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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hymnal Workshops in Kenya

Hymnal Workshops in Kenya

By Dr. Timothy Quill

Following the dedication on the new hymnals, Rev. Randy Golter (Executive Director of the Office of International Mission, Dr. Timothy Quill (Director of Theological Education), Deaconess/Church Musician Sandra Rhein traveled to the Matongo in Western Kenya to visit the ELCK’s seminary. The trip included an introductory hymnbook workshop on the conduct and music of the liturgy and hymnody for the seminarians, local pastors and church musicians. The workshop was led by Rev. Tom Omolo (Chairman of the new Hymnbook Commission), Rev. Isaiah Obare (Commission member) and Deaconess Rhein. The team then made the day long drive north into the mountainous Pokot region to conduct the workshop for local pastors and musicians. The workshop took place on the campus of Kapenguria Bible Center which trains evangelists, deaconesses and serves as a “prep school” for the Seminary in Matongo. With the recent accreditation of the Matongo Seminary, it is now able to grant qualified graduates a BTh degree. The ELCK is studying the possibility of expanding the Kapenguria program to include pastoral training. Rev. Obare and Deaconess Rhein then conducted workshops in Mombasa and Nairobi.

Rev. Tom Omolo & Deaconess Rhein conducting new hymnal workshop

Rugged beauty of the Kapenguria Region

Rev. Isaiah Obare teaching in Kapenguria

Kapenguria Bible Center

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

EECMY Terminates her Partnership with ELCA and CoS

EECMY Terminates her Partnership with ELCA and CoS

The 19th General Assembly of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, held from January 27 to February 2, 2013, passed several important resolutions related to the life and ministry of the Church including election of leaders, formation of a Judiciary Commission, establishment of new synods and above all, fellowshipping in prayer and worship. Among the agenda items that received endorsement of the General Assembly were issues related to marriage and human sexuality – topics that extensively called the attention of the Church’s policy-making bodies at different level, over the past several years.

It is recalled, earlierlier in 2006, two of the major partners of the EECMY, namely the Church of Sweden and later, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, passed decisions that favor Homosexual practices and blessing of same sex marriage. The EECMY noted this as a surprise and immediately reacted against and earnestly requested for reconsideration of their decisions. To the ,contrary, these two Churches, going further, resolved to legalize same sex marriage and calling of gay persons into ordained ministry. As a result of this, the EECMY was compelled to engage with an intentional theological reflection and deeper search of Scripture as well as legal and cultural perspectives of the Ethiopian Context. The outcome of this study was critically reviewed and taken as the basis forward the decisions of the 6th Church Council — which resulted in the writing of Pastoral Call to the two Churches to reverse their decisions, lest the EECMY would be forced to terminate her relationship, with prior notification of one year as per the Standard Partnership agreement. Sadly, the repeated endeavors of the EECMY on this line, failed to obtain the expected positive response from the two Churches.

Subsequently, the Council of the Church at its 8th regular session held in July 2012, was obligated to implement the decision of the 6th Council, i.e. termination of the partnership relations and setting of exit strategy to realize the decision. Having heard and thoroughly reviewed the report presented on the actions so far taken on this Issue, the 19th Generaleral Assembly of the Church unanimously endorsed the Resolution passed by the 8th Council.

Being cognizant of the fruitful and long-standing relationships with the ELCA and the CoS,the EECMY expresses her very deep and sincere appreciation of their historic contributions in God’s Mission. We will continue to pray that, one day, the relationships will be restored.

The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY)
February 11, 2013
Addis Ababa

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Farewell from Kenya

The Uhuru Highway Lutheran Church in Nairobi, Kenya.

This morning before leaving for the United States, there was an opportunity to meet with the leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK).

The discussion was primarily one of gratitude to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod for providing assistance and expertise to complete Ibada Takatifu (Divine Service). It also was mentioned how much the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) provided in terms of hymnody and translation expertise, as well as copyright permissions.

Another area of the discussion focused on the necessity of theological education so that in the future the ELCK would have its own expertise to undertake such projects in the future.

Rev. John Halahke, General Secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK) sits in his office.

Archbishop Obare presenting and signing a copy of Ibada Takatifu (Divine Service).

Those who assisted in the Kenyan Hymnal Project.

The trip to Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, and Kenya have been incredibly to better understand the state of Lutheranism in Africa.

Bon voyage.

- Posted by Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:University Way,Nairobi,Kenya

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dedication of Kenyan Hymnal "Ibata Takatifu"

The newly published hymnal "Ibada Takatifu" for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya (ELCK). The dedication for Ibada Takatifu (Divine Service) was held at the Uhuru Highway Lutheran Church in downtown Nairobi.

The hymnal is, in some ways, modeled after the Lutheran Service Book (LSB) in style. The hymnal contains a fresh translation of Luther's Small Catechism in Swahili (unfortunately, they could not secure rights to use the translation done by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation). At least for the ELCK, the version of the Small Catechism found in the hymnal will become the new standard for Kenya.

Rev. John Halahke, General Secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya (ELCK) stands with Deaconess Sandra Rhein, the coordinating editor of the Kenya Hymnal Project.

Procession for the hymnal dedication with Archbishop Walter Obare the last member of the procession.

People standing for the entry of the procession at the hymnal dedication.

The Archbishop and other Bishops conduct the dedication liturgy.

The bulletin for the hymnal dedication.

Pastor Thomas Aadland, professor Matango Lutheran Theological Conference, preached the dedication for the hymnal.

After the sermon, the congregation sang, "Mungu Wetu Ndiye Boma" ("A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"). You can listen to it by clicking here.

Rev. Ambele Mwaipopo, Director of Mission & Evangelism for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), congratulated the Evangelical Lutheran Church Kenya (ELCK) on their new hymnal, especially in light of false rumors that some started to hinder the project. The Tanzanian church provided a significant amount of assistance in the area of translation, copyright permissions, and other technical assistance.

Archbishop Obare read from a portion of the hymnal forward: "We thank God for enabling the ELCK to have Ibada Takatifu at such a crucial time. With this hymnal The Lord has given us a lasting treasure that will foster unity and spiritual and spiritual growth that will be carried from generation to generation! Both the ELCK Hymnal Commission and liturgical experts at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA, who labored tirelessly to complete this project deserve great thanks -- their effort will be felt in all corners of our church for generations to come. We thank God for all those who contributed financial offerings to this undertaking: their work is going to bring great blessing to God's people. Finally, we pray that our Lord would abundantly bless bishops, pastors, evangelists, teachers, deaconesses, and church musicians who helped bring this work to fruition. We pray God's blessing upon those who use Ibada Takatifu in the coming years to lead His people in the divine and heavenly worship of our living God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, whose grace upon grace is always more than we desire or deserve."

Photo at the press conference and television interview after the service.

Congratulations to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya's (ELCK) on their new hymnal. To God be the glory.

- Posted by Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:University Way,Nairobi,Kenya

Saturday, February 16, 2013

ILC Letter to EECMY

Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt, Chairman
P.O. Box 690407 • 30613 Hannover GERMANY
Telephone: 49-511-55-7808 • FAX: 49-511-55-1588

Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, III, Executive Secretary
1333 S. Kirkwood Road • St. Louis, MO USA 63122
Telephone: 314-996-1430 • FAX: 314-996-1119
E-MAIL: albert.collver@lcms.org15 February 2013

Dear President Idosa and the members of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY):

To the church of God in Ethiopia, Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

We, the members of the International Lutheran Council and the attendees of the African Lutheran Theological Conference held in Accra, Ghana, on 12 - 15 February 2013, heard the report of the EECMY to sever fellowship with both the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) over the issue of same-sex marriage and the ordination of practicing homosexuals into the pastoral ministry.

We want to commend and thank you for taking a stand on the Word of God. In fact, we praise the Lord that he has brought this good work to fruition in the life of your church. Your conscience-bound view that the Scripture Alone is the only source of authority in deciding this matter is the view shared by the members of the International Lutheran Council (ILC). We pray that the courage you displayed in standing upon the Word of God will spread to other churches in Africa as they struggle on how to approach historic partners who have departed from the Word of God.

You and your church will remain in our prayers.

In Christ Jesus,

Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt

Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, III, Executive Secretary

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE─2013-2015: Africa: Christian Ekong; Asia: James Cerdeñola; Europe: Jon Ehlers;
Latin America: Egon Kopereck; North America: Robert Bugbee (Vice Chairman); Secretary: Gijsbertus van Hattem

Participants of the African Lutheran Theological Conference Co-Signers:

- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guinea Conokry, President Mamadoune Félíx
- The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Burkina Faso
- Lutheran Communities Church of Congo, Rev. Dr. Dongo Lussambu
- Antananarivo Synod of the Malagasy Lutheran Church, Rev. Dr. David Rakotonirina, Bishop
- The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Liberia, President Amos Bolay
- The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Congo, President Joseph Mavongou
- The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ivory Coast, President Tade Désiré
- Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church Sierra Leone, President Alex Lansana
- Lutheran Church Mission in Uganda, President Charles Bameka
- Lutheran Church of Togo
- Lutheran Church of East Africa, Bishop-elect Jesse Angowi

International Lutheran Council Members (

- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina (Iglesia Evangélica Luterana Argentina)
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in Belgium (Evangelisch-Lutherse Kerk in België)
- Christian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bolivia (Iglesia Cristiana Evangélica Luterana de Bolivia)
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil (Igreja Evangélica Luterana do Brasil)
- Lutheran Church—Canada
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Republic of Chile (Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de la República de Chile)
- Lutheran Church—Hong Kong Synod (香港路德會)
- China Evangelical Lutheran Church (中華福音道路德會)
- Evangelical Lutheran Free Church of Denmark (Den evangelisk-lutherske Frikirke i Danmark)
- Evangelical Lutheran Church—Synod of France and Belgium (Église Évangélique - - Luthérienne - Synode de France et de Belgique)
- Independent Evangelical—Lutheran Church (Selbständige Evangelisch - Lutherische Kirche)
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana
- Lutheran Church of Guatemala (Consejo Luterano Iglesia Luterana en Guatemala)
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (Eglise Evangelique Lutherienne D'Haiti)
- India Evangelical Lutheran Church
- Japan Lutheran Church (日本ルーテル教団)
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya
- Lutheran Church in Korea (기독교한국루터회)
- Lutheran Synod of Mexico (Sinodo Luterano de Mexico)
- Lutheran Church of Nigeria
- Gutnius Lutheran Church
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Paraguay (Iglesia Evangélica Luterana del Paraguay)
- Lutheran Church in the Philippines
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Portugal
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia (Евангелическая-лютеранская Церковь ИНГРИИ)
- Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod in South Africa
- Lutheran Church in Southern Africa
- Lanka Lutheran Church
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of England
- Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
- American Association of Lutheran Churches
- Lutheran Church of Venezuela (Iglesia Luterana de Venezuela)
- Lutheran Church of Australia
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in Peru (LWF recognized congregation)

- Posted by Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, Director of Church Relations, from Accra, Ghana.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, February 14, 2013

African Theological Conference in Accra Ghana

February 12-15, 2013, an African Lutheran Theological Conference will be jointly sponsored by the Church Relations Office of President of the LCMS, the LCMS Office of International Mission, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana and Luther Academy. We anticipate representation from English and French speaking Lutheran Churches from all across Africa.

Approximately 60 people from 15 countries attended the conference, including Nigeria, Togo, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Benin, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, and the United States.

The purpose of the conference is to deepen the understanding of confessional Lutheran doctrine and practice and to strengthen relationships between churches that are committed to confessional Lutheranism. Influences from liberal European theology, American "Evangelicalism-Pentecostalism" and indigenous movements continue to challenge the "emerging" Lutheran churches who are struggling to establish and maintain authentic Lutheranism.

The theme of the conference will be "The Third Article of the Creed: The Holy Spirit." Under the general theme "Lutheranism in the 21 51 Century," this year's conference will address a variety of critical issues facing the Lutheran Church today.

Speakers and Topics

Rev. Dr. Joseph Ochola Omolo, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya, Bishop of Lake Diocese, and Principal of Matongo Seminary

Rev. Gordon Gyampo-Kumi, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ghana: "Challenges facing Lutheran Worship in Africa"

Rev. Dr. Lawrence Rast, President of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA: "Sacramental Tensions in Lutheran History"

Bishop Paul Kofi Fynn of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana graciously hosted the conference at Wisconsin International University in Accra, Ghana.

The Wisconsin International University is among the highest rated private universities in Ghana. Currently, the university has about 3,000 students and has a capacity of about 8,000 students. The University has served as a good host for the conference.

Dr. Collver presented on recent events in Ethiopia and how some of the bishops in Tanzania reacted to the news, followed by an open forum on how the International Lutheran Conference (ILC) could make an impact in Africa.

The Program Committee consisted of the Rev. Dr. Albert Collver Ill, Director of Church Relations--Assistant to the President LCMS and Executive Secretary of the International Lutheran Conference (ILC); Rev. Dr. Paul Kofi Fynn, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana; Dr. Timothy C. J. Quill, Director of Theological Education; Rev. Gordon Kumi, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana; Rev. Daniel McMiller, Dir. of Luther Academy.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Tanzania Trip Segment

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.

We visited the ELVD cathedral and headquarters.

The ELVD Cathedral holds about 2000 people with an average attendance of 900 people per service (1800 per Sunday).

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.)

Bishop Andrew Gulle with LCMS Pastor and Missionary Shauen Trump in Mwanza, Tanzania,waiting for the ferry across Lake Victoria. Pastor Trump is the only Swahili speaking LCMS missionary.

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.

The cathedral of the SELVD is being constructed now with the hope that it will be finished in time for the installation of Bishop Makala.

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.

The future headquarters of the SELVD. Not yet completed but hopefully soon.

Dr. Mike Rodewald, Bishop Andrew Gulle, Dr. Albert Collver, and Pastor Shauen Trump at the site of the Old Shinyanga Church, planted by Evangelist Andrew Gulle 20 years ago.

Pastor Shauen Trump receiving a gift at the site of the SELVD Cathedral.

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.

Rainbow over Yerusalemu Lutheran Church on Transfiguration Sunday.

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.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

EECMY Strategic Plan

On 6 February 2013, the EECMY shared its 5-Year Strategic Plan with its mission partners. (The LCMS was invited by the EECMY to attend the Mission Partner Meeting as a guest and observer.)

Currently, the EECMY has approximately 8,000 congregations. Only 2,000 have ordained pastors. The other 6,000 congregations are served by evangelists. The EECMY has a five year goal of having an ordained pastor in every congregation.

Here are the bullet points of the EECMY's strategic plan:

- Share the Gospel with 30 million unreached people. (Although this sounds like a huge ambitious goal, the EECMY has 6 million members. The church figures if every member shares the gospel with one other person once a year for five years they will obtain this goal.)

- Train, equip, and deploy 10,000 missionaries.

- Train 100,000 responsible and faithful Christian witness (lay Bible training)

- Train, educate, and ordain 12,000 pastors so that each congregation has one pastor.

- Train 9,400 evangelists

- Increase the capacity of the 4 regional seminaries and 40 Bible schools.

- Upgrade the Central Seminary in Addis Ababa to PhD level so that it can be a hub for faculty development at the other seminaries and Bible schools.

Although this is an ambitious task, the primary goals and needs of the EECMY is in the area of theological education ... This is an area that the Missouri Synod has both strength and experience. This is why the EECMY has requested assistance in the area of theological education.

Dr. William Schumacher of Concordia Seminary in Saint Louis was a guest lecturer at the Mekane Yesus Central Seminary in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this past week. Next week Dr. Detlev Schultz from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne will be lecturing next week. Dr. Cynthia Lumley will be coming to speak about deaconesses in March.

President Idosa and Dr. Collver.

50 Year Celebration of the Central Seminary.

The Dove of Peace at the Central Seminary.

- Rev Dr Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations, 7 Feb 2013

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Location:Addis Ababa,Ethiopia