In Nairobi, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya (ELCK) has dedicated and opened Luther Plaza, a multi-purpose building that serves as its headquarters as well as generating rental income.
Dedicated Feb. 27, Luther Plaza was financed by a loan through the Arthur C. Haake World Ministry Fund of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund. The ELCK will use about 25 percent of the floor space for its headquarters, a diocese office, and a parish. The church body is renting the balance of the space to several businesses and organizations, including a restaurant.
“It is a testament to the vitality of the ELCK, representing a strong church body,” said Dr. Dean Nadasdy, LCMS fourth vice president and pastor of Woodbury Lutheran Church in Minnesota. He represented the LCMS at the ceremonies and presented a dedication plaque from LCEF to ELCK Archbishop Walter Obare Omwanza.
“These are beautiful facilities and speak volumes that the church is here to stay,” Nadasdy said. Noting that all the extra space in Luther Plaza is rented, Nadasdy said the income helps support the work of the ELCK throughout Kenya.
Although he was unable to attend the dedication, LCEF President Merle Freitag commented, “It is a thrill to assist in the construction of Luther Plaza so that the ELCK may develop new ministries and more people in Kenya may come to know of the saving grace of Jesus Christ.”
During his time in Kenya, Nadasdy visited mission sites and pastors. He told of meeting one pastor who baptized 250 adults and children the week before the building dedication. “He said he felt like he was living in the Book of Acts,” Nadasdy said.
Nadasdy observed that the ELCK uses a pastor and an evangelist to “plant” new congregations and also has thriving ministries among street boys and in the slums of Nairobi.
The ELCK has about 100,000 members, 110 pastors, 185 trained evangelists, and 440 congregations. During 2008 it had the highest annual growth of any Lutheran church body in the region.
The Arthur C. Haake World Ministry Fund of LCEF honors the former LCEF president and provides loans for short-term needs or start-up costs for new ministries of LCMS partner churches.
Posted March 26, 2009