Evangelical Lutheran Church of Zimbabwe
Who is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Zimbabwe and what are its ministries?
ELCZ departments meet on crisis with international partners
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ)
, a member of the Lutheran World Federation
(LWF), is made up of 150,000 members and growing. It is organized into three dioceses, East, West, and Central, and is located primarily in the southern agricultural regions of the country. As its members migrate to urban areas, the church is moving with them. It is also a member of the LWF's regional expression, the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA).
The ELCZ operates four hospitals, four secondary schools, and two Bible schools. Pastors are trained at the ecumenical United Theological College in the capital city, Harare. The ELCZ's trained leaders also serve in the Department of Theology, Classics and Philosophy at the University of Zimbabwe. The ELCZ has developed a Lutheran House of Studies in conjunction with the University.
Mnene nursing students
The ELCZ is involved in mission outreach in many communities, and there are requests for evangelical outreach beyond Zimbabwe. Pastors serve multiple congregations, sometimes as many as a dozen or more. The ELCZ is training many new pastors to meet the growing church's needs. The ELCZ also has a large number of evangelists, trained at the two ELCZ Bible schools. Teachers, elders, and other lay workers carry on extensive ministries in the church. To encourage women's ministries, the volunteer organization Vashandiri offers courses which enable women, especially those with little formal education, to develop their talents and learn new skills.
The ELCZ has a strong Lutheran Development Service organization which has grown out of the long-term relief and development work of the Lutheran World Federation World Service. The LDS works with local communities to promote integrated rural development. Parts of Zimbabwe are subject to serious droughts, occasional flooding and epidemics of cholera, especially in the south where much of the ELCZ is located. How do the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Zimbabwe and the ELCA accompany one another in ministry?
The ELCZ's Betserani Home serves AIDS orphans and those who are HIV positive
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 Evangelical Lutheran Church of Zimbabwe. This relationship is deepened by the ELCZ's relationship, through the ELCA Companion Synods Program, with the ELCA Upstate New York Synod.Churchwide funding
through the ELCA Global Mission unit supports key priorities identified by the ELCZ, including leadership development and training, scholarships for post-graduate studies, HIV & AIDS projects such as ELCZ Betseranai Community-based care organization, and nurse training and other projects linked to the four church-run hospitals. During the political crisis taking place during the winter of 2008-2009, the ELCA has provided over a million dollars to buy seed, fertilizer, immediate food aid and to purchase food and pharmaceuticals for the four Lutheran hospitals and to retain the staff necessary to keep them open.Zimbabwe: the context in which the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Zimbabwe serves
Garden project in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe, located in Southern Africa between South Africa and Zambia, has over 12 million residents. Once known for its plentiful agriculture, the country has fallen into devastating political and economic crisis worsened by elections in 2008. President Mugabe and the ZANU-PF party have dominated Zimbabwean politics since it gained independence from Britain in 1980. Land confiscation, mismanagement and political strife have sparked the worst food and economic crisis in recent history. The press is controlled almost entirely by the government, and growing discontent over economic problems and repression have led to oppressive measures against supporters of the opposition who are being driven underground. Rampant inflation of over 200 million percent, shortages of food and fuel, and political policies designed more to keep President Mugabe in power than to forward the interests of Zimbabweans are of concern.
English is the official language, while residents also speak Shona, Sidebele, and numerous tribal languages. The country is 98% native-African groups (Shona 82%, Ndebele 14%, other 2%) with a small white and Asian population. Zimbabwe's religious beliefs are: syncretic (part Christian, part indigenous beliefs 50%) Christian (25%), indigenous beliefs (24%) and Muslim and other (1%).
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