Representatives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (ELCH) and The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod met Jan. 17-20 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to discuss work of and between the two church bodies, which have been in altar and pulpit fellowship since 2001.
This was the first time such a meeting has been possible since fellowship was established, primarily because of political unrest in that island nation.
Afterward, ELCH President Marky Kessa expressed gratitude for the dialogue that explored topics including theological education, inter-Lutheran relationships in Haiti, and help with church planting for the Synod partner church.
“We consider this meeting as a new beginning between the ELCH and LCMS,” said Kessa, who also asked for “continued prayers” for the ELCH from those in the Synod and the International Lutheran Council — an association of 34 confessional Lutheran church bodies (including the ELCH and LCMS) from six continents.
Dr. William Diekelman, LCMS first vice president and one of the Synod representatives for the meeting, said that the presidents of the LCMS and ELCH have committed to meeting together at least once a year in the future to continue discussing such work and the operational agreements between the two churches.
Also representing the Synod at the January meeting were Dr. Samuel H. Nafzger, executive director of the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR); Dr. Gerhard Michael Jr., president of the Florida-Georgia District and member of the CTCR; Dr. Jorge Groh, regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean with LCMS World Mission; and Dr. Douglas L. Rutt, associate professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions and dean of Distance Learning at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne.
In addition to Kessa, representatives of the ELCH at the meeting were Rev. Thomas Bernard, ELCH executive secretary; Rev. Isaac Jacquet, second secretary; Rev. Jean Gardy Cenat, co-treasurer; Rev. Eliona Bernard, co-treasurer, and president of Concordia Theological Seminary of Haiti; Rev. Paul M. Touloute, district president of Les Cayes; and Rev. Walter Jean Duliepre Clercius, an assistant pastor in the ELCH.
Posted Feb. 28, 2008