In August, pastors of the India Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELC) gathered at Concordia Theological Seminary, Nagercoil (CTSN), India, for a Pastor’s Refresher Course (PRC). The gathering was remarkable for two reasons:
- Due to divisions within the IELC, it was the first PRC in 10 years.
- It took place on the newly rebuilt CTSN campus, which was devastated by Cyclone Ockhi in 2017.
When Ockhi hit on Nov. 30, 2017, many of the seminary’s sand-and-clay buildings, some 100 years old, were destroyed. The cyclone uprooted trees, knocked down power lines, and created an unsafe environment. Classes had to be cancelled and students sent home.
After the storm, the faculty came together to begin restoring the campus. When the students returned to campus, they joined in the effort. With support from LCMS World Relief & Human Care Disaster Response, the seminary was rebuilt, using stone and granite instead of sand to ensure that the buildings will survive to train pastors for the next 100 years and beyond.
Within the newly renovated walls, the pastors of the IELC gathered to build on the Word of God. As the PRC opened on Aug. 13 under the theme, “The unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3), the Rev. Dr. D. Christu Das, principal of the seminary, said: “This is not the place for politics, but the place for fellowship and leading from the Holy Spirit.”
The primary speakers sent by the LCMS were the Rev. Dr. Detlev Schulz from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne; the Rev. Dr. Edward Naumann, LCMS theological educator to South Asia; and the Rev. Dr. Ross Johnson, director of LCMS Disaster Response. The lecturers provided a solid foundation, grounded in the Scripture, upon which to build a new peace and unity in the IELC.
The IELC pastors also took tea, ate, worshiped and communed together. And with help from the LCMS guests, they dedicated renovated rooms and buildings for service in the church.
Posted on Nov. 18, 2019