Lutherans in Indonesia

Before I joined the international team I would never have guessed at the number of Lutherans in Southeast Asia. While in Kuala Lumpur I had the opportunity to see two different churches that are part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Malaysia (ELCM).

Zion Cathedral is located in downtown Kuala Lumpur, shadowed and dwarfed by the modern skyscrapers around it but glowing white. It is undoubtedly a curious anachronism, but I like that. The Gospel is not changed by time or fashion.

Zion Cathedral, Kuala Lumpur ~ alongside a larger neighbor!
A historical summary of Zion Cathedral.

If you read the fine print, you find this church building was commissioned on November 30, 1927. This was after years of work by Tamil Lutherans who had emigrated from India decades earlier. But although in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, there are many similarities between Zion Lutheran and Midwestern American Lutheran Churches of a similar age. For instance, there’s a bell.

But forged in Erfurt, Germany.

And as with many, many Lutheran churches, there of course is a church hall. This one doesn’t look too different from many I’ve stood in at home in the United States.

And they, like many other Lutheran Churches, have a list of their pastors.

And of course the interior is not too different from what you might be used to….

Zion offers several services each weekend and is shared by actually two different Lutheran congregations. Services are in Tamil, but there is also an English service since English is the predominant language in Malaysia (or at least Kuala Lumpur).

I was also able to visit Holy Cross Lutheran Church located about 90 minutes south of Zion Lutheran in an area known as Port Klang. That’s 90-minutes to drive about 20 miles, to give you an idea of the congestion in Kuala Lumpur.

Holy Cross Lutheran Church

Holy Cross is the congregation that helps to support and run the Women’s Care & Counseling Center (WCCC), a program and home that assists young women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant and might otherwise consider abandoning the child to die after birth.

The LCMS has helped support this ministry in the past by providing a deaconess training program as well as through financial assistance. Hopefully we can begin assisting this ministry in transforming the lives of men, women and their unborn children. Covid created a gap in assistance, as not just movement but also communication often became sparse and complicated due to other pressing issues. What a blessing to be able to make contact with the ELCM again and search for ways to work together with them again in the future!

Please keep the ELCM in your prayers, as well as the WCCC. I’m happy to provide more information if you’d like – just contact me via e-mail.

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