Malagasy Lutheran Church
Who is the Malagasy Lutheran Church and what are its ministries?
A church in Madagascar
Mothers and children at the food aid and nutrition center in Manakara
The Malagasy Lutheran Church (Fiangonana Loterana Malagasy, FLM)
, a member of the Lutheran World Federation
, was established as an independent church in 1950, with 1800 congregations and 180,000 members. Currently, the church has a membership of 3 million, which makes it one of the largest Lutheran churches in the world. The Malagasy Lutheran Church places a high priority on evangelism, social ministry, and leadership development.
The Malagasy Lutheran Church maintains a large health care program, including nine hospitals and thirteen dispensaries. Community- based primary health care is foundational, and special projects include a school of nursing, child survival, family planning, and AIDS prevention.
The Malagasy Lutheran Church also ministers to the spiritual and physical care of people who suffer from physical illness, mental illness, or demonic oppression. Through an indigenous revival movement, selected church members receive training as "shepherds," giving them skills for special ministries with the sick. Some villages are set aside to provide compassionate Christian care as well as instruction in the Christian faith.
The church trains leaders at its schools and in its seminary in Fianarantsoa. This long-standing seminary still uses its century-old main building. In addition to the Fianarantsoa seminary, there is a network of regional seminaries and Bible schools actively developing church leaders. They send missionaries to support the work of other church bodies. Several Malagasy doctors and theological professors have served and are serving in Cameroon and Papua New Guinea.How do the Malagasy Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America accompany one another in ministry?
A school in Madagascar
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 Malagasy Lutheran Church. This relationship is deepened and extended by the relationship, through the ELCA Companion Synods program, between these FLM dioceses and ELCA synods:
- FLM Betioky-Atsimo Synod and ELCA West Virginia-Maryland Synods
- FLM Boeny Mahajanga/Antsiranana/Avaratra Antsiranana Synods and the ELCA Rocky Mountain Synod
- FLM Tolagnaro/Ambovombe Synods and the ELCA Central/Southern Illinois Synod
- FLM Tulear Synod and the ELCA Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod
through the ELCA Global Mission unit supports key priorities identified by the FLM, including evangelism and outreach program’s education, development, medical and social work. ELCA World Hunger
funds also support Health Care Ministries in Madagadcar. The three ELCA mission personnel based in Madagascar serve in healthcare, administration, and one as a regional representative for East Africa. Madagascar: the context where the Malagasy Lutheran Church serves
The Republic of Madagascar gained its independence from France in 1960.
Over 19.4 million people live in Madagascar, the world’s fourth-largest island, which is located in the Indian Ocean off Southern Africa and east of Mozambique. Official Malagasy languages include English, French and Malagasy. In this multiethnic country, about 52% of the citizens of this multiethnic country practice indigenous/native beliefs, 41% are Christian, and 7% are Muslim.
The economy continues to recover from disruptions experienced during the 2001-2002 presidential election, when both the incumbent president and challenger Marc Ravalomanana declared victory. Following a seven-month power struggle, Ravalomanana was named the winner, and was elected to a second term in 2006. Soil erosion, desertification and water contamination are Madagascar’s primary environmental concerns.
For up-to-date information on Madagascar, type “Madagascar” into an online search engine or visit: