The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana (ELCG) maintains mutual and enriching international relationships with Churches, Church organizations, and other Partners. Some of these relationships existed for decades while others are relatively new. Through these relationships the ELCG participates in events of the Global Christian Community and experience the ‘communion of saints’ in this wider Christian community. These relationships enable the ELCG to put into sharper perspectives its own ministries, struggles, weaknesses, strengths and gifts.
ELCG holds membership in following organizations:1. Lutheran World Federation (LWF)
The ELCG is a longstanding member of the Lutheran World Federation, having been admitted to membership in 1947. Over the years the ELCG had opportunities to serve on the Council, committees, youth and women's work of L.W.F., and several of our members participated in LWF sponsored consultations and events. The LWF also provided financial grants towards some of our projects including reprinting the current Hymnal, radio communication, training, and building renovation.2. The Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC)
The ELCG has been a member of the Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC) since its establishment in 1973. The CCC is the recognized Regional Ecumenical Organization of the Caribbean. It is comprised of 33 member Churches in 34 territories across the Dutch, English, French and Spanish speaking territories of the region.3. The Guyana Council of Churches (GCC).
The ELCG has been an early member of the Guyana Council of Churches (GCC) which was founded in 1967. The GCC is the recognized national ecumenical body of Christian Churches.
Other Relations and Associations4. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
The ELCG has had a long history of close association with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). This relationship dates back to 1890 when the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCG) in Guyana became affiliated to the Pennsylvania Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America which provided financial, technical and personnel resources to the ministries of the ELCG over the years. That relationship grew and changed with time, with ELCG becoming an independent Church and shares a continuing strong relationship with the ELCA.5. Eastern Synod-Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ES-ELCIC)
The relationship between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana and Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is a Companion Synod.. This relationship began in 1997 and was formalized in 2000 at the ELCG Annual Convention when Bishop Pryse and Rev. Thakurdyal signed a memorandum ratifying the relationship.
Over the years there have been exchange visits at several levels between the two Churches: Church leaders, youth, women and other officials have visited each other’s Church. The ELCG pastoral ministry was also supported by ELCIC Pastors working in our Church for short periods. Currently the Rev. Vivian Roberts is serving for two years in the Ebenezer Parish.6. Florida-Bahamas Synod
The Florida-Bahamas Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the ELCG have undertaken mutual accompaniment in their companion synod relationship. An early major emphasis of this relationship was people interaction. This took place in the exchange of visits by people of the Florida Bahamas Synod and ELCG to each others’ church.
The Florida Bahamas Synod supported the ELCG’s ministry in the areas of music education, and construction. Both Bishops Edward Benoway and William Bernard Trexler supported this relationship along with other key players including Ms. Kris Clafs.7. Fellowship Lutheran Church
The ELCG enjoys accompaniment with Fellowship Lutheran Church of Tulsa, Oklahoma. This relationship started in 1996 under the pastorate of Pastor Jim Fish and now continues under Pastor Allan Fox. The lead motivator of this continuing relationship from Fellowship Lutheran Church end is Dr. Erv Janssen, and since 2011 Mr. Chuck Worrell has been assigned a lead role in this partnership, and is supported by Dr. Jane Purser and others.
Since 1996 many of our ELCG Pastors and members of the Executive Council have visited Fellowship Lutheran Church to participate in their Mission Week activities. And annually teams of persons from Fellowship Lutheran Church and other Churches in the network came to the ELCG on music, construction, medical and educational missions. Christ Lutheran Church in Georgetown, Texas is associated with Fellowship in missions to Guyana.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana and Fellowship Lutheran Church have been mutually enriched by their collaboration.8. WARTBURG THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
The relationship between Wartburg Theological Seminary and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana has been growing since its inception in the early 1990s. Through Wartburg Theological Seminary, several ELCG Pastors received practical training in Clinical Pastoral Education. Several faculty members of Wartburg Theological Seminary also visited the ELCG over the years and provided theological training to Pastors and Deacons of our Church. Annually students from Wartburg Theological Seminary come to the ELCG in January to have their Cross cultural experience.
Rev. Dr. Winston D. Persaud, Professor of Systematic Theology of Wartburg Theological Seminary, and a former ELCG Pastor (1980 – 1984), continues as the key person facilitating and providing leadership and coordination in this relationship between the ELCG and Wartburg Theological Seminary.9. MINISTRY AMONG GUYANESE (MAG), and GUYANA MISSION NETWORK (GMN)
These are support networks of former ELCG Pastors, other Pastors and friends - Guyanese Lutherans in outreach from New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, Iowa, and other parts of the United States of America - who support the ministry of the ELCG through fund-raising activities on behalf of the Church. They have been providing the ELCG with some equipment, finance and other resources for its ministry.
The Rev. Paul Tidemann, former Missionary Pastor of the ELCG (1974 – 1978) and the Rev. Dr. Winston Persaud lead and co-ordinate the activities of the Guyana Mission Network (GMN) since its formation in 1990.
Mr. Winston Dookram and Mr. Martin Lallsingh are two of the key persons leading the activities of the Committee on Ministry Among Guyanese (MAG) since its establishment in the 1990s, along with the support of other lay persons and Pastors and their Congregations.10. Evangelical Lutheran Church in Suriname (ELKS)
The ELCG has a long historical connection to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Suriname (ELKS). Both churches were begun by Dutch plantation owners in the 18th century. They are both member churches of the Lutheran World Federation, the Caribbean Council of Churches, hold companion synod relations with the ELCA Florida-Bahamas Synod and utilize the United Theological Seminary in Jamaica for Theological training. In recent years the two churches have experienced an increase in their bi-lateral relationship. Exchanges through the Youth Bible Camp, Women’s Camps, 270th Anniversary celebrations, Lay Leadership Academy and Annual Conventions have helped strengthen the ties that have existed for more than 270 years. To get more information on the ELKS go to their website: www.elksuriname.org
The ELCG deeply appreciates and values the continuing support and accompaniment of these committed partners.
(Samuel J. Goolsarran – 1st. November 2013)