AFTER leading more than 1.2 million Lutherans nationwide over the last two years, Evangelical Lutheran church of Papua New Guinea (ELCPNG), acting head bishop Rev Zao Rapa has now high hopes for the church with the 27th Synod now promising new changes.
Rev Rapa, from the Hagen district, will contest as a candidate for his old post as the Assistant Head Bishop, a capacity he held before being appointed to acting head bishop following the death of Dr Wesley Kigasung in April 2008.
After several achievements over the past years, he predicted that the church will progress greatly following the outcome of this synod hosted by the Jabem district, especially with amendments to the 50-year-old dhurch constitution.
Several achievements he highlighted were:
*Increased membership of ELCPNG, predicted lately to be at around 1.5 million people;
*The successful training of 52 pastors in the last two years and also successful training of skilled people especially in the area of health, education, and evangelism;
*Successful agreement with the Indonesian government to recognise Lutheran Christians in West Papua; and
*The agreement with the Government to see the church taking over in some areas of development and services delivery to the people.
“I thank God for achievements, and the blessings upon this church. I have faith in the church’s new vision, policies and constitution,” said Rev Rapa, who also called on young Lutherans to contribute in knowledge and skills to help the church progress further.
Rev Rapa, who is facing challenges from Siassi District’s Reverend Somi Setu and Jiwaka’s Rev Peter Wamp for the election of the Assistant Head Bishop’s post, applauded the church’s Vision 2020 and HIV/AIDS policy, which will be launched later during this synod.
He also supported the shifting of the offices of Evangelism and Ministerial services and Pastoral Affairs functions, as the responsibility of the office of the assistant head bishop.
Rev Rapa also praised Lutheran intellects and parliamentarians from all over the country for their contribution to the 27th synod.