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The Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (LSCA) originated from the Mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Free Churches in Germany (formerly known as the Hanoverian Evangelical Lutheran Free Church Mission). In 1967, the LCSA became an autonomous church and the majority of its members are black African.
The LCSA carries out mission work through its congregations and pastors in South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland. At the present the LCSA is also involved in the translation of the Bible into the Kalanga language. The LCSA operates a seminary in Pretoria, in coordination with the Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod in South Africa (FELSISA). The LCSA became a sister/partner church of the LCMS in 1995 and is a member of the International Lutheran Council. It has 175 congregations in 54 parishes. The LCSA has 24,000 baptized members, 10,000 communicant members and 45 active pastors.
The origins of the LCMS’ second partner church, the Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod in South Africa (FELSISA), lay in the spiritual awakening in the Lueneburg Heath in Germany in the middle of the 19th century and the subsequent mission work done by the Hermannsburg Mission Society in South Africa when many Germans immigrated to support the proclamation of the Gospel among Africans. The FELSISA was founded in 1892. From the beginning, the FELSISA has supported the Bleckmar Mission and now partners with the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa, which evolved from this mission work in 1967. The majority of the FELSISA congregations continue to conduct their services in the German language and have additional services in either English or Afrikaans. A few congregations use English or Afrikaans only. The FELSISA joined the International Lutheran Council in 1995 and has 17 congregations, 2,646 baptized members, 2,067 communicant members and 20 active pastors.
The LCMS began work in South Africa in 1981 and today, the LCMS works with both the LCSA and FELSISA and also with Lutheran Bible Translators and German missionaries from the Bleckmar Mission (from our partner church in Germany) to spread the Gospel in southern Africa. Accomplishments since 2000 include: moving the church headquarters to a new location in Soweto, the largest black settlement in the Republic; relocating the Seminary to Cape Town; completing the Lay Training Course materials; and completing the training of deacons. Currently, several LCMS career missionary families and a small team of GEO missionaries serve in South Africa. Ministry currently carried out by GEO missionaries includes teaching at a township Christian primary school and working in the village of Ntshongweni. The work in the village consists of working with an orphan AIDS project and community outreach through the local Lutheran church.
LCMS World Relief and Human Care first supported the Themba high school through grants in 1989. Support for additional mercy projects since then has included vocational workshops, a student scholarship fund, seminary support, an HIV/AIDS program and loans for retiring clergy. Currently, LCMS World Relief and Human Care provides support towards scholarships for students at the Themba Lutheran boys’ and girls’ high schools, which provide room and board, textbooks and academic supplies and uniforms for the students.
- Index Mundi Country Statistics and Information
- National Geographic Maps Made for Printing and Copying
Lutheran Church in Southern Africa
Arcadia street 790, Arcadia 0028
P.O. Box 13292, Hatfield 0028
Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod in South Africa (FELSISA)
15 Greenwood Road
Prestbury (Pietermaritzburg) 3201
P.O. Box 21559, Mayors Walk, 3208
Lutheran Theological Seminary Tshwane
P.O. Box 12547; Hatfield 0028
A partner church is a church body with whom the LCMS has full altar and pulpit fellowship. Many LCMS partner churches are also members of the International Lutheran council, a worldwide association of confessional Lutheran church bodies. Some LCMS partner churches came into existence through LCMs-supported mission efforts, while others have historic rootrs that pre-date the LCMS or that are sourced in the mission efforts of other Lutheran church bodies.