Malaysian bishop drowns in boating accident

Bishop Julius Paul, head of one of the LCA’s partner churches, died when the boat he was travelling on capsized off Guatemala, South America, on 22 November. Two other passengers were killed. Peter Schirmer, executive secretary of Australian Lutheran World Service, was one of the twelve survivors.

Bishop Paul was the leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malaysia (ELCM), one of the South-East Asian churches with which the LCA has been forming partnerships at leadership and grassroots levels over recent years.

Bishop Paul was chair of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Standing Committee for World Service. He and Mr Schirmer, a member of the standing committee, had attended a meeting of the committee in Guatemala City and afterwards made a private excursion to Panajachel on Lake Aiitlan in Soloa, western Guatemala. The boat capsized in heavy seas.

LWF general secretary, Rev Dr Ishmael Noko, said, ‘Bishop Paul served his church, the Asian region and the entire Lutheran communion with humility, courage and a deep sense of commitmen’.

His funeral service was held at Zion Cathedral in Kuala Lumpur on 9 December. The LCA was represented by Pastor Wayne Zweck and Mr Schirmer.

Bishop Paul is survived by his wife Alice and three adult children.

Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to

Read more stories about our partner churches in Malaysia at