Historic event for ELC PNG

THE Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea last Sunday dedicated its national executives in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands Province.

The event was historic because it was the very first time for ELCPNG to hold its ordaining ceremony for its national executives outside Lae, Morobe Province.

During the ceremony, the Head Bishop of the ELCPNG Reverend Dr Jack Urame was sworn into office, together with the Assistant Bishop Reverend Lucas Kedabing and the church’s National General Secretary Bernard Kaisom.

These national executives were all re-elected for a their third term in office during the recent 34th ELCPNG National Synod in Ialibu, Southern Highlands Province, last year.

The head of the Evangelism Department, Rev Hans Giegere, said that the installation ceremony for Rev Dr Urame, Rev Kedabing, and Mr Kaisom took place at Ogelbeng Seminary, ELC Hagen District, in the Western Highlands Province.

Rev Giegere explained that the decision to host the program in Hagen District was made during their church council meeting on March 1. “This was the first installation out of Lae for the executives, which traditionally was in Lae,” Rev Giegere said.

“ELC Hagen District was chosen based on its central location, making it accessible for church members from both the ELC Highlands and coastal districts to attend and witness the ceremony.

“Rev Edwin Huevos from the Lutheran church in the Philippines, conducted the installations and led the church service, while ELC Institution Co-ordinator Rev Giasa Panpan assisted,” he said.

He also mentioned that four representatives from each of the coastal and highlands districts went to witness the program on behalf of their districts.

Rev Giegere highlighted that, according to the election standing orders, elected executives must be officially installed within two months of their election into office, a guideline they are following diligently.

“From a theological perspective, this practice is rooted in the early church, where appointed church leaders are dedicated to God, pronouncing God’s blessings, wisdom, strength, and peace to lead God’s people,” he said.

“As leaders of God’s people and servants of God, facing challenges is expected, thus, dedicating them to God is a must.”

Bishop of ELC Hagen District Rev Bishop Ten Tengdui thanked the church council for choosing Mt Hagen District for the installation ceremony.

During the installation, the executives renewed their commitment to God, the church members, and the national church, pledged to continue the work they have accomplished over their two terms and to complete their final term of another four years as church executives.

In January, during the 34th Synod in Ialibu, Southern Highlands Province, the executives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea retained their positions for a third term.

Despite competition from four other candidates, Rev Dr Urame defended his position against Rev Elymas Bakung from Kote, Rev Kedabing against Rev Kiage Motoro from Chimbu and Rev Sere Muhuyu from Kote, and Mr Kaisom against Hans Gima from Hagen.

After the installation, Rev Dr Urame expressed gratitude to the voting delegates for re-electing them for a third and final term, highlighting the confidence the church delegates had in their leadership over the past eight years.

He assured the voters that their mandate for the next four years would significantly impact the church’s decisions and results before their term concludes in January 2028.

Rev Dr Urame emphasised their commitment to serving and continuing to respond to the church’s call and needs by providing leadership based on the principles of justice, honesty, respect, and co-operation.

He said that the synod was a battle of faith for the Lutheran believers, underpinned by the church’s need for stability. This quest for stability led to the election outcome, demonstrated as an act of God’s intervention.

ELCPNG has 17 district divisions throughout the country, circuits within the districts and local parishes or congregations.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church runs 81 health centres, 224 primary schools, 18 high schools, six secondary schools, three teachers colleges, three nursing colleges, five girls Bible schools, three Seminaries and a training centre for evangelists.

Rev Dr Urame added that there are many changes taking place in the church going forward.

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