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Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti

ILC urges continued prayer for Haiti

HAITI – The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (Église Évangélique Luthérienne d’Haiti – ELCH) is requesting prayer as the situation in their country continues to deteriorate.

The nation of Haiti is in crisis as a result of political instability, widespread gang violence, and a collapsed economy. Well-organized gang attacks in February further destabilized the country, with thousands of prisoners set free from prisons and Haiti’s prime minister blocked from returning to the country. The prime minister eventually resigned, and attempts to form a transitional government continue to face armed opposition from organized gangs.

In the midst of this situation, the church in Haiti is calling on Christians around the world to remember Haitians in prayer. “For months, our country has faced gang violence,” ELCH President Bernard Eliona explained. “This situation affects all, including churches and schools. No one is spared.”

“In such a situation,” he continued, “we greatly appreciate your prayers.”

In 2023, the International Lutheran Council (ILC)—of which the ELCH is a member—reported on the devastating situation facing their country. The situation has gotten progressively worse since then.

“We grieve for the people of Haiti as they struggle in this terrible crisis,” said ILC General Secretary Klaus Detlev Schulz. “We grieve for those whose families have been torn apart by violence; for the thousands who have been forced from their homes; and for all who are struggling to access the necessities of life.”

“In the face of such terrible suffering, I encourage Lutherans around the world to remember the people of Haiti in prayer,” Dr. Schulz continued. “Pray that God will bless the efforts of those trying to bring stability back to the streets of Haiti; pray that God would restrain evil doers from violence; and pray that the Gospel would continue to be proclaimed in the midst of this dreadful darkness—that it would bring comfort to a people suffering terrible tragedy.”

The International Lutheran Council is a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies.


A Country in Crisis: Haiti and the Church

Map Image: WikiCommons, CC-BY-SA 2.0.

HAITI – The International Lutheran Council (ILC) is encouraging its members to pray for Haiti, which is facing severe famine, rampant gang violence, and general instability. The United Nations recently warned that, without intervention, more than 100,000 children are at risk of death from starvation.

“The people of Haiti need our prayers,” said Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill, General Secretary of the International Lutheran Council. “May God grant peace and healing to this troubled nation. And may He equip the church in Haiti to share the comfort of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed with their neighbours throughout this crisis.”

The ILC has one member church in Haiti: the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (Église Évangélique Luthérienne d’Haiti – ELCH). In the following report, Rev. Walter Clercius—a pastor of the ELCH—reports on the situation, and explains how the church is holding out hope and practical care amidst so much tragedy.


Brothers and sisters in Christ,

Peace to you from Him who overcame death and the grave and gives that victory to us! I thank God for the privilege He gives me today to write to you.

Today, our country faces many difficulties. Haiti ranks 170th of 189 countries on the 2020 Human Development Index. Out of a population of roughly 11.5 million, more than 1.5 million are highly food insecure, and approximately 4.5 million people did not have enough to eat last year. Today, more than half of the population does not have enough to eat, and more than 25 percent of children are chronically malnourished. Food security continues to deteriorate in rural areas, with the situation for many declining from a crisis situation to a full emergency. Hunger has reached catastrophic levels.

The situation is exacerbated by Haiti’s political crisis, which has continued to worsen following the assassination of our president in 2021. There are now more than 200 gangs operating in Haiti (with half of them in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, according to reports). These gangs have grown dramatically in the past five years. Many of those involved are youths—some as young as 13 years old. The gangs have raped many girls. They kidnap people. They burn and they kill.

Gangs have taken control of the private houses of hundreds of thousands of people in Port-au-Prince. People cannot travel safely in private vehicles from the west to the south or from the west to the north in Haiti. With public transportation, drivers are forced to pay the gangs as if passing through toll booths.

Most of those involved in the gangs are not from Port-au-Prince. They come from other departments in Haiti. Sadly, they are often children recruited from other departments where schools are not operating.

Given this situation, it is not surprising that the economic situation in Haiti is bleak. People from rural areas cannot send their products to sell in Port-au-Prince. Nor are there many jobs. Inflation has risen to 49.3 per cent. Universities and schools have been forced to terminate their contracts with employees. Businesses are likewise closed and have sent their employees home; they cannot pay them. Many children in Port-au-Prince cannot go to school. There are riots. The price of gas has more than doubled; and when the price of gas goes up, the price of everything goes up—all while the salaries of those still employed stagnate. Even teachers become poor; they cannot afford to eat.

Facing such hardship, many people—especially youth and professionals—continue to leave the country. They go to the United States, Canada, France, Brazil, Chili, or the Dominican Republic. Some cross borders illegally. But faced with hunger, riots, misery, insecurity, and disease, many Haitians do not know what else to do.

But there is hope in Haiti. Haiti has a rich history. It was the first free black republic in the world—the mother of freedom. Our present situation is so sad. But there are many Haitians who love Haiti and are working hard to see change the country and make a difference in the lives of other Haitians. There are many Haitians who are educated. Many Haitians who are Christians. There are many children who are being raised with faith in Christ, and learning ethics, morality, and civility.

I believe that the Gospel and education can contribute to change in our country for a better future. We must continue to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to educate our children. With such a foundation, they will become good citizens for Haiti. They will contribute to change in our country. They will contribute to bring peace in the world.

In my region of the Central-Plateau, people also face economic problems but we are not experiencing the same insecurity. Praise God, our children in the Central-Plateau can still go safely to school. With access to education, they will not be so easily drawn into the gang violence and modern slavery which has overtaken Port-au-Prince. They will become professionals, pastors, teachers, engineers, nurses. Our children receive formation in morality, ethics, and civility. We continue to preach the Gospel of Him who overcame death and the grave.

Today, I am working in twelve Lutheran churches/schools and eight preaching stations and affiliated churches in the Central-Plateau. In this region, we count around 7,000 Lutherans: 2,000 adults and 5,000 students. In the future, we are praying that number might grow to 12,000 Lutherans in our churches and schools in the Central-Plateau. This will require at least 20 Lutheran ordained pastors for 12 churches and preaching stations. That’s why we are currently training more than 70 seminarians through online classes. Our professors are Haitian, American, Canadian, and French.

I have already noted that we are educating more than five thousand children in the Central-Plateau. An important aspect of this work is our feeding program through Trinity Hope. Through this program, we provide regular meals for students, many of whom do not receive any food at home because their parents are out of work. We are grateful for the assistance of fellow Christians in the United States who are supporting this program and making a difference in the lives of thousands of families.

After the proclamation of the Gospel, education plays the most important role in the healthy development of our children. Boys involved in school have a significantly reduced chance of being drawn into a gang. Girls involved in school have a reduced chance of becoming pregnant while still young teenagers.

Like you, we in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti value truth, grace, unity, vocation, sanctity of life, trust, and relationships. Thank you for your continued prayers. May God continue to bless you.

In Christ,

Rev. Walta Clercius
First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Laotchikit (Central-Plateau, Haiti)
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti


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.


Haiti Earthquake: A Call for Prayer and Support

Map Image: WikiCommons, CC-BY-SA 2.0.

WORLD – The International Lutheran Council (ILC) is encouraging prayer and support for the people of Haiti following a devastating 7.2 earthquake.

The quake has destroyed or damaged more than 84,000 homes, and hotels, schools, churches, medical facilities, and other infrastructure have also collapsed. So far, more than 1,400 people are confirmed dead with hundreds still missing. Adding to the danger, a tropical storm in the area is bringing expected rainfall of up to 38 centimetres (14 inches) in some areas.

“The people of Haiti need our support,” said Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill, General Secretary of the ILC. “Responding to this disaster is made all the more difficult by the economic challenges, security issues, and political instability at work in this country. May God be merciful to our Haitian sisters and brothers in this difficult time, and may He move Christians around the world to remember them in prayer and acts of mercy.”

Prayer: Almighty God, merciful Father, Your thoughts are not our thoughts. Your ways are not our ways. In Your wisdom, You have permitted this disastrous earthquake to befall the people of Haiti. We implore You, let not the hearts of Your people despair nor their faith in You fail, but sustain and comfort them. Direct the efforts to attend to the injured, console the bereaved, and protect the helpless. Bring hope and healing that the people may find relief and restoration. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

The impact of the disaster on the members and congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (Église Évangélique Luthérienne d’Haiti – ELCH) will take days to become clear.

The tragedy comes eleven years after another major earthquake killed hundreds of thousands of people and led to the widespread destruction of homes and infrastructure. A hurricane in 2016 further devastated Haiti. The country, which is considered the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, already faced widespread poverty even before the latest earthquake. That need has been exacerbated in the latest earthquake zone, with some areas already going days without food or safe drinking water, let alone medical care.

The International Lutheran Council is coordinating with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s (LCMS) Disaster Response team, which has previous experience organizing effective relief work in Haiti alongside the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti. Individuals and member churches of the ILC wishing to assist with relief efforts may give online. In the message section, please indicate your donation is for “Haiti Disaster Relief.”

You may also send a cheque by mail to:

International Lutheran Council
PO Box 10149
Fort Wayne, IN  46850

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod are member churches of the ILC. The International Lutheran Council is a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies which proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the basis of an unconditional commitment to the Holy Scriptures and to the Lutheran Confessions.


COVID-19 and ILC Churches in Ghana and Haiti

ELCG President John Donkoh leads evening devotions online.

WORLD – Lutherans continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic spreading around the globe. In this report, we focus on the response of ILC member churches in Ghana and Haiti.


Ghana has reported 2,719 cases of COVID-19, with 18 deaths. In response to the crisis, the country banned all public gatherings on March 15, including worship services. Several regions have been gone into partial lockdown or quarantine.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana (ELCG) has urged its members to follow all government protocols and remain at home. At the same time, the church is working to identify members at risk because of the lockdowns. “We note that in some communities, the majority of people live from hand to mouth, and cannot stay at home and isolate themselves, because that would bring about their swift starvation,” notes ELCG President John Donkoh. Thanks to support from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the ELCG is rolling out a range of various activities to reach out to the needy and less privileged in their communities.

COVID-19 awareness material shared online from the ELCG’s National Lutheran Youth Executives.

The church is also launching an interactive online program in collaboration with the Lutheran Media Ministry, to keep faith alive for youth, women, compassion children, and their parents. Each Sunday, regional pastors preach in turns live via Facebook, and sermons are translated into local Ghanaian languages where broadcasts are taking place. At the same time, the church encourages its members to also engage in personal study of Scripture, to pray, and to continue studying the Catechism.

The Lutheran Media Ministry Studio in Accra is also assisting with Christ-centered programs to share the good news of Jesus with the whole country. From Maundy Thursday through Easter, the church presented a series of messages on suffering, death, and the resurrection of Christ to the nation via FM radio.

The church is also responding to questions of faith and fear from the general public as well as major media on various theological topics.

“This is a very challenging time, but we don’t lose heart because Jesus has overcome the world,” says ELCG President Donkoh. “The period of lockdown has been uncomfortable for many…. People are grieving that life has not worked out as they had hoped.”

“We seem to be living in a broken world,” he continues. “A world with bad news. COVID-19 is indeed disorganizing our normal life.” And yet, he says, “the Holy Spirit through the blessed Word relieves us from the fear of death, and gives us the power to triumph over this great and final foe. Through the great power of the Gospel—the good news of Jesus’ blessed death for those who are subject to death, and His glorious resurrection from the dead—we are gifted with hope in this world.”


The country of Haiti has reported 100 cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths so far. To arrest the spread of the disease, the Haitian government has restricted gatherings of more than 10 people, including at churches.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (Église Évangélique Luthérienne d’Haiti – ELCH) is reaching out to people during this difficult situation, which is aggravated by recent instability in the region. The church reports that a lack of infrastructure in the nation also creates challenges; a majority of the population, for example, do not have access to electricity.

The ELCH is relying on WhatsApp—a form of communication in widespread use in the country—to distribute messages, sermons, and other information to congregation members. But this is often an imperfect solution, as those without regular access to electricity may not be able to read or hear sermons until several days later.

Visitations are also prohibited in order to prevent the spread of disease, effectively preventing pastors from visiting the sick.

“In this time of distress, we focus on God,” notes ELCH Secretary Thomas Bernard. “As we are battling with this pandemic, God is the only one who can save us with His message of grace and forgiveness. As Christian leaders, we encourage our members to remain faithful in times of suffering because through suffering we may be equipped to comfort others. We know that even in times of suffering, ‘God is still our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in time of trouble.’”

ELCH President Eliona Bernard sends greetings to Lutherans around the world, encouraging pastors and church leaders: “May our Lord continue to equip and strengthen you all so that you continue to faithfully serve His flocks!”


For more news and information from the International Lutheran Council about the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.

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