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Lutherans in Canada pledge support for Southeast Asia churches

March 5, 2011 No Comment

Lutheran Church–Canada has formally established two new partnerships with Lutheran church bodies in Southeast Asia. 

On March 1, LCC’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations adopted a resolution to approve requests from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cambodia (ELCC), and the Thailand Concordia Lutheran Church (TCLC) to establish working relationships with LCC. 

ELCC President Vanarith Chhim and President Robert Bugbee

LCC President Robert Bugbee, who visited with the leadership of both churches in January, thanked the Cambodian church for their patience while the proposal made its way through the channels of approval over recent months. The ELCC requested the partnership with LCC in 2010. “We have been the first to benefit from knowing you and your church,” he told ELCC President Vanarith Chhim based in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital. “You have set us a strong example of faith, love, and endurance in the Holy Spirit.”

President Bugbee and TCLC President Pornprom “Ted” Na Thalang

The Thailand Concordia Lutheran Church (TCLC) brings together into a single synod seven confessional Lutheran church groups including Sahatay Takuapa Lutheran Church with whom LCC has worked for a number of years. President Pornprom “Ted” Na Thalang and President Bugbee will sign the agreement in Winnipeg in mid-June.

“These agreements do not represent altar and pulpit fellowship,” explained the president. “They outline how Lutheran Church–Canada will support the ongoing development of these confessional Lutheran church bodies, much as we have done in Ukraine.”

The key element in the document is providing theological training for pastors and other church workers such as deaconesses. Over the past four years, Lutheran Institute Southeast Asia (LISA), headed by retired LCC mission executive Dr. Leonard Harms, has been the agency through which LCC and Concordia Lutheran Mission Society have worked with the Southeast Asia Lutheran churches. LCC seminary professors and pastors have taught classes to prepare pastors for both church bodies.