History of Congo
Pastor Mutombo Muzakuza was baptized Catholic and joined a confessional Reformed Church in 1978, ordained as a bishop in 1977. He left and sought to form a new church in the Lutheran mold, as suggested by a Methodist bishop. The chairman of the CLC Mission Board corresponded with Pastor Muzakuza in April 1998. The correspondence was turned over to the missionary. A quantity of French and English doctrinal and devotional materials has been sent.
October 13, 1998
As of this date, Pastor Muzakuza’s group called itself the Eglise Lutherienne de Confession du Congo, ELCC, basically us in the Congo.
Doctrinal discussions were held on a variety of subjects between Pastors Koenig and Muzakuza. There appeared to be no doctrinal differences. Previously, questionaires and specific doctrinal statements had been sent with no disagreement evident. The delay in any face-to-face meeting was due to the war raging in the Congo. French catechisms have been sent and are being used. During this visit a new congregation in Kinshasa was started. Pastor Koenig held two doctrinal meetings with this group to explain our teachings.
A planned doctrinal visitation from the USA was cancelled. Membership was 980 souls in 26 congregations reported by Pastor Muzakuza. In 1999 it had been 394 in 10 congregations and in 2001 it was 589 souls in 18 congregations.
In the ELCC there are 27 pastors serving 1063 souls divided into three districts. It was not possible to go easily to the unstable countryside, so the discussions were held again in Kinahasa with Pastor Muzakuza and his two preachers in Kinshasa. The desire of a declaration of fellowship was sent by letter to the CLC. Many problems in getting materials to them and translated and duplicated were worked on. There continued a clear willingness to abide by the Word in all matters commanded or forbidden. The original and a second congregation in Kinshasa were visited by the missionary.
The CLC in convention declared itself in fellowship with the ELCC, based on doctrinal discussions between the missionary and the ELCC President and lengthy correspondence. The ELCC appealed for a fellowship relationship with the CLC to the CLC President.
A visitation was finally carried out in south Katanga centered in Lubumbashi, by the missionary. This being the first visit to the area where the bulk of the ELCC congregations are, there was much to be reported. The church’s head, Pastor Muzakuza, with aid from the CLC, is working to train his pastors through visits, classes and printed material. Catechists are being trained to teach the catechism. A translation committee is working on translating confessional Lutheran statements.
November 14-16, 2002
The first meeting of representatives of the Etago CLC, LCEA and ELCC was held at Uchira, Tanzania, to enjoy fellowship, discuss the starting of the seminary, and to study God’s Word. Pastors Muzakuza and Mbayo attended.
November 22-27, 2003
The first visit by the missionary to Katanga Province was carried out with the visiting of congregations. Meetings were also held with ELCC women, a translation committee and catechists. The meeting with ELCC pastors of south Katanga was to try to orientate them to us and our help for them.
This year marked the first assistance from the CLC to seven churches for roofing. The missionary was on the field in November. We continue supplying Pastor Muzakuza financing and teaching materials to teach his pastors. Their translation committee finished the Swahili catechism for printing.
There are 1990 members served by 24 pastors and 18 assistants.
Seven roofing projects helped – Translation work progresses well – Increased numbers require tests of all pastors – French materials being made available as well as Swahili – Church Registration and Farming Project fail to prove workable.
November 6-16. 2005
Mission Board members B. Naumann and L. Hansen with missionary held meetings with pastors, catechists, translation committee and leaders as well as visiting several congregations.
From Nov. 15th to Dec. 9th Pastor David Povolny was in the DRC beginning his work to replace Pastor Koenig who was only present for one week. Pastor Povolny carried out teaching, preaching and advising as the new man under the limited call from the Mission Board for Congo
A visitation was held of missionary and Martin Essien from the NCLC in Nov. Plans were made for next year on: self-help, training, catechist teaching and translation work.
While the statistics reflect a growth, there has to be taken into account that many are not in confessional fellowship yet. The base is 40 pastors and assistants and 12 catechists serving 1001 souls in 26 congregations. Adding to this the inquirers and it is 91 pastors and assistants serving 3102 souls in 45 congregations.
Pastor Koenig visited the ELCC in Lubumbashi. Discussions were held with: Pastor Muzakuza, translation comm., catechists, pastors. It is hoped that a loan program can be started for pastors this year.
During a visitation by Pastor Koenig serious difficulties were being dealt with that caused the situation in the ELCC to be one of great concern for prayer. A division over administration practices has caused several pastors and their congregations to form a different church. The majority of the ELCC and this smaller group over a two year period could not find a resolution to work together. Because of this all normal activities between us and them are in jeopardy. We pray.
2010 – August
Pastor Nathanael Mayhew (part-time visiting missionary to East Africa), Pastor Todd Ohlmann (CLC Bd of Missions Chairman), and Mr. Martin Essien (of the Nigeria-CLC) spent 12 days the Lubumbashi, Congo area to visit the leaders and pastors of the ELCC and CCLC with prayer for lasting reconciliation so that the work of spreading the truth of God’s saving Word might go on unhindered. Pastors, leaders, evangelists, Sunday School Teachers, and elders of the two church bodies met together for four days of joint Bible training classes. On the final day a study of Church Unity and Church Organization was presented along with a proposed resolution to the ongoing disputes between the two church bodies. Three officers from each church body joyfully signed the resolution and agreed to forgive the sins of the past and work together for the glory of our Savior and for the expansion of God’s Kingdom in D.R. Congo. Translation work will be the first joint project of the CCLC and ELCC and they are planning a joint worship service for December when Mr. Essien will return. Pastor Yumba of the CCLC reports that he has very viable contacts in Zambia who are interested in starting a Lutheran congregation. Pastor Ohlmann and Pastor Mayhew recommend a declaration of fellowship with the CCLC along with the funding of specific outreach/mission projects as funds are available in the MDF.
2012 – January
Pastor Todd Ohlmann and Missionary Matthew Ude arrived for the 2011 visit in the middle of January 2012.
They met to teach the pastors of the ELCC and visit the two Lubumbashi ELCC congregations for two days. During class they discussed the role of the Holy Spirit and a proper understanding of the gifts of the Holy Spirit
With pastor Yumba of the CCLC they went to the dedication of a new school in Whiski. They also visited with pastors in Kitwe Zambia whom pastor Yumba has been working with. They met for a day with representatives from eight congregations near and around Kitwe. They discussed the basic Christian doctrines as outlined by the CLC statement of fiath and Purpose. Pastor Yumba will continue to meet and teach with these pastors.
They spent a day at a joint conference with the pastors from the CCLC and the ELCC in attendance.
The translation committee has six newly translated Swahili documents as well as reprinting numerous previously translated Swahili and French material. They have also begun work on a Swahili translation of Luther’a small catechism.