Indonesian guests strengthen inter-church partnerships

‘It is good to be here, celebrating your 175th anniversary’, Bishop Willem Simarmata told delegates early on the first day of Convention.

‘God still takes care of the Lutheran Church of Australia, God loves the LCA, and the LCA will be a blessing to Australia and to all the world’, he said.
Bishop Simarmata is head of the Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP), the largest of the twelve Lutheran churches in Indonesia.

In a country that is dominated by the Islamic faith, HKBP has more than 4 million members – and it’s growing. It is almost as old as the LCA, having reached its 150th milestone two years ago.

‘This year we will ordain 75 pastors; we have 1,000 pastors now’, Bishop Simarmata said.

He urged the LCA not to forget the Christians of Indonesia, as they face the increasing pressure from Islamic extremists. As many as 300 churches have been burned or forced to close in recent years, while the Indonesian government has remained silent.

‘Please keep praying for us’, he urged.

Bishop Simarmata presented a handwoven ulos of greeting to LCA president Rev Dr Mike Semmler in celebration of the LCA partnership with HKBP. It was embroidered with the logos of both churches.

Mr Ridwin Purba, the education secretary of the National Committee of Lutheran World Federation (LWF)/Indonesia, also addressed Synod. He works with all twelve Lutheran churches in Indonesia, building the capacity of their schools across the country.

After addressing delegates about the ways in which this partnership with LCA agencies works, Mr Purba, was due to visit Navigator College, Port Lincoln, on South Australia’s west coast.

Navigator College has built a strong partnership with a school from Gereja Kristen Protestan Simalungan (GKPS). In 2012 the first group of students from Navigator College visited the GKPS secondary school at Pematang Raya, where they learnt and shared much about each other’s culture, education systems and ways of life.

If your school would like to know more about how they can connect to the mission of God through a LCA International Mission service-learning and ministry partnership, you are invited to phone Erin on (08) 8267 7300 or email For more information, go to

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