IMG_0888 (2)Grantmaker Training Malawi Feb 2019Dear friends,
“United through LUCSA to end HIV & AIDS and Malaria” was the theme of the Regional Annual Review and Planning Workshop for HIV & AIDS Resource Persons and Malaria Programme Country Coordinators held in Johannesburg earlier this month. Reports on achievements and challenges were shared by participants from Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA) member churches across Southern Africa including Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Swaziland, Malawi and South Africa.
A highlight of the week was a two-day mini-workshop on the concepts and methods of “Popular Education.” Popular education is defined as people-based education for a just, humane and truly democratic society where everyone is valued as a learner and teacher. The approach is dialogical and democratic rather than top-down as in the “banking” method of education.
Workshop participants also shared and discussed their activity plans for 2019 and ways of collaborating and sharing information across the region. (The ELCA provides funding support for the LUCSA HIV&AIDS and Malaria programs.)
At the end of February I spent a week in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, to introduce the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi (ELCM) to a new online grant application and reporting software program developed for use by the ELCA churchwide office, synods and global companion churches and partners.
The ELCA Global Mission unit through Project and World Hunger Funds supports a number of projects of the ELCM including Mission Outreach, Empowerment of Women and Children, HIV&AIDS, a mobile community clinic and feeding of vulnerable and orphan children.
ELCM Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe expressed appreciation for the close relationship between the ELCM, the ELCA Global Mission unit and the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin which is a companion synod of the ELCM.
Thank you for your prayers and support and your participation in God’s mission locally and globally.
Yours faithfully,

Rev. Dr. Philip Knutson
ELCA Global Mission Regional Representative – Southern Africa, Johannesburg, February 22, 2019

My blog page address is: https://southernafricanconnections.wordpress.com/ Please note the link to my online giving page on http://www.elca.org: community.elca.org/SouthAfric

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img-20190120-wa000020190120_094023Dear friends,
Over 1500 people gathered at the Diocesan Center of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa – Central Diocese for the induction of the newly elected Dean of the Soweto Circuit Rev. J. Mogale. He will serve a six-year term.
The Prayer Women’s League members were prominent in their black and white uniforms as were the men, young adults and youth.
Bishop MW Rakuba of the ELCSA Central Diocese presided at the induction service. Dean Mogale preached the sermon based on the epistle reading from 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. The Dean emphasized the varieties of God-given gifts given to each person by the one Spirit for the common good.
The music, led by a brass band and a drummer together with a mass choir and the joyful singing of hymns and choruses in various local languages by the whole congregation, was a highlight of the celebration.
The service ended with Holy Communion, the gathering in of gifts and a meal. Each parish came forward in turn, dancing and singing, to bring their envelope to the front of the church where the Dean and Mrs. Mogale were seated.
I was honoured to bring a greeting to the congregation on behalf of ELCA Global Mission and the ELCA Metropolitan Chicago Synod.
Thank you for your prayers and support and your participation in God’s mission locally and globally.
Yours faithfully,

Rev. Dr. Philip Knutson
ELCA Global Mission Regional Representative – Southern Africa
Johannesburg
January 21, 2019

My blog page address is: https://southernafricanconnections.wordpress.com/ Please note the link to my online giving page on http://www.elca.org: community.elca.org/SouthAfrica

Christmas Program St. Thomas Congregation Nov 2018Dear friends,
“Jesus Christ, the Light of the World” was the theme for the Christmas program presented by the Sunday School children of St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Doornfontein, Johannesburg. (St. Thomas is a congregation in the Central Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa [ELCSA])
In Southern Africa Christmas comes during summertime and schools and many businesses close down from mid-December to mid-January. Even the church choirs take a break. So, most Christmas programs are held in late November.
The children practised hard for several weeks before their special day. They were in charge of the service, leading the liturgy, doing the readings and the prayers. The whole group stood in front to sing “This little light of mine.” One of the children played “Silent Night” on the violin. The service ended with Holy Communion, with all of the children communing first, before the rest of the congregation.

Finally, it was time for the gifts. The parents had purchased, packaged and labelled a gift for each child. As the name was read out each child walked (some younger ones literally sprinted) to the front and received their gift to the applause of the congregation.
One of the mothers who is also a council member then gave a vote of thanks on behalf of the congregation to the Sunday School teachers, the children and everyone who had prepared for the service. She recalled that just a few years ago there was no active Sunday School program at St. Thomas saying, “You have planted seeds that will bear much fruit in the lives of these children and in the church for years to come.”
The Central Diocese of ELCSA is a companion to the ELCA’s Metropolitan Chicago Synod.
Thank you for your prayers and support and your participation in God’s mission locally and globally.
Yours faithfully,

Rev. Dr. Philip Knutson
ELCA Global Mission Regional Representative – Southern Africa
Johannesburg
November 26, 2018

My blog page address is: https://southernafricanconnections.wordpress.com/
Please note the link to my online giving page on http://www.elca.org: community.elca.org/SouthAfrica

IMG_0744Dear friends,
Youth under the age of 30 make up some 70% of the population in Southern Africa and face many challenges related to education, unemployment, gender justice, health and climate change. So, are youth pessimistic or optimistic, afraid or hopeful about the future?
Seven young adults representing several member churches of the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA) met recently at the Lutheran center in Johannesburg to start planning for an all LUCSA youth conference in 2019. (LUCSA, with fifteen member churches across ten countries in Southern Africa, is a sub-regional expression of the Lutheran World Federation [LWF])
The youth unanimously and energetically agreed to work with the LWF theme for 2019-2024 “With passion for the Church and the World.”
The committee worked on a draft program that will include reports on youth activities from member churches, as well as Bible studies, presentations and discussions. The conference will focus on what it means to be “Young Reformers” working for revival in the church, Lutheran identity, diakonia, gender justice and care for creation. The LUCSA INFOHUT program which teaches computer skills and life skills including information about HIV & AIDS will be a key part of the program.
The LUCSA youth are enthusiastic and committed to establishing a Youth Desk in the Communion Office, to building strong relationships between youth in the member churches and making a lasting difference in their respective churches and in the region.
Thank you for your prayers and support and your participation in God’s mission locally and globally.
Yours faithfully,

Rev. Dr. Philip Knutson
ELCA Global Mission Regional Representative – Southern Africa
Johannesburg
November 07, 2018

My blog page address is: https://southernafricanconnections.wordpress.com/
Please note the link to my online giving page on http://www.elca.org: community.elca.org/SouthAfrica

Dear friends,IMG_0683
The 22nd Synod Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa – Cape Orange Diocese was held in Mossel Bay next to the Indian Ocean in the Western Cape Province of South Africa from October 10-14, 2018.
The assembly was attended by delegates from the six circuits, as well as guests and partners. I was honored to attend the assembly and bring greetings on behalf of ELCA Global Mission and the ELCA Montana Companion Synod.
On the Friday the keynote address was delivered by the bishop of the Ethiopian Episcopal Church. The synod received reports from Bishop Manong, the Executive treasurer, the six circuits, the Leagues and Commissions (Prayer Women’s, Men’s, Young Adult’s, Youth, and the Health and Wellness Programme).
Bishop Manong, in his Episcopal report, reflected on the assembly theme: “Holy Eucharist: Celebrating our Communion with God.” Bishop Manong noted: “The Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament of the “Gift” of God in Christ to the world.”
The report also lifted up the various companion and partnership relationships with the diocese including the relationship with the ELCA Montana Synod.
The synod delegates nominated and elected clergy and lay members to the Diocesan Council who will serve for the next six years as well as delegates to the ELCSA General Assembly.
The closing service on Sunday October 14 with Holy CommuniIMG-20181014-WA0000on included the induction of the five newly elected circuit deans. The worship service was enhanced by the presence of acolytes from the Eastern Cape Circuit, local choirs and the Youth Brigade Brass Band from the Oudtshoorn parish.

Thank you for your prayers and support and your participation in God’s mission locally and globally.
Yours faithfully,

Rev. Dr. Philip Knutson
ELCA Global Mission Regional Representative – Southern Africa
Johannesburg
October 16, 2018

My blog page address is: https://southernafricanconnections.wordpress.com/
Please note the link to my online giving page on http://www.elca.org: community.elca.org/SouthAfrica

IMG_0621IMG_0618

Dear friends,
Recently I accompanied a colleague from the ELCA Global Mission office in Chicago on a visit to some of our Lutheran companion churches in the Republic of South Africa and in Namibia. We met with the leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN) in the capital city Windhoek and with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) in Oniipa in the northern-most part of the country.
In Oniipa we stopped in at the Infohut project and met with the very knowledgeable and enthusiastic coordinator.
The Infohut is an innovative program supported by the ELCA (World Hunger Fund) and coordinated in the region by the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA). http://www.lucsa.org There are Infohuts operating in Zimbabwe and Malawi as well.
The goal of the Infohut project is to create an HIV-free generation. The Infohut uses computers and especially designed software learning programs as tools to engage with and educate young people. Participants learn computer literacy and share information on HIV and AIDS, sexual reproductive health, relationships, conflict resolution and other life skills.
The course lasts for four months and is offered as a morning or evening class. At Oniipa there are also special computer skills classes offered for local parish secretaries and church administrators.
The coordinator observed: “The Infohut helps people a lot. They learn about life’s challenges and how to overcome them.”
Thank you for your prayers and support and your participation in God’s mission locally and globally.
Yours faithfully,
Rev. Dr. Philip Knutson
ELCA Global Mission Regional Representative – Southern Africa
Johannesburg
September 17, 2018

My blog page address is: https://southernafricanconnections.wordpress.com/
Please note the link to my online giving page on http://www.elca.org: community.elca.org/SouthAfrica

IMG_0442Dear friends,
It was a privilege for me to attend the 13th Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi (ELCM) in Lilongwe, to deliver a Bible study and bring greetings on behalf of the ELCA Global Mission.
The theme “May God bless the works of our hands” was taken from Psalm 90:7. The Assembly was officially opened with a worship service and sermon by Bishop Bvumbwe. Some 200 lay delegates and 70 pastors from 9 Deaneries were in attendance. The Administrative Secretary Mrs. M. Madinga delivered a report highlighting the activities of the church and its departments over the past four years.
The report also highlighted the work of the Department for Diakonia and the Lutheran Development Service including 60 feeding centers for vulnerable children, the mobile clinic service, water and sanitation, drilling of wells, income generating activities such as small scale bakeries and improved sustainable agriculture and crop storage techniques, malaria and HIV prevention, relief and disaster preparedness, environmental protection and climate change adaptation encouraging fuel efficient stoves and tree planting programs. The report also spoke of the introduction of the Infohut project by the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA) with the support of the ELCA which trains young people in computer technology and life skills.
On Saturday (August 25) the church gathered to celebrate its 36th anniversary with speeches, choirs and dance performances including displays of the diaconal and congregational work of this growing church.
The Assembly ended on Sunday August 26th with a worship service with Holy Communion in the cathedral.
On behalf of the ELCM Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe expressed appreciation to all the partners including the ELCA Global Mission and NWSWI companion synod for the continuing friendship, prayers, accompaniment and support.
Thank you for your prayers and support and your participation in God’s mission locally and globally.
Yours faithfully,
Rev. Dr. Philip Knutson
ELCA Global Mission Regional Representative – Southern Africa
Johannesburg
August 27, 2018

My blog page address is: https://southernafricanconnections.wordpress.com/
Please note the link to my online giving page on http://www.elca.org: community.elca.org/SouthAfrica