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Église de Fidèles Confessants Lutheriens au Congo

Lutherans in Congo celebrate ILC membership, open theological training centre

The Church of the Faithful Confessing Lutherans in Congo holds a divine service in Kananga on January 8, 2023.

CONGO – The Church of the Faithful Confessing Lutherans in Congo (Église de Fidèles Confessants Lutheriens au Congo – EFCLCO) held special events on January 8, 2023 to celebrate the church’s recent acceptance into the International Lutheran Council (ILC) as well as the church’s official opening of a theological training centre.

The day began with a Divine Service marking Epiphany, with EFCLCO Bishop Ilunga Kendi Evariste preaching on Matthew 4:18-25. The bishop proclaimed that Christ, the Light of the World, had come to those in the city of Kananga, Congo, though they had long been in darkness and sin. Following the example of the people of Naphtali and Zebulon, the Kanangese have also been invited to praise God for the gift of His Son to the world, he said. That God had given His Son to the world is one thing, Bishop Ilunga noted, but that Kanangese people themselves should receive this gift in faith is another. Motivated by the Holy Spirit at work in the Word, the Kanangese can welcome the light, confessing that even their faith is not their own doing.

The service also saw the baptism of two children by Rev. Serge Bamba Kapita and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, with Bishop Ilunga presiding.

Celebrating the baptism of a child.

On this day, the EFCLCO also announced to members its acceptance into the International Lutheran Council as an observer member. The announcement garnered great applause and celebration. Bishop Ilunga went on to explain to members and visiting church leaders what the ILC stands for and its mission to equip confessional Lutherans across the world to faithfully proclaim the Word of God and the Good News of Jesus Christ.

The day also saw the official opening of the church’s Lutheran Centre of Theological Education and Apprentice (CLET&A/Kananga) in Kananga—an event which reinforced the Gospel text for the day, which features Jesus calling the disciples Peter, Andrew, James, and John to be His followers and fishers of men.

The centre is now operational, providing a Theological Education by Extension program based on educational materials from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). The operating model is mobile in nature, allowing the program to move from one congregation to another.

At the same time, the EFCLCO’s work in translating Lutheran resources such as the Lutheran Confessions, the catechisms, a hymnal, and liturgies is continuing well. In this respect, the church expresses gratitude to the Lutheran Heritage Foundation for its support. The teaching of modern languages such as English as French to prepare students for further theological education is also planned.

“We pray and invite others to pray with us that  God will make it possible to grow this centre into  a formal Bible school,” said Bishop Ilunga, “and ultimately into a permanent theological seminary for the formal training of pastors in both EFCLCO and other churches in Congo. May God use it to empower leaders in various ways to fit and serve the needs of the church.”


ILC welcomes Congolese church as observer member

EECLCO Bishop Ilunga Kendi Evariste.

WORLD – The International Lutheran Council (ILC) has welcomed the Church of the Faithful Confessing Lutherans in Congo (Église de Fidèles Confessants Lutheriens au Congo – EFCLCO) as a new observer member of the ILC. The action came during a November 2022 meeting of the ILC’s Board of Directors.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome the Church of the Faithful Confessing Lutherans in Congo as an observer member,” said ILC Chairman Juhana Pohjola. “May God bless this new relationship between the EFCLCO and the ILC, and give us opportunities to strengthen each other’s witness to the world of the good news of Jesus Christ.”

The EFCLCO is a young Lutheran church body in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was founded in 2015 through the efforts of Bishop Ilunga Kendi Evariste, a graduate of the Matongo Lutheran Theological Seminary operated by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya. The church body brought together small pockets of confessional Lutherans in the country to form a synod and has since founded several congregations. Today the EFCLCO has seven congregations, five pastors, and 661 members. The church is headed by Bishop Kendi.

“We have wanted to be a confessional Lutheran church body since our childhood,” noted Bishop Kendi, but “we have realized that this cannot be possible without proper teaching and care from others who have walked the same path.”

“Nowadays we are conscious that many associations bearing the label “Lutheran” are not essentially Lutheran,” he continued. For that reason, he said, his church is careful to build relationships only with faithful Lutherans who do not “promote teachings contrary to the Word of God” but who can instead “repeat with us that Christ is sufficient for us.”

During its November 2022 meetings, the ILC’s Board of Directors also formally welcomed back into membership the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (Église Évangélique Luthérienne d’Haiti – ELCH), whose membership had lapsed. As with all church bodies accepted into membership between ILC World Conferences, the ELCH will hold observer membership.

The International Lutheran Council is a global association of confessional Lutheran churches which proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the basis of an unconditional commitment to the Holy Scriptures as expounded in the Lutheran Confessions.


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