The Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church [KELC] owes its origins to the work that German and Swedish Lutheran missionaries started prior to the first world war, in the former German colony of Tanganyika. They left the area in the early 1940s. Lutheran fellowship services were established in 1965 in Nairobi and Mombasa at the request of Tanzanian members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania working in Kenya during the former East Africa Community [EAC].
In 1968 the Mombasa and Nairobi Lutheran fellowships were registered under the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania [ELCT] – Kenya Synod. Early 1971, the Lutheran ministry work expanded to the locals especially to Tana River and Ukambani (Manooni). In 1989 the Church was registered as an independent Kenya Synod church entity headed by a Head of the Synod. the dawn of autonomy came in 1992 after a year of preparation when the Church was registered as the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church [KELC].
Immediately from 1992 the Church leadership embarked on initiating and structuring of significant Departments of women and youth leagues, Christian Education department and others that followed later i.e. HIV/AIDS or Health, and now Diakonia Department and the Mission and Evangelism Department. Over many years a diaconal program called Pangani Lutheran Children Centre [PLCC] initiated in 1993 under Women Department as grown to be a great charitable Centre to support vulnerable and destitute baby girls rescued from the streets on the Nairobi metropolitan.
The Church continued with organizing its Administrative, decision making structures, policy making and pursuing its strategic direction for expansion and growth. Through history to date, KELC has developed a number of policies including HIV/AIDS Policy , Human Resource(s) Management Policy (2015), Financial Management and Guidelines Policy (2019), Gender Justice Policy (2020).
Currently KELC is in the process of reviewing its constitution in order align it with the changed realities over the past years. To achieve its mission objectives, KELC has been accompanied by both its congregants and walked in collaboration with its mutual partners in mission of the Joint Mission Committee of Kenya [JMCK].
The KELC HR Capacity & Strategic Positioning
Currently KELC commands 180 congregations on average, 36 work stations of units [20 Parishes & 16 Mission areas] organized and administered under 4 Deaneries. There is an estimated 25,000 membership on average with an active Sunday service attendance of 65% to 70%. Please note that post-covid-19 pandemic Sunday attendance is yet to be established. This following is served by 21 Pastors, 8 deacons [6 & 2 are women respectively]. There are 52 trained Evangelists, 5 Parish workers, 6 volunteers & above all 200 lay-preachers at congregational level.
Currently, KELC is present in 32% [15 out of 47 Counties in Kenya]. It has a dream to expand to position itself in 36% of Counties and to making its current deaneries future dioceses.
Challenges that Confronts KELC
Generally, since 2020 to date, Kenya continue confronted by Covid-19 pandemic global crisis, perennial and the worst drought & hunger since 1.5 century ago declared as a national crisis, floods and the former are due to climate change effects, inflation that raises the cost of living and and strain people’s purchasing power.
KELC Leadership and Governance
The General Assembly is the supreme organ in decision making and meets biennially. KELC has registered trustees who are appointed or elected group of individuals expected to be the overall responsible for the management of the Church. Seeking to ensure the best interest of stakeholders in all types of management decisions. The National Executive Council [NEC] that meet twice/year is the legislative organ of the Church that deal with policy issues and making decisions on the life and work of the Church.
The Luther Foundation Ltd is the KELC incorporated business entity of the that is charged with all its business related investments for profit generation. There is an KELC Executive Board [KEB] that meet once a month to plan execution of regular operational activities of the Church objectives and resolutions. The office bearers of the KEB are the Bishop, Secretary General, Treasurer & All Departmental heads.