SOUTH SUDAN – In December 2015, officials from the Anglican Church of South Sudan (ACSS) led by Bishop Elijah Arok visited the headquarters of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) in St. Louis, Missouri to discuss the possibility of becoming a Lutheran church body.
The Anglican Church of South Sudan (formerly the Anglican Church of Sudan) formed in 2004 as a breakaway from the Episcopal Church of Sudan because of moves in that church body and the wider Anglican Communion to approve same-sex marriage and the ordination of homosexual clergy. A significant portion of bishops, clergy, and congregations—perhaps nearly 50 percent—left the Episcopal Church over these and other issues. Today the ACSS counts approximately one million members.
Since that time, the ACSS has discovered Martin Luther’s Small Catechism and expressed interest in becoming a Lutheran church body. To that end, members of the ACSS have sought out closer ties with the LCMS, desiring to gain a deeper understanding of Lutheran theology through the study of the Book of Concord.
“The next step for the LCMS is to visit Juba, South Sudan, and see the church in person,” explained Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver (LCMS Director of Church Relations). “The goal would be to establish theological education in the Lutheran Confessions and Lutheran Doctrine. May the Lord grant guidance and blessing to this endeavor.”
The LCMS is a member church of the International Lutheran Council, a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies.