Peruvian Evangelical Lutheran Church
Who are the ELCA’s companions in Peru?
Who is the Peruvian Evangelical Lutheran Church (ILEP) and what are its ministries?
Family assisted by the Peruvian Evangelical Lutheran Church (ILEP) following the September 2007 Pisco Earthquake
The Peruvian Evangelical Lutheran Church (Iglesia Luterana Evangelica Peruana - ILEP)
, a member of the Lutheran World Federation
, has approximately 1,100 members and is comprised of over a dozen congregations and several mission starts or “faith communities”, as they are called in Perú. ILEP communities are mostly found in and around Lima, Peru’s political and economic capitol, though the ILEP has grown near Trujillo, along Peru’s Northern coast, Iquitos in the Amazon Basin, and Huancayo and Cusco in Central Andes.
The ILEP does not shy away from announcing God´s word and denouncing injustice at the times and places it is needed. ILEP is known for reminding the centers of power that they need to be held responsible for serving the people from whom their power is derived. As a national church body present in the lives of people relegated to society’s margins, the ILEP responds prophetically to the many injustices that impact impoverished, mostly forgotten Peruvians.
Emaús congregation in Lima
Several ILEP congregations provide after-school support and food for children, including Sunday meals before church. At the Emmanual congregation, each day dozens of children receive meals and academic support from members.
While numerically very small, ILEP congregations and leaders have extraordinary gifts. ILEP has developed Sunday school materials and other resources on Lutheran identify that are used throughout the Latin America and Caribbean region. It is a church with a well-trained body of female and male pastors and lay leaders with a strong Lutheran identity.Who is the Huchuy Runa of Cusco and what are its ministries?Huchuy Runa
of Cusco is an independent ministry that works with street children in Cusco. Every day 200 children have access to education and meals, as well as necessary medical and psychological support services. The educational program includes skill development workshops in agriculture, ceramics, painting, carpentry, baking, and other handicrafts, offered in addition to the formal academic curriculum. Huchuy Runa
seeks full participation in society for these kids and their families. How do the companions in Peru and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 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 and stewards relationships with these companions.
The relationship with ILEP is deepened and extended through the ELCA Companion Synods program, with the ELCA Texas Louisiana Gulf Coast and Lacrosse Area synods.
Emanuel congregation Team assists neighborhood kids with meals and homework.
Kids at Huchuy Runa in Cusco participate in a carpentry workshop
through the ELCA Global Mission unit supports key priorities identified by the companions, including (for ILEP), theological education for leaders, strengthening the administrative capacity of its national church office, support for mission outreach, and assistance to congregations seeking to meet the nutritional needs of their members. One ELCA mission personnel serves at the Cristo Rey (Christ the King) congregation in Lima. ELCA funds also support the Huchuy Runa program in Cusco.
The ELCA also funds significant work through the Lutheran World Federation, Lutheran World Relief and Church World Service in Peru.
The Lutheran World Federation is 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 Peru, the LWF relates through an associate program called Diaconia that is operated by local organizations and churches.
The ELCA also works in Peru 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:
- Diversifying and increasing agricultural production
- Protecting and restoring the environment
- Providing water for improved irrigation and livestock management.
In addition, ELCA funds support Church World Service (CWS), which works in Peru. 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.
Perú: The context in which the church serves
Peru gained its independence from Spain in 1821. Of its 28 million inhabitants, 45% are Amerindian, 37% are mixed Amerindian and White, 15% are White, and the other 3% are Black, Japanese, Chinese and other. Spanish and Quechua are the official languages, though Aymara is also widely used in some areas.
The challenges faced by the Administration are enormous. In Peru, coexistent with macroeconomic growth, are yawning inequalities, especially between the absolute poorest and richest. The poorest 10% of the population consume less than 1% of the nation’s wealth, while the richest tenth consumes 37%. According to government statistics, in 2004 51.6% of the population was poor and 19% were extremely poor, which means that resources are not available to permit sufficient caloric intake to support life. In general, women and children disproportionately suffer the effects of poverty in Peru. The poorest of the poor in Peru are boys and girls and female-headed households in rural areas. 46.3% of these women and 32.2% of children under age 18 live in extreme poverty. On average women in rural Peru have been to school a little more than three years and 24% of girls ages six to fourteen do not attend school at all.
For up-to-date information on Peru, type “Peru” into an online search engine or visit: