianity suffered repeated beatings and nearly died. Now he serves as a Lutheran pastor.

On the Wena compound is a Lutheran church that the children attend. Pictured on the calk board is the Ten Commandments. Bernie Seter, chair of the Board for International Mission, stands with Evangelist Emmanuel.

The pulpit at the church in Wema.

District Presidents Jim Baneck and Don Fondow stand with Bernie Seter and Emmanuel.

View out of the church's front door. There is no electricity or running water. Water is manually pumped and carried up the hill. The generator that powered the pump has broken so the small plot cannot be irrigated for the crops.

A small chicken coop also sits on the site. The rooster seemed alarmed that I would approach the coop.

Now we are off to the airport to travel to Eldoret located in the northwestern part of Kenya.

Will update as the Internet is available.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:C 108,,Kenya

1001 Orphan and Project 24 Update

In this video, Pastor David Chuchu of the ELCK provides an update to the 1001 Orphan Project.

In the next video, Rev. Bernie Seter, chairman of the Board for International Mission, provides an update on Project 24.

Click here for more information on 1001 Orphans

To Donate to 1001 Orphans click here

More information on Project 24 can be found here

Breakfast with Obare and Update on Drought

This morning in Mombasa, we had breakfast at the hotel before going out to see other orphan sites. We discussed some of the work in Kenya. He began to explain to me how the ELCK is organized and how the Central Diocese is larger than all the other dioceses put together. The projects we have seen are in the Central Diocese but from Nairobi, the one we saw yesterday involved a 10 hour car ride.  Today, we will fly 2 hours to the North. The point is that there is a lot of territory in the Central Diocese and the projects go from Nairobi to the furthest reaches of the territory.

He also explained how in Kenya it is very possible for a person to never have heard about Jesus. He told a story about a Masai man who had five wives, one hundred children and several grandchildren. He said that there are currently 40 ELCK congregations among the Masai and how 200 or 300 people will gather to hear the Word of God. In the case of the Masai man who had 100 children, the man heard the Word and converted, that day 108 people were baptized.

In the video above, Pastor David Chuchu gives an update on the drought affecting Lutheran congregations and pastors in Kenya.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Trip To Mombasa

Today on the way to Mombasa, we drove through parts of the Rift Valley and the Masai Mara near the Tanzanian boarder.

We also saw the new site of a Project 24 orphanage site in Taita Taveta, Kenya. Also located at the site is a church with about 25 communicate members. Paster Alexander has been there about two years.

A panorama of the site

Right now we are about half way to Mombasa... The trek continues.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Update from ELCK Office in Nairobi

Today we went to the ELCK headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Bishop Obare and Rev. David Chuchu gave us an update on projects between the ELCK and the LCMS, especially 1001 Orphans and Project 24. Currently, the ELCK is caring for slightly more than 1000 orphans with the assistance of the LCMS.

When people in America hear of an orphanage, the image is of children in an institutional setting. Yet this is not the "orphan" program in Kenya. The children remain connected to their family. The 1001 Orphans program works more like a boarding school. The children are provided with shelter, meals, Lutheran catechesis, and education either through the Kenyan public school system or by the church itself. On breaks every two or three months, the children stay with their families or extended families. Then after break the children return to the orphan program. Such an arrangement resembles a boarding school and is not uncommon for children in Kenya.

Pastor David Chuchu provided an update about the draught in Kenya. Many people including members of the ELCK and some pastors are facing starvation. However I was unable to upload the video.

Here is Luther Plaza, the headquarters of the ELCK. The building wad built with the help of LCEF. The church has offices, a hall, and a cathedral. The remaining space is rented out and used to reply the LCEF loan. A great example of entreprenialship.

ELCK Cathedral

We also met with LCMS mission personnel in Nairobi and shared lunch, some of the best pizza we have had overseas. Tomorrow we head to Mombassa.

Kenya Landscape

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Muhoya Ave,Nairobi,Kenya