Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church
Who is the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church and what are its ministries?
Women at a leadership meeting in Taveta, Kenya
The Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church (KELC)
, a member of the Lutheran World Federation
, has 100,000 members. It has eight multi-point parishes and five mission areas served by 15 Kenyan pastors and a number of trained evangelists and parish workers.
The KELC stresses leadership development of new pastors and evangelists, lay people, and sends its general secretaries and treasurers to courses on church administration and financial management in Nairobi.
Women’s groups and youth programs are flourishing; the Women of the KELC have built their own “houses” for seminars and income-generating projects, and sponsor Pangani Children’s Center, a program for more than 80 street girls in Nairobi and their families. In Mombasa, women run a small restaurant which provides jobs and income for women. In Kongowea, a well-drilling project provides water to hundreds of people in the neighborhood. KELC women and Swedish women designed and built the Ukambani Women’s Center, a house-sized retreat center for KELC women.
The KELC youth department designs leadership programs and trains youths on family skills that assist in the prevention of HIV/AIDS. Youth also participate in sports activities such as volleyball, basket ball, and table tennis among others. The National Youth Committee implements and coordinates youth programs and activities, and the KELC conducts a youth rally every two years.
The HIV and AIDS department coordinates and implements national activities, trainings and create awareness programs for the pastors, women, and youth.How do the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America accompany one another in ministry?
A Maasai baptism in Kenya
Through the churchwide ELCA Global Mission unit, the ELCA relates to and is in bilateral relationship with over 80 companion churches and institutions. The ELCA Global Mission unit stewards a church-to-church relationship with the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church. This relationship is deepened and extended by the ELCM’s relationship, through the ELCA Companion Synods program, with the Allegheny Synod.Churchwide funding
through the ELCA Global Mission unit supports the work of the KELC with grants and in-country scholarships.
Global Mission also supports outreach programs dealing with health education, women’s issues, and street children, as well as in high school teaching. Together, the Women of the KELC and the Women of the ELCA completed the well-drilling project in Kongowea now providing safe drinking water to many people. The Pangani Lutheran Children’s Center, the KELC’s ministry for young women, receives some financial support from the ELCA, including support for a water pump and a new center for the girls outside of Nairobi. One ELCA mission personnel serves as a health consultant in Kenya.
In Kenya, the ELCA also funds signifcant work through the Lutheran World Federation (LWF)
, a global communion of 140 churches (including the ELCA) and 68 million people that is grounded in a common Lutheran faith. The LWF provides space for Lutherans from around the world to share joys, challenges and expertise as they seek the healing of the world. ELCA World Hunger
funds help to support the Department for World Service (DWS), the LWF's relief and development arm, and the Department for Mission and Development (DMD), which focuses on holistic ministries through which the church participates in God's mission to all creation.
ELCA World Hunger funds support the LWF Department for World Service program in Kenya
which works with the Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya.
The ELCA also works in Kenya through Lutheran World Relief (LWR). A ministry of the ELCA, LWR is a U.S.-based agency that works with community-based partners in 50 countries. ELCA World Hunger funds help support the work that focuses on:
- Using churches and peer groups to educate communities about HIV/AIDS, and train community members in caring for the infected and affected, especially orphans and vulnerable children;
- Supporting agricultural endeavors by training farmers in techniques to give food longer shelf life, providing access to markets, and training people living with HIV/AIDS to grown food, thereby increasing health and nutrition;
- Supporting community-initiated agricultural endeavors such as silk production by facilitating market studies and micro-loans.
- Training community members to combat the stigmas associated with HIV/AIDS and to lobby for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.
- Supporting food for assets programs which supply food rations to those who work to help build community assets that further disaster preparedness efforts such as environmental conservation.
In addition, the ELCA works through Church World Service (CWS) in Kenya. Supported by 36 denominations, including the ELCA, CWS is a U.S.-based ecumenical organization that works with partners to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote peace and justice around the world.
Kenya: The context in which the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church serves
The Pangani Lutheran Children's Center in Nairobi, Kenya
Kenya is a republic and gained its independence from the United Kingdom on December 12, 1963. Kenya, especially Nairobi, is the commercial center of East Africa, with about 36.9 million residents. Both English and Swahili are official languages, while numerous indigenous languages are spoken as well. About 80 percent of the population is Christian, 10 percent is Muslim, and 10 percent follow indigenous beliefs.
After four decades of independence, Kenya has a relatively large middle class, but about fifty percent live of Kenyans live in poverty. The richest 10% of the population own an estimated 40% of the wealth.
Kenya’s social structure has been burdened by the influx of refugees from the neighboring states of Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan. Also, more than half of all Kenyans are younger than 15 years old. Pressure on arable land is enormous. Creating employment for the number of agrarian workers relocated to urban settings is difficult.
For up-to-date information on Kenya, type “Kenya” into an online search engine or visit: