In 1996, LCMS World Mission began supporting the work in Benin begun by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana. Two congregations were established in the capital city of Cotonou. Benin is one of several countries in Africa where the LCMS is supporting mission efforts in partnership with another church body. LCMS World Relief and Human Care has also supported Lutherans in Benin through the constructions of a church building and day care center and providing emergency flood relief.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Benin (EELB) was officially registered in 1997 and its emphasis is to “proclaim the Gospel of Christ to everyone.”
On Aug. 18, 2002, Rev. Gregoire Legbanon was ordained as the first pastor of this young church by Rev. Dr. Paul Fynn, president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana.
Rev. Legbanon first came into contact with Lutheranism while studying at the University of Ghana. He worshipped and later took instruction at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Accra. President Fynn and the congregation urged him to gather people for a study of the Word once he returned to Benin. Legbanon and Glen Lantow of Fredericksburg, Iowa, worked together to form the first Lutheran congregation in Cotonou, the capital of Benin. Tragically, Lantow drowned shortly later while swimming in the ocean. Soon thereafter, Legbanon began his pastoral studies at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.