CLC Work in the Democratic Republic of Congo – Part One

Written by | March, 2015
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CLC Work in the Democratic Republic of Congo- Part One
From the Field March 22, 2015
Pastor Mutombo Muzakuza, who is the head of one of the CLC’s sister churches in Congo, was baptized Catholic and joined a confessional Reformed Church in 1978 and was ordained as a bishop . He left and sought to form a new church in the Lutheran mold, as suggested by a Methodist bishop. We received his inquiry. The chairman of the CLC Mission Board corresponded with Pastor Muzakuza in April 1998. Then the correspondence was turned over to me. We sent a lot of French and English materials to him.

Doctrinal discussions were held on a variety of subjects when we met on May 4, 2001. There appeared to be no doctrinal differences. Previously, questionnaires and specific doctrinal statements had been sent with no disagreement evident. The delay in any face-to-face meeting was due to the civil war raging in the Congo. French catechisms were sent. During this visit a new congregation in Kinshasa was started. I held two doctrinal meetings with this group to explain our teachings.

In June 2002 the CLC declared itself in fellowship with the ELCC – Eglise Lutherienne de Confession du Congo. Because of the civil war in the country and UN peacekeepers were being employed it was not until October 2002 that I could go to Katanga Province and begin to meet with pastors and congregations there. Otherwise before this we met in the country’s capital of Kinshasa.
In 2001 there were 589 members in 18 congregations
Over the many years that we have been in contact with Pastor Muzakuza he has sought to reach out to other provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is not at all an easy task. The country is poorly developed and lacking in its infrastructure even though it is rich in resources. Much of the country is inaccessible except by plane. Most of the population lives in poverty. Traveling is both difficult and expensive. The church developed the office of ‘catechist’ to teach the children the catechism and Bible lessons.
Pastor Muzakuza does his best to travel teaching, training, and ordaining pastors for work in their home areas, as well as establishing and building churches. While traveling he also provides marriage classes and ceremonies, evangelism meetings and baptisms.
A task force focused on translation and publication of Lutheran material has provided numerous Swahili and French lessons for the growth of the churches.
Muzakuza is also working on the beginning of a sixth district, expanding the work of the ELCC. On his last visit the current Congo Missionary Ude was able to visit some of the more remote villages of the Congo with Pastor Muzakuza.
The most recent statistics on this sister church are:
5 Districts, 25 Congregations, 31 Called workers, 1,963 souls.
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity. Ps. 133:1