From August 23 to 26, 2018 the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi (ELCM) gathered in Lilongwe to hold its 13th Assembly and to celebrate its 36th anniversary.
The assembly was officially opened with a worship service and sermon by Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe based on the theme “May God bless the works of our hands” taken from Psalm 90:7. The bishop explained the meaning of Kilimanjaro as Kilima (journey) and Njaro (impossible) saying that for the church “mission impossible” was possible with God’s power and accompaniment.
Some 200 lay delegates and 70 pastors from 9 Deaneries were in attendance.
The assembly received a consolidated report highlighting the work of the church and its departments over the past four years including 60 feeding centers for vulnerable children, the mobile clinic service, income generating activities such as small-scale bakeries and improved sustainable agriculture and crop storage techniques, malaria and HIV prevention, environmental protection and climate change adaptation encouraging fuel efficient stoves and tree planting programs. The report also mentioned the introduction of the INFOHUT project by the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA) which trains young people in computer technology and life skills.
The historic church assembly adopted a new constitution allowing for expansion from one to three dioceses and ordination that “shall no longer be based on gender.”
At the celebration international and regional partners were warmly welcomed with speeches, choirs and dance including displays of the diaconal and congregational work of this growing church.