Representatives from the LCMS and its partner church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti, were among dozens of people who spoke at the funeral of the man known as “the father of Lutheranism in Haiti,” Dr. Doris Jean Louis.
Dr. Louis was murdered March 12 outside his home in Port-au-Prince during an attempted robbery. His funeral was held March 20 at the church he founded and pastored — First Lutheran Church in Pétion-Ville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince.
LCMS First Vice President Dr. William Diekelman, who shared his personal condolences and read a letter from Synod President Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick at the funeral, said the church was overflowing with mourners. Dr. Louis was “very well loved,” Diekelman said, “not just by the Lutheran community, but there were representatives from the wider Port-au-Prince community” attending, as well.
Also addressing the congregation was Rev. Marky Kessa, president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (ELCH), and other ELCH leaders.
Diekelman was accompanied on his four-day visit to Haiti by former LCMS Florida-Georgia District President Dr. Gerhard Michael. The two also met with Kessa, saw devastation of the Jan. 12 earthquake, and prayed with members of an LCMS World Relief and Human Care Mercy Medical Team that had treated more than 1,300 people during their week of service.
“Our partner church is doing very well,” Diekelman said. And donations to LCMS World Relief and Human Care that are being distributed for earthquake relief in Haiti “are being used very wisely,” he said.
Dr. Louis received his M.Div. through colloquy and later an honorary doctorate degree — both from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne.
Prior to entering the seminary, Dr. Louis and his wife began personal evangelism witnessing in Haiti and started worship services in their own home. This led to the formation of First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pétion-Ville. He subsequently founded three additional churches, three Christian elementary schools, a Christian high school, three literacy schools, one vocational school, a Lutheran foundation, and a medical center.
After hearing about Dr. Louis’ murder, Kieschnick wrote in a March 13 statement, “Along with many in The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and beyond, I am deeply saddened and grieved by this news, especially having met, visited, and prayed with Pastor Louis on March 2 during my recent trip to Haiti.”
In an e-mail to Reporter, Kieschnick wrote, “I extend sincere Christian love, care, and concern to his wife, Elucie, their three sons, and the congregation he has served for many years. As they mourn his sudden and needless death at the hands of would-be robbers, I pray that this family and congregation will be comforted with the hope and assurance of the resurrection through faith in Christ our Lord.”
Posted March 26, 2010