The relationship between the LCA/NZ and Papua New Guinea (PNG) Lutherans remains ‘alive and active’, almost 140 years after the first Lutheran missionary travelled from Australia to PNG.
That was the message from Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea (ELC-PNG) Bishop Jack Urame, as he brought greetings from his home church to the LCA’s 19th General Convention of Synod tonight. The ELC-PNG has two million members across 17 church districts.
Bishop Urame, who also conveyed greetings from attendees at the recent ELC-PNG National Women’s Conference, said the LCA had started mission work in PNG ‘many years back’, but that ‘the history and memory is still fresh in our church’.
‘The relationship is still alive and active’, he said. ‘Personal exchange and visits continue to strengthen the relationship and keep the history between your church and our church alive. You have left many traces of mission in our church and we owe you a deep debt of gratitude. We thank God for using many of your brothers and sisters who gave their life, their time and their gifts to our church.’
Bishop Urame said it was a joy and honour to attend the Synod gathering in Sydney, especially after the visit to the ELC-PNG national synod earlier this year by the LCA’s Assistant to the Bishop – International Mission, Mrs Glenice Hartwich.
‘We thank you deeply for this lively exchange’, Bishop Urame said, paying tribute to the retiring Mrs Hartwich’s commitment and support for the relationship between the two churches. ‘We continue to embrace each other in the spirit of mutual partnership and I will continue to support this journey of partnership.
‘As we share our life and faith in Christ Jesus our Lord, we remain in solidarity together as global Christian family, always remembering each other in prayers. We do share our job in being witnesses of our Christian faith but we also share our challenges and difficulties as we journey together in our fellowship and communion as body of Christ. So let us continue to pray for each other.
‘We as church are called to offer the gospel of hope to the world. Our collective vision is for everyone to live happily together as God’s liberated people in a just and peaceful society. Brothers and sisters, I pray that God grant you wisdom and understanding to make good decisions for the church during your synod as you deliberate on important issues in your church and society.’