During the biennial General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cameroon (EELC) in May 2005, Rev Etienne Fomgbami
was elected as the EELC Vice-President on the second ballot. The EELC Vice-President serves full time and is also the Director of Evangelism for the church. After serving in Canada with his family as the ELCIC’s Good News Partner from June 2000 to August 2003, Etienne was the Evangelism Instructor for two years at the Meng School for Evangelists and Catechists near Tibati, Cameroon. The Fomgbami family is now living in their home town of Ngaoundere where the EELC national office is located. Also at the 2005 General Synod, Rev Dr Thomas Nyiwe
was re-elected as the EELC President for a four-year term. The EELC is one the ELCIC’s eight world mission partner churches. The other overseas Lutheran church partners are in Papua New Guinea, Jordan and the Holy Land, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Guyana.
Mission in the World (MW) Program Coordinator Kelvin Krieger
visited Guyana with Eastern Synod Bishop Michael Pryse
for a week in May 2005. This was Michael’s third trip to Guyana. The Eastern Synod has a companion relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana (ELCG), part of MW’s Companion Synod Program in which each of the five ELCIC Synods is twinned with a world mission partner church. Michael and Kelvin were Advisory Delegates at the ELCG’s 62nd Annual Convention (the origins of the church actually go back to the year 1743), May 1 to 3, which included the dedication service for their new Lutheran Lay Academy. They also spent time with Rev Jack and Valerie Frederick,
Volunteers in Mission (VIM) for a year at the Redeemer and Ascension Lutheran Parishes in Georgetown, Guyana, and helped them prepare for their return to Canada in June 2005. The Fredericks are now living in Pinawa, Manitoba where Jack is the part-time pastor at Pinawa Lutheran Church.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) held two Global Mission Events
(GME) in the summer of 2005 which were both endorsed by the ELCIC. National Bishop Ray Schultz
led “global university” sessions at the Fargo, North Dakota GME in July on the effects of globalization on the people of Chiapas, Mexico. Elvira Sentes
(St John’s, Waterloo, Ontario) shared her six-month VIM experience (Oct/04 to Apr/05) at the McKean Rehabilitation Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand with participants at the Baltimore, Maryland GME in August. “To spend 4 days with like-minded people is truly affirming,” Elvira reported. “I did feel that my message was accepted warmly.”
Rev Alan Eldrid
, President of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELU) of Argentina and Uruguay visited Canada in July 2005. He attended the ELCIC’s National Convention and was one of the guest speakers at the MW Lunch attended by a capacity crowd of 200. (For more on this event and the text of the presention by Carol Krentz
of St Paul’s, Steinbach, Manitoba on her companion church experience in Cameroon, go to http://www.elcic.ca/convention/2005/wmission.html
). Prior to the Convention, Alan travelled to the Saskatchewan Synod which is twinned with IELU in the Companion Synod Program.
Volunteers in Mission Al and Darleen Anderson
had a busy 2005 with the Lutheran Association of Missionaries and Pilots (LAMP) Canada. While serving as the Director of Ministries for LAMP Canada, Al was stationed last summer in Thompson, Manitoba in order to coordinate, visit and support the Vacation Bible Schools (VBS) and other ministry, particularly for Manitoba but also for some in Ontario. He also worked two VBS weeks, one in Oxford House, Manitoba with Darlene (and a team from Messiah, Camrose, Alberta, the Andersons’ home congregation) and the other at Round Lake, Ontario. They had a record number of children and youth in LAMP programs last summer - some 5,700, including the canoeing and soccer training for the older youth. Al returned to Ontario and Manitoba in the fall for follow-up and ministry planning.
As of September 2005, the Canadian Churches Forum for Global Ministries, which conducts ecumenical orientation and re-entry programs for mission personnel, has Lutheran staff for the first time. The ELCIC’s Rev Jonathan Schmidt
and Alice Schuda
, a married couple with two young children, were installed as the Forum’s Co-Directors at a service on November 30, 2005, with Rev Phil Heinz
, Eastern Synod Assistant to the Bishop, presiding. Kelvin Krieger and Rev Nadine Nicholds
(Pastor of Augsburg, Brampton, Ontario), the ELCIC’s representatives on the Forum’s Board of Management, also attended the installation. Alice is an adult educator with seven years of experience living and working in Central America and Mexico and the author of “Sojourning: A Leaders’ Guide for Short Term Mission Travel”. (This guide and other cross-cultural resources can be ordered at www.ccforum.ca
). Jonathan served five years as Campus Chaplain at Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Waterloo and Waterloo Lutheran Seminary and led student groups on many experiential study tours to Central America.
Kelvin Krieger visited Lori Endress
in early September 2005 in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where she has served as an ELCIC Short-term Missionary since January 2002. In October, Kelvin received a letter from Dr Boonthong Poocharoen, President of Payap University, requesting that the ELCIC assign Lori as a Long-term Missionary so that she can continue to assist with the English language needs at Payap’s McGilvary Faculty of Theology and Seminary after her short-term assignment ends in June 2006. MW has now accepted this invitation and the change in Lori’s position from Short-term Missionary to Long-term Missionary will take effect on July 1, 2006. Payap University, founded by the Church of Christ in Thailand in 1974, will provide some financial support and housing for Lori to help make this appointment possible. MW will be contacting each of Lori’s current sponsors to request that they consider a long-term Missionary Sponsorship relationship with her.
Since Long-term Missionary Bonnie Weppler
is in a joint placement with the ELCA in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Kelvin Krieger and Rev Michael Fonner
, an ELCA Regional Missionary, met with Bonnie together in September 2005 for debriefing and discussions of her work with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG (ELC-PNG) Finance and Interchurch Relations Departments. Kelvin, Michael and Bonnie also participated in the annual ELC-PNG Partners Forum where Kelvin presented the Lutheran Overseas Partner Churches’ (LOPC) response to the keynote address on the theme of Worship and Theology in the Life of the Church. In addition to the ELCA and ELCIC, three German Lutheran churches and the Lutheran Church of Australia formed the LOPC in 1998 as an avenue for collaborative work with the ELC-PNG.
ELCIC Long-term Missionary Rev Brian Rude
reported that the work of the Quetzalcoatl Foundation in El Salvador has been shifting this past year from rehabilitation in prisons to prevention in the streets due partly to the reduction in access to prisons. In Quetzalcoatl’s neighbourhood programs, various groups within the community, including youth gangs, are brought together for soccer tournaments, swimming outings, job training and clean-up campaigns. The Quetzacoatl Foundation’s HIV/AIDS and wellness workshops in prisons in El Salvador are supported by Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA) funding and Canadian Lutheran World Relief’s (CLWR) Priority Partnership grant program.
The GHDA/CLWR Priority Partnership grants
, $40,000 in total per year, are recommended to CLWR by MW. In addition to the Quetzalcoatl Foundation, other current projects include the renovations of the Lutheran Lay Academy in Guyana, support for people internally displaced by guerrilla groups in Colombia, Lutheran schools in Jordan and the Holy Land and a fish farm at a Lutheran seminary in PNG. MW itself currently provides $17,000 in annual grants for pastors’ social security benefits in Peru, a Bible school and seminary in Cameroon, partner church programs in PNG and a congregation in Rivera, Uruguay.
(St John’s, Montreal, Quebec) cut short his VIM placement with the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland. Michael was a program assistant at the Center of Mission and Evangelism in Dziegielow, Poland and also worked in Warsaw on English translation of the church’s web site. His assignment began in March 2005 and was expected to continue for one year. In October 2005, Michael left the VIM program but remained in Poland where he is working on a doctorate degree in law.
(Messiah, Camrose, Alberta) completed her year as a Volunteer in Mission with the International Assistance Mission in Central Asia, a joint placement with the World Mission Prayer League Canada, and returned home in November 2005. Leah used her skills as an occupational therapist as the Team Leader for Visual Impairment Services. She is sharing her VIM experience through presentations in Alberta. She will be on the program at the World Mission Festival of the Synod of Alberta and the Territories
, April 29, 2006 at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Red Deer, Alberta.
Rev Paul Johnson
, Assistant to the Bishop for Ecumenical Relations and Mission in the World, made a partner church visit to Argentina in December 2005. He spent time with Pastors Sergio Utz and Gustavo Gomez
in the southern Patagonia region and experienced the important and inspiring ministry in their congregations and communities, including the nutrition programs “Cup of Milk” in Esquel/Cushamen where Sergio serves and “Caring Mothers” in Comodoro Rivadavia where Gustavo serves. MW provides the US$20,000 per year which IELU needs to support Sergio and Gustavo, funds received from ELCIC members and congregations (mostly in the Saskatchewan Synod and some others) for Patagonia Mission Sponsorship
(Evangelical Lutheran Church, Selkirk, Manitoba) returned to Slovakia in January where she is serving with VIM again until June 2006. Her previous VIM assignments in Slovakia were Aug/01 to Jun/03 and Mar/04 to Jun/04. She is an English teacher at the Evanjelicke Lyceum, the Lutheran high school in Bratislava operated by the Slovak Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession. The ELCA provided about half of the funds needed for Erika’s placement in order to fill out their team of volunteer teachers in Slovakia.
Rev Katharine Bergbusch
, ELCIC Long-term Missionary in Peru, will conclude her service with the Peruvian Evangelical Lutheran Church (ILEP) at the end of 2006. It is anticipated that she will make a farewell tour of her sponsoring congregations early in 2007 after she moves back to Canada. Katharine has served in Peru since 1994 mostly in Lima but for the last couple of years she has been working with communities of faith in Iquitos and nearby Triunfo in the northern Amazon region of the country. ILEP has forwarded a proposal to MW requesting the funds they will require to support a Peruvian pastor to continue the mission in the Iquitos area after Katharine’s departure. ILEP is also preparing a formal request for the ELCIC to send a new Long-term Missionary, probably to be based in Lima and work in congregational and music ministry. MW intends to respond positively to both of these requests to Rev Pedro Bullon Moreano who was just elected on February 26 as the ILEP President for a three-year term.
Sent by God's Grace, the 2006 ELCA Global Mission Event
(GME) on the University of Massachusetts campus at Amherst, Massachusetts, July 27-30, is endorsed by the ELCIC. Nadine Nicholds is serving on the Amherst GME committee and looking after publicity in the Eastern Synod. Rev Gary Nickel
(Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta) who has helped MW plan GMEs for many years is facilitating distribution of registration brochures to the four western ELCIC Synods. Canadian missionaries are invited to present “global university” workshops at this event and international church leaders will be amongst the over one thousand participants. There are special children's and youth programs so the GME would be an exciting part of a family vacation in the Boston area. For more information, a bulletin insert master and online registration go to www.elca.org/gme
or call 1-800-638-3522 extension 2642 or 2645.
Three ELCIC missionaries will be on home leave this year, namely Bonnie Weppler (April-July), Lori Endress (June-July) and Brian Rude (July-August). They will participate in church events and visit sponsoring congregations. Funds provided by ELCIC members and congregations for Missionary Sponsorship and MW Directed Giving
cover almost all the direct costs for ELCIC Long-term and Short-term Missionaries. Funds required by Volunteers in Mission are raised by their local VIM Support Group. For an updated list of VIM Opportunities
and other MW inquiries, contact Kelvin Krieger:
Ph 204.984.9164, Toll free 1.888.786.6707 ext 164
, Web www.elcic.ca/mission/world
ELCIC Mission in the World, 302 – 393 Portage Ave, Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6