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Church workers gather to gain deeper understanding of Lutheranism

September 21, 2010 No Comment

Church workers of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cambodia gathered to learn more about Law and Gospel and Lutheran liturgy.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – Since forming as a church body in 2009 and installing its first bishop earlier this year, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cambodia (ELCC) continues developing its Lutheran identity.
Church workers of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cambodia gathered to learn Lutheran Liturgy and Law & Gospel.

In July, pastors of the young church began learning more about Lutheran liturgy and Law and Gospel preaching as part of a continuing education program through Lutheran Institute Southeast Asia (LISA). The 33 pastors and associate pastor and church workers studied and learned a translated version of Divine Service Setting Four from Lutheran Service Book. Lutheran Heritage Foundation initiated the translation which became a project of a small group of ELCC pastors. President Vanarith Chhim reports the need to continue teaching Law and Gospel to the pastors as they move away from a “health and wealth” preaching.

“We have to remember that although these men are new to the Lutheran Church, they may have been Christians for some time,” noted Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) mission executive Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel. “How wonderful it is to know the desire of God’s people in Cambodia to learn and to practice the Lutheran liturgy as well as the clear Biblical-Lutheran understanding of Law and Gospel.”

Although a formal relationship with the Cambodian church has not yet materialized, LCC professors and pastors have provided the basic theological preparation of ELCC pastors. Earlier this year, seminary students from both LCC seminaries travelled to Thailand and Cambodia along with Professors Edward Kettner and William Mundt. The Canadian students studied alongside the Thai and Cambodia seminarians and gained an appreciation for Christianity in a different cultural setting.

Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee, president of Lutheran Church–Canada, plans to visit Southeast Asia early in 2011. His itinerary includes visiting Cambodia and conducting further meetings with ELCC leadership. LCC’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations will soon “examine a document outlining a relationship with the Cambodian Lutherans similar to the one we have with the church in Thailand,” said Dr. Neitzel.

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