Friday, October 31, 2008

Message from Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea General Secretary Isaac Teo

What thoughts does the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG have on the Reformations started by Martin Luther in 1517 and today and onwards?

ELCPNG has a lot of work to do to strengthen the faith of its members.

The Lutheran Church is a reformed church and one of the major churches in the world.

Lutherans all over the world are spreading the Word of God like Martin Luther.

ELCPNG is one of the major churches in this country with more than 1.2 million followers, including active pastors and evangelists.

Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea is a faith-driven church.

In my capacity as ELCPNG General Church Secretary, I have seen faith in action in the members of ELCPNG.

We are indebted to Martin Luther, the great reformer who established the church’s foundation based on Christ Alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone and Grace Alone.

People traveled many miles by foot to spread the Gospel.

Laymen/women pledged their time and life for the mission of God.

Our pastors laboured for the Gospel with thankful hearts and sacrificed their lives and families for the Gospel.

In one of my recent trips, I met a pastor in remote Kaintiba, Gulf province, who gave his life to God’s work and sacrificed his children’s education.

It touched my heart to witness such sacrifice and dedication.

Most members of our Church are rural-based.

Their contribution to the Church of God is immeasurable.

The challenge is now upon us, the administration of the Church, to look at the value of these contributions and try to encourage them to use it more in the word of God.

We must empower them, both spiritually and physically, to take ownership of the Church and be responsible for its wellbeing.

In our attempt to realise this vision, the Church has developed what is called ‘Vision 2020’, a policy framework and guideline document for programme formulation for its strategic plans.

The ‘Vision 2020’ will focus on the household.

It aims to achieve balanced human development, addressing both physical and spiritual development needs of every human person.

The Church, under the Vision 2020 framework, will attempt to carry out revisioning, reviewing and revitalising the Church to be missional.

Why we are saying ‘missional’ is because we need to go back to our roots and ‘evangelise’ as per our name.

In our attempt to introduce new measures such as Vision 2020, we must walk together with ordinary men and women of the Church, hence, our 2008 Synod theme, ‘Wokabaut Wantaim Bilong Ol Bilip Manmeri (Sharing the Faith, Building the Church)’.

Our people must now take ownership of this vision and be part of ‘Sharing the Faith, Building the Church’.

We must also walk together with other mainstream churches that are part of the PNG Council of Churches, our Pacific Council of Churches as well as the World Body of Christian Churches.

Lutheran Church in Papua New Guinea is a member of the Lutheran World Federation and World Council of Churches.

It has six partner churches: Bavarian Lutheran Church in Germany, Northhelbian Lutheran Church in Germany, Laipzig Lutheran Church in Germany, Australian Lutheran Church, American Lutheran Church and Lutheran Church in Canada.

These six partners participate in and subside many of the programmes run by the ELCPNG.

My challenge to the Lutheran members on Reformation Day is to revisit the legacy of words bestowed upon us by our late Head Bishop, Reverend Doctor Wesley Kigasung.

The late Dr Kigasung saw the Church as a “rainbow colour”.

The colour resembles talents, skills, experience and vast knowledge, that when put together, creates a “rainbow colour”.

The Church needs to realise its strengths and regather to share the faith and build the Church.

Dr Kigasung often encouraged the Church to reconcile, revitalise, and go forth to take the challenge head on.

It is my prayer that, on this day, we as members of the ELCPNG remember the wisdom of Martin Luther and Dr Kigasung and make a difference in our Christian life.



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