Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT)

Church family:Lutheran churches
Based in:Tanzania
Present in:

About membership

Statistics of church membership, number of churches, congregations, pastors, etc. are those given by the churches and organizations, unless otherwise indicated. WCC member churches have various ways of defining their membership: state churches in which virtually every citizen is baptized and thus counted as a member, churches which include in their membership persons who are baptized but not actively participating, churches in which only adult baptized or communicant members are counted, etc. No attempt has been made to classify the membership figures in such categories, because agreed upon indicators to so do not exist.

Member of:
 WCC (1967) 
Associate member of:
Periodicals:Uhuru na Amani (in Swahili)
Website: www.elct.or.tz

Lutheran mission work in today's Tanzania began in the 19th century, from Europe and the USA. By 1938 there were seven Lutheran churches in Tanganyika, which united and founded that year the Federation of Lutheran Churches. In 1963 these seven churches, under the umbrella of the federation merged to become the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, with a total membership of approximately 500,000 Christians. Lutherans are the largest Christian denomination in the country after Roman Catholics. The main language used in the church is Kiswahili, though local languages are also used.

The church proclaims the word of God, both within the country and across borders, through mission work. Mission work within Tanzania is done by the dioceses. The ELCT had mission work in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which have now become autonomous churches. Currently, it is a member of joint mission boards with the Evangelical Lutheran churches in Malawi, Mozambique, DRC and Zambia, which help to undertake evangelization in these churches. The church is also involved in communicating the gospel through the radio studio in Moshi and the church magazine. Plans are underway to launch a newspaper - Tega Sikio. The church is also involved in Christian-Muslim dialogue for peaceful coexistence. Other activities include the work of diakonia, supporting widows, the disabled and disadvantaged in society. The church also undertakes several HIV/AIDS programmes, which aim at breaking the silence, education, care for victims, and administering ARVs. Major programmes of the church are in the area of training pastors, evangelists, deacons and parish workers for evangelism.

From the beginning the church has provided services through schools, hospitals and medical training to the society in general. Currently, provision of education ranges from primary school to education for the deaf, higher education from secondary school level to the university. The Tumaini University of the ELCT runs four constituent colleges, namely Makumira (Arusha), Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College (Moshi), Dar-es-Salaam College and Iringa University College. The main objective is to offer tertiary education in an environment imbued with Christian faith, traditions and moral values. Two management programmes, on health care and on education, develop policies with the objective to create sustainable, affordable and quality health care and education services. The church is also involved in various development projects, including sustainable agriculture, dairy, fish farming, water, renewable energy, reafforestation and other projects.

The ELCT owns Lutheran Investment Company Ltd. (LUICO Ltd). The first business enterprise to be managed by LUICO is the New Safari Hotel (1967) Ltd, which is operational since July 2004.

Last updated:01/01/06