Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia

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Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia
Luthseal.gif
Symbol of Lutheranism
Classification Protestant
Orientation Lutheran
Leader Rev. Dr. Shekutaamba Vaino Vaino Nambala
Associations LWF
Region Namibia
Headquarters Oniipa
Origin 1954
Engela
Branched from Evangelical Lutheran Ovambo-Kavango Church
Congregations 123
Members 703,893
Ministers 143
Secondary schools 2
Official website http://www.elcin.org.na/

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) is a Lutheran denomination based in Namibia. It has a total membership of over 703,893,[1] mainly in Northern Namibia. Formerly known as the Evangelical Lutheran Ovambo-Kavango Church, it played a significant role in opposition to Apartheid in Namibia and was part of the Namibian independence struggle.[2]

Other Lutheran churches in Namibia are the southern based Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia and the German-speaking Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (GELK).

The current presiding bishop is Dr. Shekutaamba V. V. Nambala.

History[edit]

The church developed out of the work of the Finnish Missionary Society that began in 1870 among the Ovambo and Kavango people in the northern area of what became German South-West Africa. In 1954, an independent church known as the Evangelical Lutheran Ovambo-Kavango Church (ELOC) was established with Birger Eriksson as its first president.[3]

The first Namibian bishop of ELOC, Leonard Auala, played a notable role in the struggle for Namibia's independence. 1971 an open letter was jointly written with Moderator Paulus Gowaseb of the Rhenish Mission's United Evangelical Lutheran Church in South-West Africa (later known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia) to the Prime Minister of South Africa, B.J. Vorster declared their church's opposition to the continued rule of South Africa and the acceptance of the recommendation by the International Court of Justice for the withdrawal of South Africa's mandate and a transition period towards independence.[4]

In 1984, ELOC's name was officially changed to its current name, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia.[2]

Auala's successor, Kleopas Dumeni, also played an important role in highlighting the plight of Namibians under South African rule.[5] Bishop Dumeni suffered personal losses in the struggle including the death of his 18-year-old daughter in a bomb blast in 1988.[6]

In 2007, ELCIN together with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia and the German-speaking Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (GELK) formed the United Church Council: Namibia Evangelical Lutheran Churches, with the ultimate aim of becoming one national Lutheran church.[2]

Structure[edit]

In 1992, the church was divided into two dioceses, the Eastern Diocese and the Western Diocese, each led by its own bishop. One of the bishops is elected as the Presiding Bishop of the whole ELCIN.

Presidents, Bishops and Presiding Bishops[edit]

From Until Name Notes
1954 1958 Birger Eriksson Moderator of ELOC[7]
1958 1960 Alpo Hukka Moderator of ELOC[7]
1960 1963 Leonard Auala Moderator of ELOC[7]
1963 1978 Bishop of ELOC
1978 1984 Kleopas Dumeni Bishop of ELOC
1984 1996 Bishop of ELCIN
1996 2000 Presiding Bishop of ELCIN
2000 2004 Apollos Kaulinge Presiding Bishop of ELCIN, Consecrated Bishop of the Western Diocese in 1996
2004 2012 Tomas Shivute Presiding Bishop of ELCIN, Consecrated Bishop of the Western Diocese in 2000
2012 present Shekutaamba Vaino Vaino Nambala Presiding Bishop of ELCIN, Consecrated Bishop of the Western Diocese in 2012

Affiliations[edit]

ELCIN participates actively in ecumenical work through its affiliation with:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lutheran World Federation: LWF Statistics 2010
  2. ^ a b c Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia World Council of Churches, January 2006
  3. ^ "1952-1954". Chronology of Namibian History. Namibia Library of Dr. Klaus Dierks. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  4. ^ Dugard, John (1973). "The South West Africa/Namibia Dispute: Documents and Scholarly Writings on the Controversy Between South Africa and The United Nations". Perspectives on Southern Africa (University of California Press) (9). 
  5. ^ "Bishop Kleopas Dumeni: 'Namibian blacks worse off than those South Africa'". The Afro-American. 4 April 1987. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "Dumeni's Daughter Among Dozens Killed in Namibia Bomb Blast". Dateline: Namibia (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). 1988. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c Peltola, Matti (1958). Sata vuotta suomalaista lähetystyötä 1859–1959. II: Suomen Lähetysseuran Afrikan työn historia. [A hundred years of Finnish missionary work 1859–1959. II: The history of the Finnish Missionary Society in Africa]. Helsinki: Suomen Lähetysseura (The Finnish Missionary Society). p. 242–243. 

External links[edit]