Joseph Soren installed as the first Bishop of the Nepal Evangelical Lutheran Church
(LWI) – The Nepal Evangelical Lutheran Church (Nepal ELC) had much to celebrate on 18 July. The 80th anniversary of the church coincided with the installation of Rev. Joseph Soren as the church’s first bishop. The theme was “Celebrating 80 years of God’s grace.”
Hinduism is the predominant religion in Nepal. Christians account for a minority of below 2 percent of about 30 million people. Also, there are over 100 ethnic groups and castes and 124 languages and dialects.
Close ties with India
Born and raised in the Morang District, Joseph Soren was ordained as the first native Nepalese pastor of his church in March 2001 and has led the Nepal ELC as its president since 2010. Nepal ELC joined the National Churches Fellowship of Nepal (NCFN) during that period. “That was very valuable for networking and coordinating with national and international mission agencies and churches,” Soren recalls. Currently, he is an advisor to NCFN and the Nepal Christian Society and is a council member of the Nepal Bible Society. After internal restructuring, Soren was elected as the first bishop of Nepal ELC.
Soren’s installation by the moderator of the Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church (NELC), India, Rev. Isilash Basumatary reflected the close ties between the two churches throughout the decades since its founding. The geographical closeness of the two churches, one in the southeast of Nepal and the other in the northeast of India, played a vital role in these relations.