Madagascar: involving the whole church in service

MLC President Dr Rakoto Endor Modeste says the workshop highlighted sustainability and good governance as areas of importance for the Malagasy Lutheran Church. Photo: MLC
MLC President Dr Rakoto Endor Modeste says the workshop highlighted sustainability and good governance as areas of importance for the Malagasy Lutheran Church. Photo: MLC

LWF workshop boosts self-reliance

Evangelistic and development ministries in the Malagasy Lutheran Church should gain broader support among its 3.7 million members following a workshop on sustainability and good governance led by The Lutheran World Federation.

Church leaders said the workshop should make the church more self-reliant.  It drew 38 participants from across the Madagascar church of 9000 congregations and 1100 pastors.

“The issues that this workshop highlighted for the Malagasy Lutheran Church are sustainability and good governance, leading to the self-reliance of the church,” MLC President Dr Rakoto Endor Modeste said.

General Secretary Rev. Samoela Georges said the workshop was important for the sake of the whole church.

The church was started in 1866 by the Norwegian Missionary Society. This initiative was followed by the planting of two more churches by American missionary societies, with the three groups joining to become the Malagasy Lutheran Church in 1950.

The church carries out it work in the former French colony in an environment of severe poverty and inequality, which has in recent years been exacerbated by political instability and violence, as well as food insecurity and child malnutrition. In 2009, cyclones and floods hit the country.

It runs numerous schools, spiritual revival camps, hospitals and other health centres, as well numerous development projects. Since 2013, the LWF has been funding a major project that helps the church better coordinate its efforts and broaden support among members.

Commenting on the impact of the workshop on sustainability and governance, Richard Rasolofomoiandrisoa, who is responsible for self-reliance, noted that it offers the church a new way of understanding its diaconal – or service - ministry.

He said the workshop offered the church a new perspective and enable it carry out new work.

Evelinah Jeanne Raoserasalina, director of a Bible school for women, added that the workshop will bring renewal, progress and change to the church and help leaders utilise local resources to support its ministries.

“The workshop on church and sustainability and good governance allowed all these national leaders to learn lessons on how to be more focused in their work in order to sustain the MLC,” concluded Zo Ramiandra Rakotoarison, who runs the church support group, Empower MLC.

Participants expressed appreciation for the partnership between the LWF and the church and urged further such gatherings at the regional level.  

 

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