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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wittenberg Meeting

On Wednesday, 29 January 2014, the International Lutheran Society of Wittenberg (ILSW) met in Wittenberg, Germany, to discuss the ongoing reconstruction of the Old Latin School. The LCMS Office of International Mission (OIM) area facilitators also were able to join the ILSW for a tour of the construction site.

LCMS President Matthew Harrison, SELK Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt, and the Oberbürgermeister of Wittenberg Eckhard Naumann discuss the reconstruction of the Old Latin School.

Pastor Michael Kumm, chairman of the ILSW, conducts the meeting. Bruce Kintz, President and CEO of CPH, Rev. Dr. Lawrence Rast, President of Concordia Theological Seminary and Chairman of the CTCR, and Mr. David Rohe, executive director of CID CEF, listen to the update on the project.

The reconstruction of the main room which will serve as the chapel in the reconstructed Old Latin School. The main beam has warped approximately 6 inches over 400 plus years.

The Old Latin School being reconstructed next to St Mary's church in Wittenberg.

- Posted by Dr Albert B Collver on 29 January 2014 using BlogPress from my iPhone


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ethiopia Last Day

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Today, President Harrison put on his World Relief and Human Care uniform and visited a center for mentally disabled children in Mekanissa. The total number of children assisted is 372.

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Prior to the center's founding in 1986, mentally disabled children were hidden away in dark rooms -- their very existence was denied. The German Lutheran theologian Oswald Bayer said that to be justified is to be recognized. In some cases, the recognition of people, in this case, the human care for the children brings them into contact with the church so they can hear the Gospel.

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A variety of techniques are used to train the children in life skills. The boy above is being taught in a Montessori way.

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A boy learning how to tie his shoes.

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A young man learning how to make coffee.

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Some at the center learn marketable life skills. The children above are baking communion hosts for the church.

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President Harrison greets a diary cow who has an infected foot. The center for disabled children receives its milk from diary cows kept on the facility.

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Posted around the facility is Proverbs 31:8, "Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute."

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The facility keeps incredibly good records.

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We said goodbye the children, deeply moved and impressed by the care they receive. 

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Before we left we visited the library to see a 19th century Ge'ez document which sought to reform the Ethiopian Orthodox Church by teaching on the Sacraments and justification. The Mekane Yesus Seminary (MYS) has the Ge'ez and Amharic versions in their library.

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There are plans to produce a triglotta version in Ge'ez, Amharic, and English.

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President Harrison with Mihreteab, the librarian at MYS, examining the Ge'ez manuscript.

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Exchanged gifts...

We look forward to visiting Ethiopia again.

- Posted by Dr Albert Collver on 27 January 2014 using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Africa Trip: Ethiopia Sunday

Today we visited the Addia Ababa Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, more commonly known as the Mother Church.

The pastor was vested and conducted the liturgy in Amharic. The liturgy is based off of the Lutheran Swedish liturgy.

A page from the EECMY hymnal.
It is written in Amharic, which is the second most spoken Semitic language in the world after Arabic.

The choir sang severs songs during the service. Many of the songs were from the period of the Marxist Derg Regime, and had apocalyptic overtones. One song written when the Gospel could not be proclaimed freely described how the gospel would go out into the world and be victorious by bringing about the Lord's kingdom. Another song said, "We are in the desert, but The Lord will remember his promise and drown our enemies like Pharaoh and his army."

The church was full. A number of expats from America and Scandinavia attended the service.

After the service, church and congregation leaders gathered with us and other visitors for a photograph.

After lunch, we visited the Entoto Maryam Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

- Posted by Dr. Albert Collver on 26 January 2014 using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Addis Ababa,Ethiopia

Friday, January 24, 2014

Africa: Ethiopia Day 2

Today, the LCMS Delegation, consisting of President Mathew Harrison, Dr Collver, Dr. Carl Rockrohr, and Dr. Debbie Rockrohr, met with EECMY leaders at the Mekane Yesus Seminary and at the EECMY headquarters.

At the Mekane Yesus Seminary,
President Harrison presented to faculty, students, and church leaders on Lutheran identity. The presentation was followed by a Q & A session moderated by Dr. Carl Rockrohr.

After the presentation on Lutheran Identity, President Harrison played the banjo. Mekane Yesus Seminary has a music school on campus. After finishing playing, the banjo found its way into the capable hands of the director of the music school.

Over lunch Dr. Berhanu, the EECMY General Secretary, described the church's persecution under the Marxist Derg Regime (1974-1991), including his own imprisonment. Dr. Berhanu closed by saying, "The Lord always works a blessing through persecution. Through persecution, The Lord purifies his Church."

In a presentation about the EECMY, we learned that the first Lutheran, Peter Heyling, arrived in Ethiopia in 1633 AD. He worked in Gonder between 1634-1652. He practiced medicine and taught Greek and Hebrew to the Ethiopian Orthodox Priests at Gonder. He tried to reform the Ethiopian church by teaching sola Scriptura and by translating the New Testament into Amharic, the vernacular of the ruling class. In 1648, Heyling fell out of favor and was forced to leave Ethiopia. On his return to Germany, he was captured by the Turks and offered the choice of conversion to Islam or death. Peter Heyling chose death rather than to deny Christ, becoming a martyr at the age of 44. Traces of his work remain an influence in the EECMY today.

At the end of the day, both President Wakseyoum of the EECMY and LCMS President Matthew Harrison offered reflections about the day. President Harrison commended the Mekane Yesus church for desiring to remain faithful to the Holy Scriptures and for taking difficult stands on Biblical teaching that were unpopular with her partners. In particular, President Harrison commended the EECMY for breaking fellowship with the ELCA and the CoS over their position of affirming homosexual marriage and clergy. President Harrison also discussed frankly where he believed the EECMY and the LCMS had differences in doctrine and practice. President Wakseyoum thanked President Harrison for his honesty. While holding his Bible in hand, President Wakseyoum stated the EECMY's and the LCMS's commitment to the Holy Scriptures was the primary reason that the two churches should be talking to one another. He stated that fellowship comes through the working of the Holy Spirit. In the mean time both churches should pray and study the Scriptures.

President Harrison signs the EECMY guest book in Dr. Wakseyoum's office.

- Posted by Dr. Albert Collver on 24 January 2014 using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Addis Ababa,Ethiopia

Africa: Ethiopia Introductions

Yesterday, 23 January 2014, President Harrison arrived in Ethiopia for his first visit there. After a several hour travel delay in Nairobi and an aborted landing attempt, we safely arrived in Addis Ababa. We met with the leaders from the Mekane Yesus Seminary and the EECMY. Pictured above: President Wakseyoum gives President Harrison a copy of the seminary's history.

Dr. Belay, President of MYS gave a presentation on the eecmy and the seminary.

We saw a presentation on the history of the seminary and it's future plans.

President Harrison tried his hand at a traditional Ethiopian instrument.

Today we are scheduled to visit with seminary faculty and students.

Drs. Rockrohr and Collver stand outside the guesthouse. Dr. Carl Rockrohr from the LCMS Office of International Mission serves as the Dean of Theology at Mekane Yesus Seminary (MYS).

- Posted by Dr Albert Collver on 24 January 2014using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Addis Ababa,Ethiopia

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Africa Trip: Kenya

Dr. Al Collver, Archbishop Walter Obare, and President Harrison in Nairobi Kenya.

On 22 January 2014, President Harrison visited the headquarters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya (ELCK), in altar and pulpit fellowship with the LCMS and a member of the International Lutheran Council (ILC), to celebrate a decade of LCMS work with the ELCK. President Harrison, then executive director of World Relief and Human Care, visited Kenya in December 2003 at the request of then Bishop Walter Obare.

Former street children from Nakuru now under the care of the ELCK demonstrated gymnastics for the LCMS delegation.

A choir sings gospel songs.

Archbishop Obare and Rev. Shauen Trump discuss how the LCMS and the ELCK can better cooperate.

View of Children's Traffic park on Uhuru Road from the headquarters of the ELCK.

President Harrison, Dr. Collver, and Rev. Shauen Trump spent the day with Archbishop Obare and the bishops and bishops elect from each region of the ELCK. Remembrance of the past and hope for the future occupied the day.

President Harrison and Dr. Collver departed Kenya for Ethiopia.

- Posted on 23 January 2014 by Dr. Albert Collver using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Oloitoktok Road,Nairobi,Kenya