CELC - Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference
President Gaylin Schmeling
6 Browns Ct
Mankato, MN 56001 Contact Via Email
Lutheran Church of Central Africa - Zambia
In 1945 the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod agreed to send two missionary pastors on an exploratory journey to investigate possibilities in Africa.
In 1953 the first station began in Lusaka the capital city of Zambia at Munali secondary school.
In 1954 the first worship services were held at Lumano village where the Central Africa Medical Mission was established.
Four years later, in 1957, the Lutheran Church of Central Africa (LCCA) had 18 preaching stations, one organized congregation and an average weekly attendance of over 1,000 people.
In 1960 plans for the building of the Bible Institute were began in Lusaka.
When the church began, it was registered as “Rhodesian Lutheran Church” but later on the name changed to “Lutheran Church of Central Africa.” This was in 1962.
In 1964, the church opened its Bible Institute in Lusaka. This was meant for the training of African men for the African Ministry. In this same year the first synod convention of the LCCA met. There were 12 lay delegates, 10 religious workers, 4 missionaries and 4 visitors.
In 1968 a Publications Building was completed and dedicated. This was meant for the printing of training materials and books for use in the congregations.
Looking at the fast growth and need for African Pastors, plans to put up a Seminary were made. In 1969 a Lutheran Seminary was added to the worker training system.
In 1978 the Lutheran Church of Central Africa (LCCA) took an initiative toward self support. The synod voted for a 5% reduction of subsidy to National Pastors each year until the congregations pay 100% of the Pastors’ salaries.
In 1987 Pastor Salimo Hachibamba was called to head the Lutheran Bible Institute and Seminary in Lusaka. Pastor Salimo Hachibamba was one of the first students of our Bible Institute and seminary.
In 1988 the LCCA elected Pastor Peter Chikatala as its first chairman of the synod. This was an important step towards self administration.
The church opened up many new areas. In order to facilitate a more efficient system of administration and a smoother flow of activities, the church agreed in 1992 to divide into two conferences: the LCCA-Malawi Conference and LCCA-Zambia Conference.
In 1994 the LCCA elected Pastor Samuel Kawiliza as its Synod Chairman.
In 1996 the LCCA-Zambia Conference proposed a 5% reduction of all subsidies received from the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) each year, challenging itself not to cut programs and projects by raising those needed funds from LCCA-Zambia congregations. It was during this same period that the LCCA decided to move the Bible Institute to Lilongwe in Malawi while the Seminary continued in Lusaka Zambia.
In 1999 the Zambia Synod proposed that the 5% reduction of subsidy to the LCCA be applied to the Administration Budget of the Synod first and allow the Seminary and Publications programs to be funded fully with subsidy at that time. This was to make sure that vital programs continue as the Synod worked to improve its offering capacity.
In the year 2000 all Zambian Pastors serving in congregations were off salary subsidy. Congregations paid 100% of their called workers’ salaries NB. Despite congregations taking care of their Pastors, it is very difficult for them to meet the supposed allowance for Pastors. It was in this same year that Pastor Bismark Kalyobwe was elected chairman of the LCCA replacing Pastor Samuel Kawiliza.
In 2003 two missionary positions were cut due to budget constraints. In this same year the Urban Ministry Coordinator position was created to reach out to developing upper and middle class of people in Zambia. Pastor Milton Mpofu was called to serve as Dean of Students at the Seminary.
In 2004 Pastor Milton Mpofu was elected to serve as Chairman of the LCCA. He replaced Pastor Bismark Kalyobwe.
By 2005 the Administration Budget for the LCCA Zambia was funded by 50% from local offerings and 50% from WELS subsidy. But the Seminary and the Press were still funded fully by subsidy.
In 2006 Pastor Fainos Tarisayi was elected to serve as Chairman of the LCCA. It was during this period that the WELS Mission made a public and official statement that the Missionaries have put themselves under the direction of the LCCA National Church and stand ready to serve in areas and ministries that the LCCA determines. The LCCA Strategic Plan included the desire to concentrate more on the urban centres in the country and added regulations directing and governing the works of charities that are being done by and on behalf of the LCCA. In the same year (2006) Pastor Samuel Kawiliza was called to serve as the 3rd Zambian Professor at the Seminary.
In 2008 Pastor Davison Mutentami was elected to serve as Chairman of the LCCA. This was the time when missionaries were asked to move into urban areas to attempt to build on the urban centres program.
In 2009 the LCCA suffered a set back on its urban ministry program. This was because most missionaries who were going to help with the urban Ministry were called back. 3 missionaries’ positions were removed from Zambia. This affected the whole program of the urban Ministry. The LCCA currently has only 4 missionaries.
The LCCA has been trying to fill the gap left by the departing missionaries. This gap has forced the LCCA Zambia to form up large parish unions which should be filled by Zambian Pastors. This has affected the church especially the Pastors. They are travelling long distances using motorbikes to serve these places.
In 2010 July 31st, the Seminary Board of Control called Pastor Anthony Phiri to serve as Dean of Students. Currently the Seminary has appointed Pastor Samuel Kawiliza to serve as acting Principal of the Seminary.
In July 2010 the Board of Control established an advanced continuing Education Program called the Greater Africa Theological Studies Institute
To provide pastors in the Lutheran Church of Central Africa, Christ the King Lutheran church, All Saints Lutheran Church, and Lutheran Church of Cameroon synods and opportunity for advanced studies in theology.
To provide structured and directed advanced education for pastors with the desire to further their study of God’s Word that results in;
a. A Bachelor of Divinity (BDiv) degree issued by the Pastoral Studies Institute of the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (Mequon, WI, USA) upon successful completion of the course.
b. A potential pool of qualified national pastors, in the greater African Lutheran churches, for teaching in the various African Bible institutes and seminaries (LCCA, CKLCN, and LCC).
In September, 2010 Pastor Davison Mutentami was elected to serve as Chairman of the Synod.
In April 2011 the Africa Region Conference of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference was held in Lusaka with Delegates form Malawi, Zambia, Cameroon and Nigeria in attendance.
In September, 2012 Pastor Davison Mutentami was elected to serve as the synod Chairman
In July 2014-15 the Synod budget is funded 80% from LCCA offerings and 20 % from subsidy form WELS. The Publications budget is funded 40% from sales and 60% from WELS. (There is a slow progression to increasing prices of the sale of books to eventually have the Press Self funding through sales. The Seminary professor’s salary is conversed 100% by the LCCA Administrative budget. All other funding for the Seminary and Press is covered by WELS.
In July, 2014 the GRATSI 2010 programme has held it’s final session for the 2010 class in Lusaka. The 5 Zambian pastors who graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity (BDiv) are; Pastors Kamwata, Simweeleba, Tarisayi, Phiri and Mutentami.
The new GRATSI intake will start in July, 2014. The men selected for this 4 year course are; Pastor Kevin Milambo, Pastor Victor Sakala, Pastor Jonathan Kangongo, Pastor Mecious Lubaba, Pastor Mascrif Mulonda and Pastor Forward Shamachona.
In August, 2014 intake at the Seminary, the class will have 19 men.
In September 2014 Pastor Bismark Kalyobwe was elected to serve as the Synod Chairman as the 29th biannual Synod Convention.
In November 2014 a Supreme Court Case ruled that the Bethel Church Property given to the LCCA by the Zambia Government actually belonged to another person. The property was surrendered to the previous title holder with the loss of over $300,000 of investment.
In September 2016 Pastor David Baloy was elected to serve as the Synod Chairman at the 30th biannual Synod Convention.
In October 2016 Pastor David Kamwata and Missionary Daniel Sargent visited the Lutheran Church Mission in Christ in Kenya. This was at the invitation of this church to discuss fellowship issues with this group.
In January 2017 the Synodical Council of the LCCA proposed official discussions with the LCMC in Kenya to reach Full Fellowship.
Training of Pastors:
The Lutheran Church of Central Africa has two training centres. The Lutheran Bible Institute in Malawi and the Lutheran Seminary in Zambia. These two theological Schools are run by both Zambia and Malawi under the Joint Worker Training Board. Candidates for the Pastoral ministry are identified from the congregations through the process known as “Theological Education by Extension’ (TEE). After the Theological Education by Extension they are sent to the Lutheran Bible Institute for three years. From there students are sent to the Lutheran Seminary for another three years. Finally graduating students are posted for one year to serve as Vicars. After this practical year these students are then ordained as Pastors.
Unique customs, traditions, dress, and practices of our church:
The Lutheran church of Central Africa is a liturgical church. It has maintained its traditional liturgical practice in its worship. It has developed some church practices like Camp meetings; Bible studies workshops for the youth, youth choirs, and an organised worship service which is uniform through out the Synod. Congregations will follow the same order of service both in English and Local languages. We use the same hymns, follow the church calendar, and participate in all church festivals. Most likely the congregations celebrate the Holy Communion once per month. We also have a uniform baptism and confirmation instruction program. It is our practice to hold a convention every two years where we elect synod office bearers. We also have a constitution which guides us in our operations as a synod. The LCCA has continued to use priestly garments like gowns or robes.
The Lutheran Church of Central Africa is asking for your prayers in the area of Spiritual growth, Stewardship, ability to raise resources for church construction, and courage for Pastors who are serving under extremely difficult conditions.
The church in Africa is growing. The challenge we have is the struggle to put up modern structures, Pension and housing for Pastors when they retire is a huge challenge. The church does not have modern technology like websites, etc.
In order to promote and improve rural congregations’ Spiritual growth the LCCA has embarked on “The Rural Empowerment strategy.” This is where we are trying to help Pastors who serve where there is no electricity. We have and are currently sourcing funds from well-wishers both local and International to buy solar panels for the rural Pastors so that they can have adequate light to study their sermons properly.
The LCCA has organised literacy programs and some home based care units. The LCCA has helped Rural Communities with safe drinking water. This is done in collaboration with the Lutheran Missions in Zambia.