Faith in action

By Rev Neville Otto

“Wokabaut wantaim bilong ol bilip manmeri insait long pasin bilong laikim” was the theme of the 27th Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea (held between January 10 and 15, 2010). My understanding of Pidgin is limited but it didn’t take long to work out the aforementioned theme once I knew it […]

“Wokabaut wantaim bilong ol bilip manmeri insait long pasin bilong laikim” was the theme of the 27th Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea (held between January 10 and 15, 2010).

My understanding of Pidgin is limited but it didn’t take long to work out the aforementioned theme once I knew it was based on Ephesians 5:1,2. When I saw the amazing attendance, heard the passionate speaking and singing, and experienced the outpouring of faith of the delegates and many, many visitors, the theme’s meaning became clearer.

My NIV Bible reads: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love just as Christ loved us…”(Eph 5:1, 2a).  This life of love was very evident during Synod.

God’s children in the ELC-PNG showed the joy of their faith. In large number, all seventeen church districts gathered in Lae, where the Synod was held at Martin Luther Seminary (MLS).

The opening service occurred at Lae’s major sports stadium. Among the estimated 7000 was PNG Prime Minister Michael Somare. Beforehand, people had gathered in the city centre before parading to the stadium in a wonderful and colourful witness.

The Synod itself was conducted in a specially built structure on the playing field at MLS. The open building seated about 1000 and, during each session, there were many more people observing from the building’s edges.  As Synod business was conducted, the MLS grounds were full of people bustling at the busy stalls, as well as singing and dancing. What a vibrant gathering of Christians showing the importance of their faith!

New Bishop elected

A major item before the 350 delegates was the election of a new Bishop, following the death in 2008 of much loved Wesley Kigusang. Delegates also voted on Assistant Bishop and General Secretary. Media representatives joined delegates and visitors to await the outcome.  The result would be broadcast live – on national radio.

Finally, MLS Principal Rev Giegere Wenge was elected Head Bishop of the ELC-PNG.  Rev Zau Rapa was returned as Assistant Bishop and Albert Tokave elected General Secretary.

Please pray for these leaders, that they may be imitators of God and live the life of love that was so evident at Synod.

Bishop Wenge will oversee the implementation of a new constitution. He will also focus upon delivering the church’s policy on HIV/Aids, a terrible social problem in PNG. Please pray for the people of PNG – especially ELC-PNG’s one million sisters and brothers – that the gospel of Jesus Christ will shine for all.

Even though my Pidgin is poor, I saw the gospel clearly at work. I was also helped by my faithful translator Pastor Greg Schiller who teaches at MLS.  Please pray for Greg and his ministry.

The ELC-PNG and the LCA have walked together for 124 years.  Let us continue our walk as partners in the gospel.


This story was also published in the April 2010 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.

Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray

Read more stories about our partner church in Papua New Guinea at https://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/papua-new-guinea/

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About the Author : Erin Kerber


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