Message of the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA) 11th Assembly, held at Airport Gardens Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg, from 19 – 22 September 2022
The member churches of the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA) gathered for the LUCSA 11th Assembly in Johannesburg from 19 – 22 September 2022, under the theme “This is My Body.” As part of the 11th Assembly, LUCSA also celebrated 30 years of its existence. The Assembly was officially opened by its President, Bishop Dr Bvumbwe, who together with the Vice President, Bishop Letlhage and the Executive Director, Rev L Kasper, chaired the proceedings. Thirteen of a total of fifteen member churches were represented by their Heads of Churches and delegates.
The LUCSA 11th Assembly welcomed guests and partners, who all delivered fraternal greetings and messages of congratulations commemorating LUCSA’s 30th Anniversary.
- Prof Dr Masango from the University of Pretoria who delivered the Keynote Address
- Mr Mosina, DDG from the Gauteng Premier’s Office;
- Rev Swartz, SA Synod Secretary of the UCCSA
- Cllr Mrs Tania Campbell, Mayor of the City of Ekurhuleni;
- Rev Dr S. Dawai, LWF Area Secretary for Africa;
- Rev Molo, acting General Secretary of SACC;
- Ms Alastalo, FELM
- Rev B. Kassahun / Rev Dr P Knutson, / Rev. Dr. E. Moyo, ELCA
- Rev Dr Görrig, GNC
- Rev Dr J. Lüdemann, ELM
As part of its 30 year anniversary LUCSA “Walked down memory lane” looking at each decade of its existence, remembering the past Executive Directors, Rev Graz, Rev Khumalo, Bishop Ramashapa, Bishop Dr Moyo, Rev Dr Noko and Bishop Tswaedi. Rev G. Scriba gave an overview of the history of FELCSA, the predecessor body of LUCSA. Mrs Mzezewa, past Programme Co-ordinator of the HIV&AIDS Desk, also shared her overview.
The report of the Executive Director highlighted several challenging issues that LUCSA faced during the period between the 10th and 11th assemblies, including:
- The global COVID-19 Pandemic, which had a huge impact on our way of life and left an indelible mark on the lives of our congregants throughout our member churches, with a number of deaths, loss of income, and jobs, resulting in psycho-social challenges.
- Conflict & Instability within some SADC countries, particularly Mozambique, Eswatini and South Africa, which led to many displaced people and destroyed lives;
- Gender Justice and Gender-Based Violence with women being the main victims;
- Widespread Corruption faced by many of our SADC countries, which amplified Poverty and Economic Injustices in these countries, thus also contributing to a displacement of our people who sought better economic opportunities elsewhere within and/or outside the region;
- Xenophobic incidents which flared up creating discord within the region. The Assembly agreed to issue a specific message from LUCSA on Xenophobia; and
- Youth Unemployment and teenage pregnancy which have increased posing challenges to the future stability of these countries and our region.
These challenges remind us that we are the “Shattered Body of Christ.” We are reminded of the verses in 2 Corinthians 4: 7-10: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies”.
Notwithstanding all these challenges, LUCSA and its member churches still had reason to celebrate, lifting up its strides towards recognising women as capable and deserving leaders in the church, as evidenced by:
- The appointment of the first female Executive Director of LUCSA in September 2020;
- The election and consecration of the first female Lutheran Bishop in Africa (ELCSA) in May 2021; and
- The ordination of the first female Pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi in September 2021.
11th LUCSA Assembly, held at Airport Gardens Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg, from 19 – 22 September 2022
The Assembly applauded the Standing Committee on Finance and Administration (SCOFA) for finalising the financial statements, which culminated in the presentation of the 2021 AFS. The Assembly decided to write-off unpaid membership fees up to 2020. The member churches committed themselves to fulfil their financial obligations from 2021 onwards.
We still have a long journey ahead of us and we ask our member churches to focus on the following action items, as outlined in the Strategic Plan accepted by the Assembly:
- To develop diverse, life-giving, and transformative programmes that address the current needs of the communion.
- To establish alternative income streams for LUCSA to ensure sustainability of the organization.
- Build an effective marketing and communication strategy, making LUCSA more visible to all stakeholders, beneficiaries, and communities.
The Assembly acknowledges the importance of empowering and strengthening the youth in the Communion. It accepts the Youth Forum concept and recommends that it should be implemented as a matter of urgency in order to ensure that the life of the Communion is sustainable. The Assembly further accepts the call of the Youth Pre-Assembly that the LWF “40/40/20” quota system be implemented in member churches.
The Assembly affirmed the LWF Gender Justice Policy (2013) and urged member churches to take the implementation of the LWF Gender Justice Policy as a vital priority, at all levels, within the communion. The Assembly further supports the call of the Women Pre-Assembly to the LUCSA member churches to include people with special needs (e.g. visually and hearing impaired) in the church’s programs and to create a conducive environment for them to access church buildings, church facilities and services.
The newly elected Officers Committee and LWF Council Members are reflected below:
President: Bishop K Sibanda (ELCZ)
Vice President: Ms A Mokhine (NELCSA)
SCOFA Chairperson: Mr L Mtumtum (MCSA)
LUCSA Youth Rep: Mr T Mogotsi (ELCSA)
P.E.T.E.R. Chairperson: Bishop S /Keib (ELCRN)
LUCSA Women’s Rep: Ms E Sakaria (ELCIN)
Mission & Diakonia Chairperson: Bishop M Lethlage (ELCB)
LWF Council – Head of Church: Bishop T Ndawanapo (IELA)
LWF Council Youth Rep: Mr PJ Hanekom (NELCSA)
LWF Council Woman Rep: Ms S Matroos (ELCSA)
The Assembly concluded with a Communion Service and the induction of the Office bearers and a sermon by Bishop Sikhwari (ELCSA).