Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia grew out of the work of the Rhenish Missionary Society from Germany which began working in the area in 1842. The church was constituted in 1957 and named the Evangelical Lutheran Church in South-West Africa (Rheinische Mission). After the independence of Namibia in 1990 the ELCRN took its present name.
The church runs several institutions and programmes spread over the country, as part of its witness in society and service to the people of Namibia. It has a centre where women are trained to take leadership in nursery schools and hostels; over 200 women are employed by the church in these functions. The Martin Luther High School offers opportunities for young people to prepare for higher education. The ELCRN Media Centre runs a book and media depot and is the editorial office of the church. Pastors are trained at the Paulinum Theological Seminary jointly owned with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia. The Evangelical Lutheran Church AIDS programme was established in 1999 in response to the increasing HIV/AIDS pandemic. It seeks to provide a comprehensive approach with focus on caring and counselling for infected persons, care and support for orphans and family members, prevention through awareness-building and education, outreach to all congregations and areas where the ELCRN is present, and networking with other organizations. More than 30 home-based care groups have been established.
In 2003 the ELCRN launched a social development programme to address issues of mass poverty, especially in view of HIV/AIDS. The programme looks at the root causes as well as the broader social implications of the pandemic. It is to provide vision and direction and to facilitate strategies and structures for the church's involvement towards social development in Namibia. The first phase of the programme is research, which is done in close cooperation with the regional offices and congregational committees of the AIDS programme.
The ELCRN Business Trust manages several guesthouses and conference centres in order to generate income for the church. The mission, evangelism and humanitarian services programme looks after the inner life of the church, e.g. catechism, Sunday schools, women, men, youth, Bible studies, church music, etc. It is also in charge of evangelization.
In March 2007 the ELCRN, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) and the German-speaking Evangelical Lutheran Church in Naimibia (GELC) established the United Church Council of the Lutheran Churches in Namibia, with the ultimate aim to become one church.