ELCA NEWS SERVICE
May 2, 2012
D. Jensen Seyenkulo elected bishop of Lutheran Church in Liberia
CHICAGO (ELCA) - The Rev. D. Jensen Seyenkulo was elected bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia. Elected April 28 on the first ballot at the denomination's 14th biannual convention, Seyenkulo is a program director at the churchwide ministries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
"This is a great honor for me, and I am humbled by this election," Seyenkulo said in a May 1 interview. "I have dreamt that I would be able to return home and make a contribution to the Lutheran Church in Liberia, which has done a lot to make me what I am today. I am thrilled and absolutely flattered by the trust of the people, and I think it is by God's will that I have been called to this position."
Seyenkulo said he plans to make the central office of the Lutheran Church in Liberia financially self-sustaining and to strengthen unity among members of the church.
"These are two of my biggest priorities," he said, adding that within the next five to six years he hopes to make the central office self-sufficient by "returning to the soil. The church owns a lot of land surrounding the office, which can be used to plant vegetables and other cash crops. I am absolutely convinced that we can achieve our sustainability by returning to the soil."
The Lutheran Church in Liberia is more than 150 years old, said Seyenkulo, and still "we cannot operate a central church office without help from partners around the world."
The ELCA and the Lutheran Church in Liberia are members of The Lutheran World Federation. The ELCA is the federation's only member from the United States.
Seyenkulo was born in Kenata, Liberia. In 1982, he earned a bachelor's degree in theology from Gbarnga School of Theology there.
The ELCA awarded Seyenkulo scholarships to support his studies in the United States. He received a Master of Theology degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. As a scholarship recipient of the ELCA International Leadership Development Program, Seyenkulo earned a doctorate in biblical studies from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Seyenkulo earned a second Master of Theology degree from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Luther and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago are two of eight ELCA seminaries.
In 2007, Seyenkulo cofounded the U.S.-based Kuwaa Mission Project, a well-digging and sanitation project in Liberia. He continues to serve as CEO of the project.
Seyenkulo was pastor for two ELCA congregations in Chicago, and was an adjunct professor at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He also was a "missionary in residence," working to create awareness about Liberia among U.S. citizens.
At ELCA churchwide ministries, Seyenkulo is program director for disability ministries and support for rostered leadership.
Seyenkulo and his wife, the Rev. Linda Johnson Seyenkulo, have three teenage children.
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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with 4.2 million members in 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.
For information contact:
Melissa Ramirez Cooper
773-380-2956 or Melissa.RamirezCooper@ELCA.org
Living Lutheran: http://www.livinglutheran.com