The Centre Luthérien d’Etudes Théologiques (CLET), or Lutheran Center for Theological Studies, in Dapaong, Togo, West Africa — a seminary started in 1997 by the Lutheran Church of Togo and LCMS World Mission — celebrated the graduation of four students, 13 students beginning vicarages and eight students finishing their first year of study at a June 18 service in Dapaong.
Two of the four graduates are from Togo, and two are from neighboring Ivory Coast. At this writing, all were awaiting ordination to begin serving as Lutheran pastors.
The 13 new vicars are from six countries in French-speaking Africa: Togo, Ivory Coast, Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo-Brazzaville and Guinea.
The vicarages “can take anywhere from one to four years” and the program is “purposefully … flexible to accommodate the varied situations” of the students, explained the Rev. Glenn Fluegge, former LCMS missionary to Togo who now teaches at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Pretoria, South Africa.
Fluegge, who returned to Togo for the graduation and to teach a two-week course at the seminary, estimates that some 500 people — “many inside and some outside, trying to get a glimpse of the festivities” — attended the service, held in one of the seminary classrooms.
Also honored in what Fluegge called “a very important and significant moment” were about 20 wives of students, who received certificates for completing CLET’s “Women’s School” program, which teaches basic literacy and catechism.
The missionary said he “enjoyed the opportunity to renew friendships with so many people whom I had not seen for such a long time,” and also spent time “talking and praying with students, with the CLET faculty and staff, and with church leaders and members.
“It was a time of mutual encouragement,” he said, “and for that I thank the Lord.
“Throughout the ceremonies, I could not help but think about the importance of what was happening,” Fluegge added. “We are encouraged to pray that the Lord of the Harvest send workers out into the fields ripe for harvest — and they are so ripe in Africa!”
Sending workers “has been the prayer … of missionaries [for decades] in French-speaking Africa,” Fluegge said. “What happened on June 18 was yet again an answer to this all-important prayer! The Lord of the Harvest was — and continues to be — at work through the CLET.”
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Posted Aug. 5, 2011