By Gretchen Roberts
ST. LOUIS (July 24, 2013) — With the singing of the Doxology, LCMS convention delegates recognized the Lutheran Church of Togo as an independent, self-governing partner church per Resolution 4-03.
On behalf of the Lutheran Church of Togo, the Rev. Frederick M. Reinhardt, who served as a missionary in Togo from 2000 to 2007, brought greetings to the assembly, as the church’s leaders could not obtain visas in time to be present.
“I bring you the warmest greetings in Christ,” Reinhardt read from a prepared statement. “We greet you in the precious name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you for your consideration in accepting us as an independent church. Our members promote and support, as they can, confessional theological education throughout francophone Africa. Our leaders express their ardent desire and hope that this resolution before you will be adopted.”
The Eglise Luthérienne du Togo (the Lutheran Church of Togo, or ELT) was begun by mission efforts of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) in 1980 with parishes established in the regions of Lokpano and Nano and later in Oti Prefecture. In 1997, a theological training center was established in Dapaong, and five graduates of the school were ordained as the first Togolese pastors of the ELT in 2002.
Two Togolese pastors have studied at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
While the last of the LCMS missionaries left Togo in 2009, missionaries in other regions have continued to provide support and assistance in partnership with the ELT. The church currently has 17 ordained pastors, four vicars, 18 evangelists and 10 students in training for the ministry, as well as more than 30 congregations and preaching stations and 5,221 baptized members.
Read more about the history of the Lutheran Church of Togo and LCMS mission and mercy work there.
The 65th Regular Convention of the LCMS is meeting July 20-25 at the America’s Center Convention Complex under the theme “Baptized for This Moment.” Among convention participants are some 1,200 clergy and lay voting delegates.