Francophone Central Africa is a region where the Lutheran Church continues to grow. The countries with which we are working are:
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Burundi (Eglise Evangélique Luthérienne au Burundi: EELBU) is an emerging church formed in a time of turmoil from unrest in the DRC and Rwanda. It has three preaching stations membership of 1,800 led by ten lay evangelists. Currently there is one seminarian in training. The ELCBU is also served by a bishop from EELCO-Kivu Maniema diocese in the DRC through monthly visits and training.
The Eglise Evangélique Luthérienne du Congo (EELC) has 25 preaching stations and an estimated 2500 members. They are served by and estimated 10 pastors, several vicars and a number of evangelists. Three seminarians are training at the Francophone seminary, CLET, in Togo.
Democratic Republic of Congo
There are several Lutheran church bodies in the DRC. Several have asked for assistance in better understanding their confessional Lutheran identity. These churches exist in the context of war and violence. Relationship with the LCMS is new and emerging but as a part of God’s Mission in Africa, Lutherans in the Congo are spreading God’s Word in places that foreign missionaries cannot go.
The Communauté Evangélique Luthérienne au Congo-Est (CELCE) founded in 1977 is one of the emerging Lutheran churches. It has 9700 members served through 8 parishes and preaching stations. There is one pastor ordained by a bishop from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. This pastor has trained nine others through mentoring.
The Eglise Evangélique Confessionnelle au Congo (EELCCO) was officially recognized in 1991. It has an estimated 150 pastors, ten vicars and 25 evangelists. There are a 17-20 seminarians training in various theological institutions. Total membership is an estimated 5,000 spread through approximately 100 parishes and preaching stations.
The Eglise Evangélique Luthérienne du Congo (EELCO) has five semi-autonomous dioceses. LCMS World Mission has initiated relationships in Eastern Congo with the EELCO Kivu-Maniema diocese, with central offices in Bukavu. This diocese has an estimated eight parishes and a membership of roughly 1500 served by ten pastors in a context of continual unrest caused by tribal tensions and warfare.