ELCA companions in South Africa
Who are the ELCA companions in South Africa?
Who is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa and what are its ministries?
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (ELCSA)
, a member of the Lutheran World Federation
(LWF), represents a union of several regional Lutheran churches. The ELCSA has a membership of about 700,000. Seven bishops lead the church’s seven dioceses in South Africa, Botswana, and Swaziland. The ELCSA is also a member of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and the LWF's Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA).
The ELCSA is involved in mission, education and development activities throughout its seven dioceses in cooperation with the Lutheran World Federation and other partners. ELCSA congregations in both rural and urban areas have active youth organizations and strong women’s and men’s leagues. The ELCSA also ministers in various community outreach programs including soup kitchens and home-based care groups for those infected and affected by HIV & AIDS. Pastors receive training at the Lutheran Theological Institute associated with the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg. The ELCSA is also involved in ongoing unity discussions with two predominantly white Lutheran churches.Who is the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa and what are its ministries?
is the LWF communion of Lutheran churches in Southern Africa, comprising 18 autonomous member churches that are found in 10 countries: Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Angola, Namibia, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Mozambique. It is one of the three Lutheran World Federation’s (LWF) sub-regional expressions in Africa.
Pipes lead the water to dug ditches, irrigating fields. The communities have suffered from drought conditions in recent years; only the irrigation system is allowing them to farm the crops.
As a communion, LUCSA's mission is to equip member churches for effective and holistic mission and prophetic diaconia through capacity building, advocacy, care and support, and sustainable development. Its goal is to build the capacity of member churches for effective leadership at all levels, networking, mission, evangelism and stewardship, HIV and AIDS interventions, advocacy, care and support (diaconia), sustainable development.
The LUCSA Information Hut Project seeks to create an HIV & AIDS free generation by combining education and computer training. The Justice and Reconciliation fund seeks to support community-based programs or projects intended to address social and economic justice and human rights issues. LUCSA AIDS Action Program (LAAP), which take place in many countries, address HIV/AIDS prevention, care for the sick, provide training for volunteers caring for families with sick relatives, and care for those affected by having sick relatives, such as orphans and children.How do the companions accompany one another in ministry?
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 relationships with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Africa (ELCSA) and the Lutheran Communion in South Africa (LUCSA). These relationships are deepened and extended by the ELCSA's relationships, through the ELCA Companions Synods program, with the following ELCA synods:
- Metropolitan Chicago
- Southwestern Minnesota
- Northeastern Ohio
- East-Central Synod of Wisconsin.
through the ELCA Global Mission unit supports key priorities identified by the ELCSA, including theological education, leadership development, Christian education, HIV & AIDS programs and in-country scholarships as well as the ongoing outreach programs of the dioceses in rural and urban areas. The Young Adults in Global Mission Program
(YAGM) works with ELCSA to place volunteers in a variety of settings. Other ELCA mission personnel serve in South Africa in healthcare, administration, and as country coordinators for the YAGM program.
A garden project
Churchwide funding through the ELCA Global Mission unit supports key priorities identified by LUCSA by providing funding and personnel. LUCSA plays a key role on behalf of its member churches and overseas partner churches in promoting and coordinating effective, holistic mission and prophetic diaconia in the region through leadership training, mentoring, South-South leadership exchange, capacity building, advocacy, HIV & AIDS, TB and Malaria education, care and support programs, and sustainable development.
In South Africa, the ELCA works with 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 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.
In South Africa, ELCA funds support LUCSA and the ELCSA Development Service
, an Associate Program of the Lutheran World Federation Department for World Service.South Africa: the context in which the church and Christians serves
South Africa, a member of the Commonwealth (formerly the British Commonwealth), has almost 44 million residents. There are eleven official languages including Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu. 68% are Christian, 3% are Muslim, 1.5% are Hindu, and 28.5% practice indigenous beliefs and animism.
The population is comprised of a number of ethnic groups: black (75%) white (14%) colored (9%) and Indian (2%). Despite its remarkable progress in recent years, South Africa remains a deeply divided nation. Despite the growth of the black middle class, the distribution of wealth still reflects the racial divisions of the old apartheid order—whiles in affluence, blacks in poverty. Making meaningful changes in the distribution of wealth in the country is a key challenge. Rising crime and the HIV/AIDS pandemic have complicated the immense task of post-apartheid transformation.
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