News from Sudan about the Lutheran Church
News from Lutheran Heritage Foundation: Dear Friends, Supporters and Servants in the Sudan Mission,
In the midst of a lot of upheaval in America regarding a mosque for New York and a burning of the Koran ceremony in Florida, I am pleased to announce more pleasant news that in its body has the purpose of reaching souls for Christ in the prominent Muslim country of Sudan. After three years of intensive training by a revolving faculty from the U.S., Finland, Kenya and Tanzania, 13 students will be graduating from the Concordia Lutheran Institute for the Holy Ministry in Yambio, Sudan. The graduation ceremonies will take place on Friday, October 8th with the Rev. Dr. Bernie Lutz serving as the speaker. Students will receive a DIPLOMA OF EXCELLENCE issued by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sudan and the Lutheran Heritage Foundation, which has guided the work of the church and seminary since its inception 17 years ago when the headquarters of the church was in Khartoum.
The celebrations will continue on Sunday, October 10th when 15 men will be ordained. This includes two men who trained at the Seminary in Matongo, Kenya. One candidate who is already serving in Finland will be ordained at a later date. The Rev. Robert L. Rahn will serve as the preacher for the service and the ordination rite will be administered by the Rev. Japhet Dachi, Principal, the Rev. Edward Nzeme, ELCS Interim Bishop/Secretary and the Rev. Nicholas Kumbo, Dean of Students. Also participating in the service will be Dr. Reijo Arkkila, Finland, the Rev. Dr. Bernie Lutz, Crane Lake, MN and clergy of the ELCS.
The ordination event will include, besides the rite itself,
The presentation of a Diploma of Excellence
The presentation and bestowal of a clergy stole
The presentation and bestowal of a pectoral cross
The presentation of individual communion sets
The presentation of baptismal napkins
The presentation of baptismal crosses for parish use
The presentation & bestowal of any local gifts
Prior to the event the students will be provided with a clergy robe, clergy shirt and black socks.
While these will be days of great joy and celebration, there will also be days of challenge ahead as these men get settled into the every day schedules connected with their ministries in the congregations. There will be the continued need to provide financial support as they serve in those ministries. During their seminary training the LHF has provided a monthly stipend for each seminarian for their families back home. The LHF has underwritten the room and board costs while the students attended the seminary and bore the major costs connected with those who traveled to make up the rotating faculty. This will be a time when the pastors will be encouraged to provide for stewardship training at the various locations so that congregations can become self sustaining. This matter will be discussed at some point during the events leading up to the graduation and ordination festivities.
A new class is not anticipated to start until January, 2012. During 2011, if the support is provided, the LHF will sponsor a series of at least three seminars geared for all church workers and leaders. Each of these seminars will be conducted in at least three regions of the country in order to reduce travel costs for the participants. Some of the faculty who served during the past three years will return to be leaders for these gatherings. The Rev. James Fandrey, LHF Executive Director, indicated that the goal is to coordinate the seminar topics with some of the books and materials being translated and published by LHF in 2011. It is anticipated that these seminars will be on a three day schedule at each location.
Another major event will occur in 2011 and that is the organizing of a church convention which will have as its primary purpose the adopting of a constitution and the selection of new leadership for the church after the sudden death of Bishop Andrew Mbugo Elisa. This will be a major expense for the ELCS to bring congregational representatives together in one location. This will also continue the effort by the ELCS to seek fellowship with the LCMS.
If you or your congregation is inclined to support what we consider a very ambitious 2011 program in light of current economies; you are encouraged to send your gifts to LHF with a Sudan designation. Above all, we ask that you include these events in your daily and congregational prayers. We are pleased that the overall consensus from the faculty is that these students have shown a tremendous growth in understanding Lutheran doctrine and that they are prepared to receive their Calls. May the Lord of the Church bless their service to Him and may their service result in the continued growth of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sudan.
To God alone be the glory.
Dr. Robert L. Rahn
LHF Founder/ Seminary Program Coordinator