January 1, 2003

Father, let me dedicate All this year to Thee,
In whatever earthly state Thou wilt have me be.
Not from sorrow, pain, or care   Freedom dare I claim;
This alone shall be my prayer:  Glorify Thy name.
LH #118

Luther’s Small Catechism
This little booklet has served the Evangelical Lutheran church very well down through the years.  As a teaching booklet for our children as well as for converts from other religions and churches, it serves us well.  Unfortunately, throughout the Lutheran churches in the world, it has fallen from consistent use.  This is not so among us.  We are working to have all of our pastors know the six chief parts well and then to teach their members.  All of us are working on this. Here is a report
on the progress among us.

NCLC – In Nigeria we have the catechism in the local language of Efik and purchased recently 150 to have a supply on hand.  We are considering having a contest of the best catechism student among the children from each congregation compete in a contest on memorization and explanation.  We are only in the planning stages now.  We also use the CLC red, English catechism in three of our missions.

CLCI – Jyothi and V.S. Benjamin in India are working with all the pastors in their over 7000 member church to have them pass an examination on the catechism.  All pastors have the Telegu catechism, as well as some in Madya Pradesh state having the CLC English catechism. We are waiting for the printing of 4000 Telegu catechism to be used among the people of the CLCI and BELC.  We are also searching for Hindi catechisms for use in Madya Pradesh.

BELC – The 16 pastors in the Nellore District of India were examined by Moses and passed.  The 12 new applicant pastors are going through the Telegu catechism now.  The 20 pastors in the four districts were examined and now the 49 applicants are being taught the catechism by Paul, Rajamani, Sampath and Bhasker.  In congregations where Tamil is spoken and the pastor passed the exam, Tamil catechisms are being handed out.  We are waiting for the Telegu printing for the other congregations.

LCEA – Among the Lutherans here in Tanzania the catechism is well-known.  Pastor Angowi reports that they will be working on a revision of the Swahili catechism.

ELCC – Denis and Felix in Kinshasa, Congo have enough French catechisms for their congregations and are working with their people. In Katanga province Muzakuza is working with his 25 pastors there in the French and Swahili catechism toward examinations.

ECLC – Samson in Kenya has the CLC English catechism and Swahili catechism for his people. They are progressing toward communicant membership.

Ghana – Gideon passed the catechism examination through the CLC catechism workbook and has this English catechism for his small congregation as well as a large number for the students he teaches in a private school.

Togo – Kossi has passed the catechism examination through the workbook and continues to study with us.

The CLC Mission Board has provided, is providing and will provide catechisms for our brethren overseas.  Luther wrote the Small Catechism because during a tour of the churches in his native country of Germany, he found many people knew nothing at all about Christian doctrine.  Even many pastors were not fit to teach, for they themselves were poorly informed concerning the Bible.  The catechism has been called the little Bible.  Everything in the catechism is taken from the Bible.  The catechism is a tool to lead people into the Bible.  Let us all work hard to teach the six chief parts to our people that they might better know the Bible.

Vacation Bible School – This is a method of child evangelism used increasingly by some among us.  The CLCI has done this for years.  During a school break children are gathered and taught Bible stories with many activities.  I know some of you have written back and forth about VBS.  I have asked Jyothi Benjamin to write all of us a thorough explanation of how they do it in the CLCI.  In the last VBS in the CLCI, Jyothi told us there were 915 children among whom were a good number of Hindu children.  This is a good outreach.  Among the BELC the first ‘VBS’ were held last May in six congregations with attendance of: 75, 60, 40, 30, 35, 25.  In the NCLC two mission helpers from the CLC-USA were able  to set up the first during the Easter break with an attendance of 189.  A second in another congregation in October had over 350 children attend.  This all takes a lot of work and prayer, but it seems to be in these areas a good outreach to children. I look forward to Jyothi’s explanation of how they do it in the CLCI.

May this be a year for us of increasing glorifying of His name in our words and works.

Pastor D. Koenig