First CELC Convocation

On September 1-2, at Lanka Bible College in Peradeniya, The Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church (CELC) held its first Convocation. Pastors and laity from the Lanka Lutheran Church gathered to hear about progress in the establishment of the Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church, a government-registered Church, which the pastors and laity were invited to join.

CELC Chairman Rev. Roger James presided over the Convocation. Highlights included lectures from international guests LCMS missionary Rev. Charles Ferry, and LCMS pastor Rev. Dr. Wilfred Karsten from Moline, Illinois. Participants were introduced for the first time to the CELC Church Order, and invited to submit their applications for membership over the subsequent months.

Pastors of the Lanka Lutheran Church, Reverends Nadaraja, Arul, and Devanesan were presented with gifts of individual communion kits and tailored vestments, in thanksgiving for their cooperation with the LCMS, and in anticipation of their applying for membership of the Ministerium of CELC.

On the final day, Rev. Dr. Edward Naumann presented materials for the official launch of the Ceylon Evangelical Publishing House (CELPH), which will serve as the official publishing house of the CELC, and handed out 5,000 Tamil posters of the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments, along with promotional CELPH pens, buttons, and gift bags, for distribution in the congregations.

Catechism posters
A girl looks at the Tamil Catechism Posters that were distributed at the launch of CELPH.

The most joyous event was saved for last, when Perumal Gnanakumar, who served as a vicar in the Lanka Lutheran Church for twelve years, was ordained for the Holy Ministry as the first CELC pastor. After receiving intensive theological training over the last year, Rev. Gnanakumar was examined and certified for ordination by Dr. Naumann in July; now he will continue to serve his mission station in Eila as a pastor.

Ordination of Gnanakumar
Rev. Gnanakumar after his ordination, with Pastors (left to right) Rev. Arulchelval, Rev. Mahlburg, Rev. Nadaraja, Rev. James, Rev. Gnanakumar, Rev. Ferry, Rev. Dr. Naumann, Rev. Dr. Karsten, Rev. Devanesan