International and local Lutheran mission partners
IN MALAYSIA PENINSULA
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malaysia (ELCM)
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malaysia owes its beginnings to the migration of Tamil labourers from South India to Western Malaysia, drawn by the prospect of work and better economic conditions.
The migration started in about 1880 and continued unabated for more than 60 years. Many of the migrants were Lutherans. The Lutherans in Malaysia were scattered throughout the country and with the help of pastors from the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church in India (TELC), and regular initial support of the Leipzig missionaries in Germany, it was in 1906 that a formal Lutheran mission was established in what was then called Malaya.
An Indian, Rev T Joseph, was the first resident pastor. He was installed in Kuala Lumpur on 11 November 1906. A congregation was established soon after, gathering for worship from 1907 in a shop-house in Scott Road. Growth in membership numbers throughout Malaya soon made it possible for one pastor to serve everyone, so in 1923 the church was divided into a northern circle with its base in Penang and a southern circle with its base in Kuala Lumpur.
On 30 November 1924, sixteen years after the decision to build a church was taken, the Rt Rev J Sandegren, Bishop of Tranquebar in India, dedicated Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church building in Kuala Lumpur.
Planning for an indigenous church, independent of the TELC, commenced at a Lutheran Consultative Conference for South East Asia in Penang in 1952. The Church of Sweden agreed to provide the nurture and guidance that was sought at this time. The traditions of the Swedish Church, including the historic episcopate, were woven into the ecclesiastical order of the newly formed Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malaysia and Singapore (ELCMS). The Rt Rev Bertil Envall of Sweden was instrumental in formulating the consitution, agreed to at the first Diocesan Assembly on 25 January, 1963. Rev Envall then set about organising the church into 13 congregations and 7 parishes.
Rev Envall was elected as the first Bishop on 29 May 1966. He was succeeded by the second Bishop, the Rev Ernest Benjamin Muthusami (the first indigenous bishop), who was consecrated on 31 October 1976, and later the third Bishop, the Rev. Julius Danaraj Paul was consecrated on 10 April 1988.
In 1994, the ELCMS had to separate from Singapore and became the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malaysia (ELCM). The current Bishop, Rt Rev Dr Solomon Rajah was consecrated on 21 February 2009.
The objectives of the ELCM include:
- To preach the Word of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ;
- To nurture in faith by the means of grace;
- To continue the ministry of Christ’s self-sacrificing love towards all who need care and compassion;
- To witness to the unity in Christ by striving for the Kingdom of God together with other churches;
- To encourage Christian stewardship.
Vision and Mission Statements of ELCM
- Go and make disciples.
- To provide followers of Jesus Christ opportunities for worship;
- To equip believers to serve Jesus Christ through Biblical instruction and training;
- To provide opportunities to pray, fellowship and care for all people;
- To preach the Word of God to those who are not believers.