Story Magazine - Third Quarter, 2006

Luther Seminary Doctoral Graduates Lead Lutherans in Africa to Face Challenges

From left to right: Thomas Nyiwe, '96, keynote speaker Bishop Zephania Kameeta of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia, Musa Filibus, '98, Joseph Bvumbwe, '05, Anastasia Boniface-Malle, '99, Musa Biyela, '94, and Gary Simpson.

Three Luther Seminary former PhD students and Systematic Theology Professor Gary Simpson made major presentations at the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Consultation on Poverty and the Mission of the Church in Africa, Sept. 4-8. More than 70 Lutheran leaders from sub-Saharan Africa gathered in Arusha, Tanzania, to worship, study and deliberate how Christian mission in the 21st century can take shape in the contexts of extensive poverty.

The Rev. Dr. Musa P. Filibus, '98, LWF area secretary for Africa, organized the consultation and led the discussions over the five days. Bishop Musa Biyela, '94, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Africa, Swaziland,gave a major presentation, "Mission in the Context of Poverty: Diakonia as Empowerment of All Believers." The Rev. Dr. Thomas Nyiwe, '98, president of the Evangelical  Lutheran Church of Cameroon, and vice-chair of the LWF Program Committee for Theology and Studies presented "The Challenges of Sustainability in the Churches in Africa: Realities and Prospects." Simpson offered theological reflections about what this all means in his address, "Africa is the Lord's and the Fullness Thereof." Drs. Filibus, Biyele and Nyiwe all studied with Simpson during the 1990s. Two other former Luther Seminary graduates also participated in the consultation: the Rev. Dr. Joseph Bvumbwe, '05,bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Malawi, and the Rev. Dr. Anastasia Boniface-Malle, '99, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania and the United Bible Societies.

"It's very important that we at Luther Seminary recognize and appreciate the fruits that God is bringing about around the world through our graduate theological education programs," says Simpson.

Biyele, Boniface-Malle, and Nyiwe stressed the continuing importance for the global church of a strong Luther Seminary graduate program.