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Præsident Henrik Stubkjær på talerstolen

Dobbelte Fejringer!

Hilsen fra Præsident og Biskop Henrik Stubkjær

Præsident og Biskop Henrik Stubkjær sender sine bedste ønsker til den kommende ærkebiskop i Tanzania, der bliver officielt indsat ved en festgudstjeneste i Arusha denne søndag.

Henrik Stubkjær skulle have deltaget og prædiket ved denne begivenhed, men på grund af kronskiftet har planerne ændret sig. Han skal i stedet deltage ved festgudstjenesten i Aarhus Domkirke, for at fejre det nye kongepar, Kong Frederik X og Dronning Mary.

Biskop Dr Alex Malasusa fra den Evangeliske Lutherske Kirke i Tanzania

Biskop Dr Alex Malasusa fra den Evangeliske Lutherske Kirke i Tanzania. LWF/Albin Hillert

Her er Henrik Stubkjærs hilsen:

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! Let me begin by offering my congratulations on this momentous day in the life of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. I want to thank you for the opportunity to share this greeting on behalf of the Lutheran World Federation, even though I could not be here myself. As you embark on this journey, personally and in the life of your church, know that the prayers of the global Lutheran communion are with you. Lutherans in 99 countries worldwide, your sisters and brothers, pray for you and for the Church.

In 1964 the ELCT became a member of the Lutheran World Federation. Even earlier than that, its predecessors were a part of the global communion. That same year LWF World Service and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Tanzania, marking the start of a long-standing commitment to support the people of Tanzania.

Your country has been vital for Lutheranism worldwide as the venue of important global gatherings. Let me name two of them: In 1955 the first All-Africa Lutheran Conference was held in Marangu, the 60th anniversary of which was celebrated in 2015 in Marangu. And in 1977 the Sixth LWF Assembly gathered in Dar-es Salaam under the theme “In Christ – A New Community.”

For decades, the ELCT has also offered its gifts of leadership, theology, and wisdom to the communion. One of my predecessors came from your church. Bishop Josiah Kibira was elected LWF President in Dar-es-Salaam in 1977. He was instrumental in reminding us how the Lutheran churches worldwide stand on equal footing with each other and that the true measure of a church is the impact it makes.

In addition to enjoying the wisdom of Tanzanian church leaders in the governance of the Lutheran World Federation, we have counted Tanzanians among our staff and as participants in various LWF programs and study processes.

You are also one of these leaders, Presiding Bishop Malasusa, having served as LWF Vice-President for Africa from the Stuttgart Assembly in 2010 to the Windhoek Assembly in 2017. I want to offer my sincere thanks to you and your church for this strong commitment to the communion.

 

* * *

The Augsburg Confession reminds us how the essence of the ministry of the Church is to teach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments. Let me quote the fifth Article:

“To obtain such faith God instituted the office of preaching, giving the gospel and the sacraments. Through these, as through means, he gives the Holy Spirit who produces faith, where and when he wills, in those who hear the gospel. It teaches that we have a gracious God, not through our merit but through Christ’s merit, when we so believe.”

As Presiding Bishop, you are called to safeguard this and to lead the Church to ensure the Gospel is indeed rightly preached and the Sacraments correctly administered. I will pray for you in this ministry.

The Watchword for 2024 carries a powerful message: “Let all you do be done in love” (1 Cor 16:14). As you embark on this journey, to lead the church as it witnesses to the Gospel and makes a difference in the lives of its members, in the communities it serves, and in the whole of Tanzanian society, my encouragement to you is precisely this: “Let all you do, be done in love.”

* * *

As a Danish Bishop, let me share you that for 75 years the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark have been strongly connected through the Danish Mission Society, Danmission. Exchange and cooperation over the years has created warm and close connections between our churches and people. First in what is now the North-West Diocese and since 1963 with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania.

Recently we had the pleasure of the visit of Rev. Mimi Brown in Viborg, where I serve as a bishop. She brought us warm greetings from Tanzania. I had been looking forward in return to bring greetings from my Church to you on this day, and joining the celebration with you, thereby emphasizing the connection between our churches and with the global communion. The connection is strong and it is a blessing for us. This would have been my first official visit as President of the Lutheran World Federation, and would have been very special for me.

Therefore, I am immensely sorry that I cannot be with you in person. The reason is that Her Majesty, Queen Margaret II of Denmark, announced on New Year’s Eve, that after 52 years as Queen and also as the supreme head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark – she would abdicate and hand over the throne to her son and daughter in law. This is the first time in almost nine centuries that a Danish monarch has abdicated. The new King, His Majesty King Frederik X, wishes to mark the succession in Aarhus Cathedral with all the bishops, including the bishops from Greenland and the Faroe Islands, the government, parliament and other high-ranking persons in Denmark. King Frederik X is now the supreme head of our church. This service will take place today.

* * *

Dear Presiding Bishop Malasusa, dear sisters, and brothers in Tanzania, I would so much have wished to be with you in-person today and I do look forward to visiting you in the near future. I have heard great things about the work and witness of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, and I cannot wait to see them for myself and get to know you in person.

May the Holy Spirit give you wisdom, strength, and love, so that in your new position as Presiding Bishop, you can be instrumental in the proclamation of the gospel – for the benefit of the people in Tanzania and the glory of God.