2nd Largest Lutheran Church In World Asks LCMS for Pastoral Training Assistance to Help Reach 30 Million People (updated with video)
In our last newsletter (May 2013) I mentioned that our work was changing from work at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Pretoria, South Africa to work in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Many details are becoming more clear and I would like to share some.
The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY – “Mekane Yesus” means “Place of Jesus”) is a church with an estimated 6 million members. It is the 2nd largest Lutheran church in the world, after the Church of Sweden, and growing by leaps and bounds – several 100,000 new members for a number of years in a row.
Historically the church was not planted by LCMS missionaries, but by missionaries from various European Lutheran churches as well as from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. However, the theological position of sanctioning and promoting same-sex marriage of some of its historic partners have caused EECMY to break fellowship, specifically with the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. EECMY contacted the LCMS to invite us to assist them in reaching the goal of training 12,000 more pastors in the next five years, 2013-2018.
The EECMY trains pastors at a number of levels at a number of institutions. There is one central seminary in the capital, Mekane Yesus Seminary (MYS). It has about 600 residential students and many more non-resident students. Some are in pastoral training in the School of Theology, some in musical training in the School of Jazz, and some in leadership training in the College of Leadership and Management. MYS is accredited at the bachelor’s level for theology and for its leadership and management programs. In addition, it has a bachelor’s degree program in Christian-Muslim relations. MYS also has about 1500 students in its TEE pastoral training program in many groups around the country. There is also a newly started distance education program with about 1000 students throughout the country.
LCMS Asked to Assist EECMY in Its Outreach Ministry
Some pundits have suggested that mission work is no longer happening in the LCMS or in other Biblical churches, but this is certainly not the case in Africa. Mission work may be changing from how some Americans sometimes think of mission work, but mission is certainly happening now in the LCMS. Fellow Lutherans around the world who have a high view of Scripture desire mutual encouragement and ministry. Graduate and post-graduate levels of training for pastors and other church workers is highly valued. Some can be trained in our LCMS seminaries in the US, but not all. And why should all be trained in the US? With Africa now having over 20 million Lutheran church members, African Lutherans are saying they need training in their own countries so that they can be leaders in their own churches and around the world. We thank the Lord!
Not all details of our work are clearly known at this point. Visas and work permits must be obtained. Learning about a Lutheran church we have previously had little contact with is very interesting, but also complex. (For example, the LCMS has 2.4 million members, the EECMY has 6 million members. The LCMS has 2 seminaries, the EECMY has six seminaries!) The EECMY does have some doctrinal differences with the LCMS – we are not in pulpit and altar fellowship at this time – but these brothers and sisters in Christ have asked our assistance in training their pastors and church workers, and the Lord Jesus is opening doors.
Please pray for continued resources for LCMS missionaries and professors from both LCMS seminaries (St. Louis and Ft. Wayne) to assist the EECMY. Please pray that the openness, wisdom and foresight of leaders in the synod including President Harrison, other synodical officials, district presidents and LCMS Office of International Missions continue as they have with the power of the Holy Spirit.
In future posts and newsletters, I will give more details as I learn them and understand them better. Keep us in your prayers, that the Lord give us His wisdom, patience and strength. His is a mighty salvation in Christ Jesus, we all are His servants.
Photos from April 2013 Visit to Mekane Yesus Seminary
Our April-May newsletters is available. Download directly here or go to our Newsletter Page. (If you have not signed up for automatic notification of our newsletter, you are invited to sign up on our newsletter page.)
- Deaconess class visits Lutheran Hour Ministry in South Africa and their prison ministry; teach Sunday School and other activities.
- Rockrohrs to start work in Ethiopia.
Thanks for your interest and support!
ALSO, rockrohr.net is now “mobile friendly.” The site automatically detects whether a smart phone (iOS, Android, etc.) is using the site and gives a simplified touch interface. Email us easily from it. Let me know how it works for you! Carl
Deborah and I have great joy to announce the engagement of our daughter, Rebecca Rockrohr, to Mr. Scott Johnson! We just finished Skyping with Becky and Scott and they told us the wonderful news. Scott is a 4th year student at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft Wayne, Indiana. He plans to continue his studies in the Master of Sacred Theology program at the seminary.We have met Scott and know he is a great gift of God to our daughter. The wedding date is yet to be set. God bless you, Becky and Scott!
This issue talks about changes in our family and our preparations for 2013 at the seminary.
1. Good days for Ted as he began boarding high school at Hilton College near Pietermaritzburg about 6 hours drive from Pretoria.
2. Good beginning for the 2013 school year at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Pretoria.
3. Blessings on newlyweds Paul (eldest son) and Stacy (new daughter-in-law) who were married on December 16th.
Thanks for your support! Carl
Hilton College. Hilton is an all boys boarding high school near Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. In South Africa high school is grades 8-12. It was Ted’s initial suggestion to attend Hilton and after investigations we agreed it would be a very good opportunity for him.Ted’s full-time boarding also enables Deborah and Carl to travel for missionary work. Though Hilton is a six hour drive away from Pretoria, we already are finding a good support system. Hilton keeps good communication with parents and we have friends at the local Lutheran church and with other families at Hilton. Hilton’s Christian tradition is Anglican and Ted can occasionally attend worship at Immanuel Lutheran in Pietermarizburg, a congregation which is in fellowship with our church in the U.S., the LCMS, and is also affiliated with our work at Lutheran Theological Seminary
This first two weeks are a “settling in” period and he has no communication with us until January 25th. After that we will see him for a “new parents weekend” February 2-4 and he can email and call us. He has four ten-week quarters which each have a long weekend break, so we expect to see Ted at least every five weeks.Ted is especially looking forward to playing basketball again at Hilton. Photos of his first day at Hilton, January 14th:
We have an “Annual Report” available for download which gives a summary of our 2012 activities in our missionary work and lives in South Africa as well as looking forward to our activities in 2013.
The lead article “Good News: Jesus’ Kingdom Grows” reports on the rapid growth of Christianity in the world, especially in Africa. The article also explains the Biblical teaching and importance of pastoral training.
Deborah’s article “What is a deaconess?” is a resource for this report as well as other documents found here on the newsletter page.
This special newsletter is longer to allow more details than we can give in a shorter monthly newsletter.
Our November Rockrohr News and Notes is now available. http://www.rockrohr.net/about-us/newsletter/
Two other new items are available as well, the November LTS News and the LTS deaconess training brochure. Carl is the editor of LTS News which has numerous articles and photos of seminary activities. The brochure of deaconess training introduces the program which Deborah directs.
LTS Deaconess Training Programme brochure http://www.lts.org.za/deaconess-training-programme/
CORRECTION: Deborah’s radio interview is on OCTOBER 30; AM850 KFUO out of St. Louis at 8:30 am Central Time.
Thank you to Dean Mafereka and the Diosesian leadership for the invitation and warm welcome. The audience presented many interesting questions and responses to the presentations.
Radio Interview with Deborah on OCTOBER 30
Deborah will be interviewed again on KFUO Lutheran Radio (AM850 out of St. Louis) on October 30 at 8:30 am (Central Time). She will be on the His Time Morning Show. The live radio interviews from Pretoria, South Africa will also be streaming (click here) and archived (click here) on the Internet.